After 2 very long years of work, we’ve been anxiously awaiting this day: the US Patent & Trademark Office has finally published our patent! Google’s bots were more than accommodating and you can find the full patent filing here: https://patents.google.com/patent/US9467545B1/en
You might ask, “What’s the point of a patent?”. Well, the main reason we thought it important to patent our core availability-engine was that after having designed and built such systems in the past, we learned from that work and felt that our approach at Gonebusy was novel and unique enough that it warranted patent protection. We’re fairly certain the design laid out in the patent lends itself to the smallest-footprint, most scalable, and most efficient querying of scheduled availability possible.
You may also be wondering if such a patent is counter to the open-source ethos. We don’t think so at all. The open-source community is about making publicly available tools that implement or facilitate commonly understood paradigms and concepts. We believe strongly in the open-source commitment to publicly available utilities that everyone can inspect for correctness, completeness and safety, while at the same time promoting community development, support and direction. That’s why we’ve offered SDKs for client connectivity to the Gonebusy API in various languages to the open-source community (https://gonebusy.github.io/libraries). At the same time, when it comes to the ideas and concepts that we feel differentiate us as a business that are not publicly available, we feel strongly that such intellectual property be capable of being patented for others to inspect the design and potentially license use of.
Why did it take us 2 years? Because that’s how long patents take! First you have to work to produce the initial patent application in order to begin the process. This initial draft is called the Provisional Application. You then have one year to get all of your ducks in a row, find them a pond, get them some lunch… you get the idea, before you must file the final draft called the Non-Provisional Application. The USPTO can then take anywhere from a few months to years reviewing your application but our excellent patent attorneys were able to fast-track the review process through to completion in under a year.
Stay tuned for a site revamp coming in the next couple of months that will coincide with our official launch with a “killer app” integration for a tool you may already be using….