Last modified: September 30, 2003 5:05 PM PDT
Much ado about plug-ins
Why all the hullabaloo? Plug-ins are nothing more than dynamically loaded modules that are in the context of a specific application type that calls the modules to be loaded. This has been done forever, and whoever allowed the Eolas patent to be issued needs to atone for their error.
If a patent was permitted to be issued for a concept in every new application or program code type--when the concept existed as prior art in another application--trivial patents could be issued everywhere. Eolas' patent was improperly allowed and by the standards that govern the awarding of patents, it fails the required test of novelty.
A wheel running over a different type of road does not permit another patent to be issued for the wheel. Plug-ins are dynamically loaded modules or programs, and that is as old as the hills.
Facilities manager and research scientist
Laboratory for Integrated Computing and Optoelectronic Systems
University of Alabama in Huntsville