Don't send me the layout that can launch 1000 ships

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/07/06 04:01 -04:00, original URI:

Mahesh asks via the Contacting Michael... link:

I have a great patent on an easy to use Indian Language keyboard. The entity that acquires this patent will dominate the Indian market for decades.

I'll be honest -- I did not read any further than this point.

I will preface my reaction by saying that I am not a lawyer.

This is simply not the sort of thing I do, having neither personal relationships with the decision makers or signing authority myself to acquire much more than a sandwich at Subway (and even the sandwich is only something I could get the expense approved for if I was travelling for work!).

But I do pretty regularly get people sending me email about this or that keyboard which will change the face of input for one language or another (or for many languages).

I will say that most of them would not really (in my opinion) survive challenge given the amount of prior art that is out there. It really is much more something for copyright or trademark consideration than for patent.

Now if you have some keyboard layout that you believe is intuitive to everyone, then you will probably find it already exists out there, between the world of typewriters and computers (making a patent and a copyright unlikely), and since the technology itself is prior art and is provided on Windows by Microsoft anyway, a specific layout does not provide all that much.

You might be able to get a trademark on the name of the layout if you have something catchy. :-)

Now keep in mind that I am not a lawyer. :-)

And even if I were one, I doubt I would have a specialty in patents, trademarks, or copyrights.

Anyone thinking along these lines will almost certainly want to consult such an expert.

But be careful who you ask, and be sure you are convinced by the answers that the patent attorney gives about the likelihood of surviving a challenge, preferably before you give them too much money. If you know what I mean.


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# Pavanaja U B on 6 Jul 2006 6:14 AM:

I agree with you. I also get emails once in a while claiming that they have invented some revolutionary new keyboard layout and all that blah blah. Keyboard is just one small compnonet in the whole picture of globalization/localization. One can use any layout convenient to him. But there are many people out there who are stuck with the keyboard (pun unintended).


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