MR. CURRY;:  My name is Eddie Curry.  I'm from a company
called ImageSoft, Inc. based in New York.  We're a software
publishing company.  We are right now are involved in a patent
infringement suit which has been suggested that a patent that
we're offering is infringing on someone else's patent.  I just
want to make a couple of brief remarks if I may.  I appreciate
your allowing me to speak.
I've been in the software publishing business since 1975.  I
was at a small company in Albuquerque called Mentz.  It built
the first microcomputer.  That's where Microsoft originated. 
I've spent a lot of time watching the industry develop.
This is my first experience with patent issues.  And what I've
experienced, briefly, is that in looking at the particular
patent in question the patent is incredibly broad, making it
very difficult for us to respond in a way that we would like
There is virtually no reflection of any consideration of prior
art in the patent itself, other than some oblique references
to some existing patents, which are pretty far afield from the
material that's covered in the patent itself.  But there is a
considerable body of prior art which we've been able to
The dilemma is the following.  It's pretty obvious from
listening to the comments that have bee made here, it's pretty
obvious in what I've read and what I've learned, that the
reexamination process is a fundamentally flawed process from
the perspective of someone like ourselves.
We have spent to date about $120,000 just arguing over the
venue in which this case is going to be heard and we still
don't have a venue decision.  We filed an action in Federal
Court in New York.
We would like to use the reexamination process because we are
confident that if we, in fact, could have a fair and equitable
hearing of the facts that it would be very difficult for this
patent to stand.
I have spoken in the last 30 days to about six law firms in
New York City, all of whom specialize in intellectual
property, to a man, every firm, or to a firm every firm has
suggested strongly that we do not avail ourselves of the
reexamination process because they have little faith and
belief in it, because they believe it accrues largely to the
benefit of the patent holder, that it will afford an
opportunity for the patent holder to extend or otherwise
modify the coverage of the patent in ways that may not have
been anticipated at the time the patent was filed, but
certainly wouldn't accrue to our benefit or may not.
And more importantly, if we invoke that process, we are then
operating in a substantial handicap if that process produces
a result that is not in our favor in terms of litigation as we
would go forward.
Now I represent at the moment about 15 different authors of
software products.  Our business is to take small companies
such as the one you heard about here.  We specialize in
development tools.  It's a fairly high technology end of the
I think the problem here is that we ought to be able to appeal
to the Patent Office, we ought to be able to appeal to the
reexamination process, we ought to have confidence that we
would have a fair and equitable hearing and if the facts bear
out that we have, in fact, infringed then we'll suffer the
My suggestion is that at a minimum the Patent Office ought to
recognize the fact that it probably has issued some patents
that were overly broad, that probably in retrospect ought to
be reexamined, ought to be critically reexamined.  They ought
to broaden the opportunities for people such as ourselves to
participate in that process so that we don't have to be at
arm's length in terms of making submissions and then waiting
in the wings to find out what the conclusions are going to be;
and that that process ought to work and be fair and equitable.
My guess is that if we poll the people in this room we'd find
out that they would agree this is not a process to be used. 
I would further suspect that if we poll the people sitting up
here they, if they're candid, would have to admit, although
they probably may choose not to, that it's not a fair and
equitable process.
Now I think that at a minimum there ought to be a watershed
that says we're going to take into consideration that there
are people that right now are suffering from this flawed
process and do something to address that where possible.
The other problem we have is, it's not likely that you will do
anything in the near term that will help us.  So we probably
are going to be left to proceed without the reexamination
process even though we believe very strongly that we could
present a very substantial case that an error has been made.
So you can't plot a curve with only one data point, but we are
one data point.  We're spending a lot of money for reasons
that we don't fully understand.  We're convinced we shouldn't
be spending this kind of money and we don't have recourse
through the Patent Office that we can feel comfortable with. 
That's really my comment.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN;:  Well, thank you.  I appreciate those
comments.  I think those were extremely helpful and useful
about perspective.  They certainly lend a sense of urgency to
our work here to try to get a more responsive system in place
as quickly as possible.
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