TIM BOYLE

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

MULTIMEDIA DEVELOPMENT GROUP

MR. BOYLE:  Good morning.

My name is Tim Boyle and I represent the  Multimedia  Development
Group.  I'm the acting Executive Director of that Group.

The Multimedia Development Group is a market_ development orient-
ed  trade  association.   It's  located  in  San  Francisco.  Our
members  are  primarily  interested  in  the  software  side   of
thisLustry.

We represent about 4OO companies that build the software for mul-
timedia  titles.   These  include about 2OO multimedia developers
and publishers, 5O technology companies, about 15O  service  pro-
viders,  including accountants, public relations firms, marketing
research firms, and over 25 law firms. We also represent 2O to 25
educational, nonprofit and governmental organizations.

Our mission is to help the emerging multimedia software companies
become  commercially  viable  by  facilitating  the communication
between the parties who develop, fund, service, sell and, in your
case, regulate these titles.

I would like to thank you for the forum  and  we  appreciate  the
fact that you are soliciting our opinions.

I'd like to address three points today.

The first is the need to stimulate the creative processes in this
industry  and the commercial structures that support them through
an equitable code of intellectual property.

Secondly, the need for this code to meet the digital challenge by
distinguishing  between  wPis  a patentable invention and a copy-
rightable creation.

And finally, some suggestions for your consideration, such as the
possibility  of  incorporating  some  of the precepts of academic
science into the work of the Patent  Office,  in  particular  the
concept of peer review.

I'd like to start by saying that we support patent protection for
inventions  that integrate software with other elements.  I would
also like to let you know that the furor over the  Compton's  New
Media  patent  claim  comes in part from our community.  While we
note with pride that Compton's New Media is a member of  our  or-
ganization  and we wish to see their creations appropriately pro-
tected, the majority of our members believe that the ideas at is-
sue  in  that claim are better protected by copyright rather than
patent.

Compton's Multimedia Encyclopedia is a very clever and  extremely
innovative  use  of the new vocabulary of digital communications.
As such, it represents a unique and creative arrangement of  fun-
damental  elements that constitute tTnew vocabulary of the artist
and the author in the digital age.

Graphical screen elements, windows, buttons and such, search  and
navigation  methodologies,  multiple views of databases, are part
and parcel of this new vocabulary.  It is their use  in  the  ex-
pression and representation of ideas that creates value, and this
value, our membership believes, must be protected.   We  look  to
the  Patent Office to identify, understand and protect the funda-
mental concepts of this new media.  These concepts  properly  be-
long  in  the  public  domain  because they are the alphabet, the
building blocks of our new media.

The multimedia developer community has a vested interest in  pro-
tecting  their  intellectual  property from unfair copying or in-
fringement and to ensure that the  concepts  on  which  they  are
based  can  be  freely  exchanged.   We believe that one can only
properly assess the patentability of a work after reviewing  that
work in the context of all the work which has gone before it.

There was a much simpler task in the induXal age and this is  now
much  more  difficult  in  the  information age that we're moving
into.

How would theatre have developed if  the  concept  of  plot  were
owned  by  someone?   I mean William Shakespeare never could have
afforded a license.  It is the innovator  and  society  who  will
suffer if we fail to protect the novel ideas or fail to recognize
the obvious in this new media.

I'd like to close with a few suggestions that we have for the Of-
fice.   The  first  is opening up the patent application process.
The current process has been characterized  as  "secretive".   We
would like to see that characterization changed.

We would  also  suggest  peer  review.   In  academic  science  a
discovery  is  accorded  recognition  only when it has passed the
test of peer review.  If you'll remember  "cold  fission".   That
was taken care of by the scientists.

We recognize that there is a problem that  open  review  presents
for  inventions  with  great  commercial potential, but there are
other  members  of  our  industry  who   have   put   forward   a
numbe proposals  in  that  regard.  Our organization endorses the
general concept of peer review as an  important  element  in  the
evaluation of software patent applications.

And the third and final suggestion is building a  definitive  li-
brary  of  prior  art.  The Multimedia Development Group has pub-
lished a call for prior art and we would like to offer  your  Of-
fice  access  to any an all materials that we received.  We would
like to establish an ongoing relationship to ensure that your Of-
fice has access to any prior art it requires.

The Multimedia Development Group's purpose is  to  represent  the
interests  of the multimedia community and to grow this industry.
We would like to extend our hand to assist you in gaining  access
to  and  understanding the needs of that community. We would like
to have as strong a relationship with our Patent  Office  as  the
one  enjoyed by the metal fabricating inventors of the industrial
age.  That Patent Office created the basis for the most explosive
economic growth that the world had ever see`nd this Patent Office
has the opportunity to dwarf that  achievement  by  creating  the
basis for a global information economy.

Thank you for your time.

COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  Thank you very much.

By "peer review" do you mean that we would have like a  panel  of
multimedia  __  say  we had a multimedia patent application __ we
would have a panel  of  multimedia  developers  who  were  actual
developers  out there who we would convene somehow or other or we
would send around the patent application to them the  way  in  an
academic setting they might send around a paper?

If you were a biochemist, you know, and you were about to publish
a  paper  in  science,  the editor sends it around to three other
scientists to look at it and to make  comments  and  corrections.
Usually  the  author  of the original paper doesn't even know it,
who the people are.  Is that the kind of thing that you're  talk-
ing about?

MR. BOYLE:  That is one way to go about it and I would want  that
reality factor in there.

The other method is a scholastic reviewdt not in the traditional,
old  school sense.  We have a school, San Francisco State Univer-
sity, that is providing 5O courses and training over 9OO students
a  semester  in multimedia.  They have a group of people, many of
them our members, who understand this.  That school or an  insti-
tute  of  that type, and there are many around the country, would
be very happy to act as the agent to tell you what  had  happened
in the past.

COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  Well, I think part of what  you're  talking
about there is better communication, better education of our Exa-
mining Corps, and more fluid and constant  communication  between
the  Examining  Corps and the people in it with people who under-
stand these industries.

MR. BOYLE:  Right.

COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  Now, for example, we could send some people
from  the Examining Corps out to attend this course that you just
described.

I think one of the things __ and I don't want  to  open  up,  you
know,  an  unmanageable floodgate here __ but I think these hear-
ings are a very formalized kinh procedure, but I like to think of
them  as sort of the beginning of the process since it's so clear
that we need to have better  communication  with  our  customers.
That will solve some of our problems right there, if we just kind
of have better communication with them, and that's  why  I  think
that we're going to have to.

I mentioned Mr. Goldberg was here and  I  think  on  an  informal
basis,  we're not like a court, you know, you can only hear us in
a hearing room, we can have informal contacts with industries and
people and I encourage those of you who are in the room to get to
know some of the Patent Office people who are here  and  sort  of
start to develop where you bring us into your peer group a little
and we'll try to cooperate with that.

Obviously, we have to be doing  our  job,  we  can't  be  running
around  the  country  on junkets all the time, but we __ but it's
important for us to develop better  means  of  communication.  Of
course,  electronic  communication,  Internet style of communica-
tion, too, is an importantlt of that.  Anyway, I appreciate  your
comments  and  I have a little better understanding what you mean
by "peer review".

MR. BOYLE:  And I also would suggest that opening up  the  Patent
Office  electronically as widely as possible is going to give you
access to that community.  And you have many  trade  associations
and  professional development societies that would be happy, that
are looking forward to working with you.

And I think everybody understands that we're on __ that  this  is
the  beginning  of  something new.  My favorite is that the theme
song of multimedia is "Something's happening  here,  what  it  is
ain't exactly clear", and that is the state we're in.

Thank you.

COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  Thank you.

Next I'd like to ask Mr. Ronald Laurie, Attorney at Weil, Gotshal
& Manges, a prominent member of the intellectual property bar, to
step forward.

Back to The San Jose Index

Forward to Ronald Laurie