Local.com Patent disputed

Earlier this month I pointed out the Local.com recent awards of patents relating to Geographic Search. The geowanking thread roused some other geo-types and people started pointing out the various prior art that coincides with the claims in the patent.

Fortunately, an actual a developer that worked on previous patents like this one stepped up and gave a fairly thorough analysis (and breakdown) of the patent. Marty Himmelstein

, who worked on the geographic search patents for Vicinity in 1998 (later purchased by Microsoft) , lays out the many invalid claims, and unlisted prior art that this patent ignored, many of which I also pointed out.

Marty went even further and disputed the validity of the concept that was being patented and also pointed out the incorrect listings of other patents.

Overall, it's an excellent read on a huge failure of the US Patent Office, but also scary in that patents like this can be awarded and create false value, scare off competition, and in general stifle innovation. Thank you for the analysis Marty.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.