Re: For Whom the Gate Tolls?

From: Jim Till <till_at_UHNRES.UTORONTO.CA>
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001 13:25:55 -0500

In his article 'For Whom the Gate Tolls?' (at: Stevan
Harnad wrote: '... it is the much larger and more representative
non-give-away literature that has always been the model for copyright law
and copyright concerns. But copyright protection from theft-of-authorship
(plagiarism), which is essential for both give-away and non-give-away
authors, has nothing at all to do with copyright protection from
theft-of-text (piracy), which non-give-away authors want but give-away
authors do not want'.

Re detecting 'theft-of-authorship': there's a novel (to me) kind of search
engine (demo at: It's designed to search for
content, not keywords. One of the examples provided at the website is one
entitled: 'Discover plagiarism in a student report'. I know nothing about
the owner of the website (Digital Integrity, Inc.). I found out about
this site from a message posted at another discussion forum (on a topic
unrelated to the main focus of this forum), and found it interesting.

On another topic (patents): I didn't see any mention of patents in
Stevan's article. One concern that has been expressed to me recently
about open self-archiving of preprints (e.g. in biomedical fields relevant
to biotechnology), is that it should only to be done *after* patent
protection has been sought.

My understanding is that the United States is the only country in the
world that offers patent protection under its patent law to those who are
the 'first to invent', and that all other countries are on a 'first to
file' basis. I assume that, on a 'first to invent' basis, open
self-archiving of preprints could be an advantage in establishing
priority. As Stevan wrote (at:
'Establishing priority is again a matter of probability, but it can
readily be made much more definitive and reliable on-line than on-paper if
we wish'.

When the basis for patent protection is 'first to file', it does seem to
me that, if one is reporting results that could yield an 'invention', then
one should file for patent protection *before* self-archiving a preprint.
However, it seems to me that (if one has help, e.g. via the appropriate
office at one's University or Research Institute), it need not take a long
time to file for patent protection (only a few days?).

Comments about the 'first to file' scenario would be welcomed.

Jim Till
University of Toronto
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:02 GMT