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Mark Atwood
Someone's patented the Yellow Pages, of all things...
In the mid-90s, at the very starting edge of the dotcom boom, I was the lead tech guy behind a project, we put a nationwide yellow pages database on the web, ypol.com.

At the time, nobody else had done it, but we were sure that many other people had had the same idea. And since it's rare for someone to care about finding a plumber or locksmith in another state in the middle of the night, of course I had location based searches from the start.

It was, in fact, my first real encounter with using Oracle, Sybase, and using Perl to interface to a DB. (This was before Perl5, so there was no DBI module, so it was all oraperl.)

It looks like someone has actually patented the idea of location based searches on a online yellow pages database, has put together an investor-based lawsuit machine, and has fired the first salvo by suing Verizon.

I'm pretty damn sure my old YPOL project is prior art. I'm even willing to testify on that point...

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Current Location: Home, Capitol Hill, Seattle WA

5 comments or Leave a comment
sinanju From: sinanju Date: June 13th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Patent trolls are really beginning to piss me off. I'd say that it's time to push Congress to slap them down hard, but I'm hard pressed to believe that anyone in Congress could be moved to even pretend to care.
ursuscelticus From: ursuscelticus Date: June 13th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)


Hullo! We met at the ranch party last weekend (I was the kilted one). Just wanted to let you know that I had added you to my flist. *waves a bear paw*
faerieburst From: faerieburst Date: June 13th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I'm pretty damn sure my old YPOL project is prior art. I'm even willing to testify on that point..."

If I were you, I'd contact Verizon and offer to be an expert witness should they need one for depositions and/or trial. Expert witness fees are tasty.

From: neocuriosity Date: June 14th, 2007 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
From: rberger Date: June 15th, 2007 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Definitely challenge it!

Maybe the EFF Patent Busting Project would be interested:
or the new:
5 comments or Leave a comment