…that won’t go away is that I have to believe that people (at least at ESRI), were doing this stuff long before the patent was filed (i.e. databasing and retrieving listings from a map!).
What a bunch of crap the lawsuit is. All they are is a bunch of Patent Trolls.
Hmm i’ve figured out a way instead of looking at a piece of paper that has a list of properties on it for sale i’m going to look at a printed map that has pushpins marking the houses for sale.
Maybe I should apply for a patent.
Now if the software that does the crunching had something spectacular that nobody else does i think you could patent the code, but not the idea of looking at a map.
I hope they lose.(the patent trolls that is)
This nice thing about this patent is that it was filed in 1989 and issued on July 16, 1991. Since 1991 is before June 8, 1995, this means that patent will remain in effect until the 17th anniversary of its issue date.
That means 17+1991 = July 16, 2008 = the patent expires this summer.
Also, there’s the issue of prior art to consider as well, but I’m assuming given the date of the patent, there is no prior art to be found. Mapping in the late 1980s, as I recall, was non existant on PCs until CD ROM drives became cheap around 1992. (Although, ESRI probably had something on mini-computers or UNIX workstations back then)
Otherwise, some big player, such as NAR probably would’ve filed a request to the USPTO to invalidate the patent by now.
The more interesting question how the patents filed by Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, or some large broker or RE.net company with it’s own patent portfolio will handle this. Will they turn into trolls? (Unlikely, but stranger things have happened)
On the plus side, patent trolls usually sue companies with money first, so most of us can wait until the dust clears.