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Salon: Who ya gonna call? Patent busters! -- a.k.a. BountyQuest

Oct 23, 2000, 14:57 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Damien Cave)

"Charles Cella used to help start-ups like ARTISTdirect apply for Internet business method patents. Now the attorney-turned-CEO plans to make money busting them. Why the change of heart? "Because there are a lot of bad patents out there, and there are a lot of valid patents too," he says. "What needs fixing is the system of 'prior art.'"

"Prior art," says Cella, referring to a legal term used to describe inventions that invalidate patents by proving that they aren't new ideas, "is just too hard to find." Which is where BountyQuest, Cella's new company, comes in. Launched on Wednesday, BountyQuest aims to quell the raging debate over the validity of Internet business method patents by becoming a one-stop shop for prior art information exchange."

"Cella considers BountyQuest to be not just a potentially profitable business, but also a market-based example of reform. Jeff Bezos and computer book publisher Tim O'Reilly, two prominent Internet players who have fought with each other about the patent system, are serving as corporate advisors to the new Web site. Both men are also investors. (Bezos has contributed more than $1 million.)"

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