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Patents/Prior Art

Patents/Prior Art
Here we highlight some of the questions we've fielded at XooxleAnswers and earlier, at Google Answers, on patents and prior art, such as...
Client was looking for proof of a computerized electronic catalog and ordering system prior to August 1994.
We found numerous published examples, including: 

Journal of Commerce, April 14, 1988:  AUTO PARTS COMPANIES TERM EDI INVALUABLE
PATENT 5319542, June 7, 1994:  System for ordering items using an electronic catalogue

PATENT 4799156, January 17, 1989:  Interactive market management system
Computer Reseller News, 27 April 1992:  Vars Industry:  Coin markets parts catalog to automotive dealers

Chicago Sun-Times, 12 July 1987:  New technology smooths road for auto services
and several others.
Client needed to know where Viagara (sildenafil) was and wasn't patented.
We identified patents in more than a dozen countries and regions, including the US, Turkey, Japan, Slovakia, Germany, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Canada, WIPO and elsewhere.
Client was looking for examples of small software companies involved in suits for patent infringement?
We were able to provide more than ten examples, including:

Forgent Networks v Audiovox Electronics Corp. patent infringement suit regarding its JPEG-related patent.

ePlus v Ariba
Ariba Inc. has said that it has agreed to pay $37 million to settle a patent-infringement suit

Immersion v Sony/Microsoft
Immersion was awarded $82 million in this patent infringment suit

EMC claimed that HP infringed three computer software patents for remote and local mirroring of digital data.
USA Video v Movielink
Movielink prevailed in this software patent infringement lawsuit

BroadVision v Art Technology
BroadVision Inc. received $ 15 million from rival Art Technology Group to settle a patent infringement case involving U.S. Patent No.
5,710,887, which involves a method of boosting online sales,
MIT vs Multiple Parties
...the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Electronics for Imaging Inc. are suing more than 100 corporations, charging infringement of a patent for color-image editing software

Q: Identifying a U.S. patent by date
Client has a few scraps of information on a century-old item, and needed to identify the original patent.
XooxleAnswers researchers (at the time, at Google Answers) found the precise item:
June 27, 1876
Patent #: 179354

A link to the patent itself at the US Patent Office (USPTO) site

Client needed to know when the patent expires on Lipitor, Pfizer's blockbuster drug.

"The patent on Lipitor, the world's best-selling medicine expires in 2010. Pfizer also is bracing for patent expirations for the antibiotic
Zithromax in 2005, the antidepressant Zoloft in 2006 and the blood-pressure treatment Norvasc in 2007..."
Client needed prior art on electronic "Green Stamp" bonus programs in existence earlier than June 1998.
We provided over a dozen examples, including mypoints.com, MotivationNet, Universal Rewards Currency, Intellipost, BonusMail, CyberGold, ClickRewards, FreeRide media, and others. 

Other patent and prior art included included: