Encyclopaedia Britannica revives notorious multimedia patent, attacks GPS manufacturers

8 11 2008

In 1993, a San Diego company called Compton’s New Media got a big prize from the federal government in the form of U.S. Patent No. 5,241,671, only to have it quickly snatched back. The patent covered using multimedia on a CD-ROM, and it raised a storm of controversy.

Every big newspaper in California ran stories about Compton’s multimedia search patent, which quickly became a poster child for a patent system run amok. The PTO Commissioner took the unheard-of step of initiating a re-examination on his own. (This was before re-exams were cool.)


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