U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875 is another one of those US patents killing off competition for no good reason. What is more amazing is that a really bad Web site is claiming ownership of the patent and you are not allowed to compete against one of the Web's eyesores. The US patent office needs a complete replacement by competent professional people.
The US Web site claiming the patent has an incredibly bad home page. If one of my students produced a page like that in the early 1990s, I would fail them on the spot. The site will not be named because a link to the site might improve the site's ranking in a search engine and incite someone to copy some aspect of the site.
The patent describes a bunch of things that were in use back in the year 2000 when the patent was filed. Most of the things described in the patent were in use long before the Web was invented and on that basis, the patent should never be issued.
The patent mentions links. Links were the first thing to make the Web different to the general Internet. Links were in both online and offline applications before the Web was invented. I added links to an application in the 1980s and that was based on things mentioned to me by developers when I was a trainee in the 1970s. Links by themselves cannot be used as the basis of a patent and the use of links described in U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875 is exactly what they are designed for. Those parts of the patent are equivalent to claiming you invented a a new use for paint and the new use is painting.
Where is the invention?
A patent can only be issued for an invention, not an application of an invention. There are references to identifying items by identifiers that were used in applications in the 1980s. Using the same items in links on the Web is not a new use, not an invention, and patents should only be issued for inventions.
The patent shows a process for using various ideas together and that type of process was in common use back in the 1970s because I had already discussed almost exactly the same process when writing an application for a PC. The PC was one I built and used before IBM announced their PC which means I wrote the application before 1980. I was talking with people who had used that process, system of classification, and almost every other detail on mid range computers before 1978. How can a patent be issued for something just because it is done on a Web server instead of another networked server?
U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875 mentions images and pictures. Wang was doing that in the 1980s. I worked on a document management system for Wang in the late 1980s that used the same process as mentioned in U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875 and included images along side various other documents but I did not try to claim an invention because it was old ideas from the 1970s. All U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875 does is limit the range of data to pictures of events and the use to the Web. Does that mean I can patent the same thing for email then patent the same thing for text files then for any form of word processing files?
Reading the patent suggests it covers only pictures posted as images and does not cover Word processing. You could post every image as an element in a word processing document that contains only the image. You are then managing documents, not images. The same applies to PDFs, SVG, plus the million incompatible variations, versions, and releases of Flash files.
Is your server in the USA?
The patent appears to apply only in the USA which means you can put your Web site on any other server in the world and ignore the patent.
The patent refers to events but all the examples are sporting events, which excludes weddings, birthdays, and almost every other type of event. You could then claim that all charity sporting events are charity events and therefore not included. A
City to Surf style fun run has a few dozen people competing for a sporting prize then the rest is a fun run. Clearly the patent should be limited to photographs of the few people competing at the front and not the eighty thousand fun runners filling out the rest of the field.
RDIF is a 1940s idea
The patent mentions chip based identification that sounds like RDIF but RDIF was used in the 1940s and the only current valid patents on RDIF describe technical innovations, not common uses. When you strike RDIF out of the event, there is nothing to distinguish the type of event covered by the patent. A press conference held by the President of the United States is an event. Does the patent covert that?
The patent has nothing in it that was not in common use prior to the issuing of the patent. Application developers in the USA should show their applications as prior art to strike out the individual points in the patent until the patent falls apart from lack of invention.