Business Value of the Patent

 
 

As a Bargaining Chip

The patent took almost six years from filing to issuance. During that period the examiner rejected it four times as prior art (typically, some form of object-oriented programming) and four times I resurrected it by proving that the model I was putting forth could not be mapped into the technologies the examiner was citing. The fourth time the examiner accepted all 151 claims as describing something wholly new.

The most obvious technologies that can be considered as interfering candidates are programming tools that employ a boxes-and-lines network representation of an application or part of an application, particularly where the lines represent flow paths. Examples of these are:

IBM: VisualAge
Yahoo: Pipes
Apple: Quartz Composer

A discussion of this class of programming tools with a long list of examples is to be found at Wikipedia:
Visual Programming Language and Dataflow Programming

As a Business Technology

In the near term the technology can be the basis for a class of visual application development tools for smart phones and web sites, for example, that could be used by both programmers and non-programmers. I have written a paper describing an on-line drag-and-drop application development service that you can read here. The paper includes a mathematical argument that the increased productivity afforded by the simpler application model can enlarge the population of effective users by an order of magnitude.



In the longer term the technology can be the basis for a paradigm shift in the way GUI applications are conceptualized and built. I have written a vision of this paradigm shift that you can read here. It is called “Build Software Like Houses” and it introduces the concept of the “hand-eye” tool, ideally matched to the way we as artisans are wired up. It makes the case for the long-term importance of the invention.

http://melconway.com/patent/resources/email_me.html
http://melconway.com/patent/resources/productivity_case.pdf
http://melconway.com/patent/resources/software_houses.pdf