I read an article on News.com about a legal dispute concerning some patents covering the creation of dynamic web pages (Nos. 5,894,554 and 6,415,335,). From what I understand, those patents where filed in April 1996 and January 1999.
Now Public Patent Foundation takes on EpicRealm Licensing to challenge these patents.
Since November 1995 I’ve been using some software to generate dynamic web pages for my sites. At the time I thought I was coming late to the game of dynamically created sites as the software had been published in 1994 for the first time.
This makes me wonder why the patents where granted to EpicRealm when Maxum Development already published NetCloak and NetForms to create dynamic content in 1994.
Those 2 software products did exactly what the patent describes: taking a request from the web server, taking a page from a repository (folder, other application), parsing the dynamic code, caching the generated page and sending the results back to the web server to let the visitor see the dynamically created page.
NetCloak and NetForms use custom HTML extensions to let the webmaster design HTML templates which are then filled with the information taken from the other applications ore generated on the fly. Using various network protocols, it was possible to take information from different other servers or network attached hard disks.
NetCloak has been used on our web sites since late 1995 to process all HTML pages, e.g. inserting the dynamic copyright date, inserting the modification date, taking our phone numbers from a central database etc. We just had to change that information in one place to update all of our pages. I also created custom sites in NetCloak where the content of the page is based upon the data entry of the user, i.e. to display personalized quizzes where the user is presented a set of questions based upon his settings. Those sites have been online since late 1995.
Using the software, it was also possible to create a dispatcher inside the software itself which could then redirect the requests to another server also running the NetCloak/NetForms software. I even combined this software with some custom programming to include other databases and integrate those results in the cache with the dynamic content. Everything listed in patent 5,894,554 could be done using NetCloak.
Maxum Development should have filled for those patents. NetCloak and NetForms where available before EpicRealm filled for the patents and are therefore prior art.
Maybe John O’Fallon of Maxum Development should be a witness in this patent case.
I really hope that those patents will be invalidated because the technology described therein has been available for a much longer time.