Re: Establishing Priority for Patents

From: J Adrian Pickering <jap_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 20:00:21 +0000

At 18:17 14/02/01 -0800, you wrote:
>On Tue, Feb 13, 2001 at 08:04:45PM +0000, J Adrian Pickering wrote:
> > Yes. You must file beforehand. You should also secure your data leading up
> > to the filing also (in case of 'diligence' challenges). Self-archiving a
> > preprint could be done provided it is encrypted. However, this is not
> > necessary. File the *hash* of the preprint only. Then, there there is
> > absolutely NO possibility of disclosure whatsoever.
>I see. Well I have found a short proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, and
>here is its cryptographic hash key:
> qp2938jap98ejrap38fjawp498fjq4pf8jsfpaj34fp8j4f
>And if the NSF gives me a grant I will reveal the document that led to
>this key.

:-) Perhaps I should say that the hash algorithm has to be a publically
disclosed one at this time, otherwise no one will believe you.

NSF are regarded as a good source of such public algorithms. They've
recently improved their SHA family. You should get a grant if you can
demonstrate improvements!

>I have to agree with Stevan that this is not compatible with the purpose
>of open scholarly archives. Maybe there should be an archive somewhere
>of hash keys of good ideas. But not the arXiv or similar.

It DOES have something to contribute to scholars if they wish to assert
that they had a document, open or otherwise, at a particular instant in
time. We want all documents to be open. However, we have encountered one
instance where it *might* be necessary to publically claim existance of a
closed document before subsequently opening it. I think it is good to know
that a document exists - even if you can't read all of it - than for its
existance to be hidden entirely.

However, yes, our objective is open archives with a provable order of
archiving across the network. I believe hashes have a part to play here
generally. We'll see...

Adrian Pickering/
Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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