Joseph has asked me to explain the differences in the two patents and, at risk of saying something inappropriate (at least in the context of what attorneys would deem appropriate), here goes:
The easiest way to look at this patent is the conclusion of a painfully long process that started back in 2001 when we filed the original application. After battling with the patent examiner, who engaged in much handwringing over the breadth of the claims and his inability to find prior art on point, we ended up appealing our claims to take the patent out of the hands of the patent examiner. That Examiner withdrew his rejection and presented a new rejection that was not all that much more interesting. We appealed again.
The results of the appeal were mixed. Some claims were allowed and others were rejected as they were written a bit too broadly. At that point we had the option of revising the rejected claims in light of what the appeal board indicated was allowable, but to do so we had to go back to the original patent examiner, with whom we never saw eye to eye. Instead, we permitted the allowed claims to issue and revised the rejected claims in a second patent application we filed. The patent that issued Tuesday is that second patent application that contains those revisions of the rejected claims.
Since the first patent, the Supreme Court has looked at the patentability of software (In re Bilski) and made changes to limit the patentability of some software. The Supreme Court has also looked obviousness and, raised the bar for obtaining patents. The second patent was issued despite these changes in the interpretation of patent claims and evidences the durability both patents will have in the changing patent landscape.
Rather than trying to describe the differences between the two patents, I would say that the second patent expands on the breadth and scope of the protection afforded by the claims in the first patent and closes the loop in the protection of NextStage’s Evolution Technology as it was devised nine years ago. We have more patent applications in the pipeline that reflect improvements made by NextStage in the technology as well as more focused applications of the technology and building blocks of the technology. With these two patents, we have completed the foundation from which we will build the rest of the patent structure.