EFF and the Cyberlaw Clinic Take on Overbroad Mesh Networking Patents

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported on Friday about the latest developments in the Cyberlaw Clinic’s ongoing collaboration with EFF, which addresses overbroad patent applications in key technology areas.  As previously mentioned, the Clinic and EFF have taken advantage of the “preissuance submission” process to provide patent examiners at the United States Patent and Trademark Office with prior art relevant to pending applications in the field of 3D printing.  Clinical Instructional Fellow Kit Walsh provided an overview of the project in a post on 3Dprintingindustry.com earlier this month.

As EFF noted last week, we’ve now entered phase two of the project and are directing our attention to patents in the area of mesh networking technology:

Mesh networking allows users to form their own networks without a centralized infrastructure, making them inherently resistant to censorship, surveillance, and disruption. Given recent revelations showing widespread surveillance of the phone calls and online activities of innocent Americans and others around the globe, the development of mesh networks more important than ever. Governments and commercial actors have taken advantage of intermediaries as “weak links” in order to censor, surveil, and disrupt communications and social movements. Already in the United States, cell towers have been deactivated in response to planned protest, while activists in countries such as Egypt, Libya, and Syria have suffered massive blackouts that shut down all access from within the country to the wider Internet. Mesh networking technology can help activists fight back.

Those with expertise in mesh networking are strongly encouraged to vist AskPatents.com and review requests posted by EFF’s Julie Samuels last week, specifically seeking prior art relevant to the following three pending US patent applications:  US 20130014219 A1US 20130014217 A1; and US 2012/0326927. If you know of relevant prior art, please submit it, and take a moment to upvote or downvote what other experts have already provided. Given that the preissuance submission procedure allows early intervention in the life of a patent, relatively recent developments in the technology may qualify as “prior art.”

By apprising examiners of relevant prior art, EFF and the Clinic hope to protect mesh networking innovators from overbroad and illegitimate patents and promote access to technologies that preserve personal freedoms.

(Public domain mesh network image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

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