There has been legislation passed that affects Patent law in the US. Some folks are pretty upset about the implications of the new laws that are supposed to take effect in late March. Check this site for more information:
http://www.objectiveamerican.com/ and view the editorial for 1/18/00. There are more links at the site.
It's hard to understand all of the implications of the new law, however, it appears that the issues weren't fully discussed and there is reason to be aprehensive about the changes.
For more information about the rp-ml, see http://ltk.hut.fi/rp-ml/
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