Re: in the NEW YORK TIMES today, report of a USA patent for a methodto make the Arabic language easier to read/write/typeset

From: Ernest Cline (
Date: Mon Mar 15 2004 - 22:37:04 EST

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    > [Original Message]
    > From: C J Fynn <>
    > I thought to get a patent you were supposed to invent something new and
    > obvious.
    > Other than the shape of the letters (which are apparently derivative)
    what is
    > novel about a script which doesn't have complex shaping behaviour
    (whether for
    > writing Arabic or any other language) ?
    > I can understand someone claiming copyright for the design or shape of
    > if they are unique - but nothing else in this seems like an "invention".
    It is
    > little different from representing Arabic letters by their Unicode code
    > values - or any other unique symbol for each letter.

    In this case, I think that altho each of the parts is derivative, the
    unique idea
    he had was putting them together in a way that was not obvious until
    it was described by him.

    Given the documentation in the patent and the Arabetics website,
    all this might do is complicate the life of font designers until August 2019
    when the patent expires in the US. By securing a general patent in addition
    to an ordinary Design patent, Mr Abulhab has managed to get an extra
    six years of patent protection for his fonts, but that is about it. Since
    I doubt
    that his fonts or those generated upon his principles will be popular,
    it looks like it a storm in a teakettle. I don't think it will be easy for
    to make similar claims for their font and even if they do, it will only add
    another six years to the patent period.

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