This is a significant development concerning the Vuestar Patent Claim issue.
Turned out someone by the nickname of "Upset Singaporean" wrote to his Member of Parliament (MP) about the Vuestar Claim. The MP, Dr. Ong Seh Hong, subsequently directed the enquiry to the Intellectual Property Office Singapore (IPOS). Which then lead to the IPOS Director-General, Ms Liew Woon Yin, responding with this reply.
"Upset Singapore" wrote that he/ she specifically sought permission from the IPOS Director-General to share the response at RefuteVueStarPatent.
When I read the post yesterday, I was elated.
Because not only did the IPOS response clarified alot of murkiness about the Patent Claim, it also raised doubts as to the validity of Vuestar's Claim.
Specifically, items 2, 4 and 6 from the IPOS reply (emphasis are my own):
2. According to IPOS’ records, the patent for “Method of locating web-pages by utilising visual images” (Singapore Patent No. 95940) stands in the name of Langford, Ronald, N. The patent was granted in Singapore, albeit not to VueStar...
4. As Singapore Patent No. 95940 was not granted to VueStar, the relationship between VueStar and the patentee would first have to be ascertained before the question of whether VueStar can actually demand payment arises. The basis on which VueStar is making their demand and their interest in the patent certainly requires examination.
6. Under the Patents Act and Rules, the validity of a patent may be challenged by way of defence in proceedings for patent infringements. There are also other relevant provisions...
At the same time, my librarian's training must have kicked in, 'cos I posed this question to Alice: "How do we know "Upset Singaporean" really obtained permission from IPOS?"
Alice had considered this point already. She decided to use Upset Singaporean's comment in good faith.
I suggested to her that she could do better. Just ask IPOS direct!
Which Alice did immediately. She emailed IPOS. And she received a call from IPOS the very next day confirming that everything was as stated.
The clarification from IPOS doesn't change the fact that companies who have received invoices from Vuestar must still go though due process to resolve the matter.
But in my opinion, the words from IPOS really tips the balance in favour of those being invoiced by Vuestar.
Yet another example that information is power.
[Update: FAQ compiled at RefuteVuestarPatent.biz, 8 Jun 08]