I have invented a new way of filtering email that is so accurate it’s scary. I’ve been in the spam filtering business (Junk Email Filter) for 15 years and if you asked me 2 months ago if this level of accuracy is possible I would have said NO WAY! This thing is almost 100% accurate, especially on not blocking good email. I’m calling it the Evolution Filter because it seems to mimic the way evolution works.

I’m thinking about getting a method patent on it and I’m torn on the issue and need advice. I’m in the process of writing and filing a provisional patent so I’m not going to tell you how I’m doing it today.

I can tell you for sure that no one else is doing this because if anyone knew this trick, everyone would be using it. It does have a learning system. It does have a database. It is not Bayesian or remotely similar to Bayesian.

So you all know me and you know I’m not just making this stuff up. So for the purpose of this discussion let’s assume I actually am onto something.

I’m about to file a provisional patent. The idea here is to make it good enough that it will be east to convert it into a real patent within a year. It will also create the illusion of protection while I’m trying to make a buck off this. My fear is once I let the cat out of the bag it might put me out of business. This process is so accurate that if it were widely implemented spammers might just give up. It’s that good. And – although the method isn’t obvious the implementation is trivial. I had it working in a couple days and my programming skills are good – but not outstanding.

I have been advised that I should just keep it secret and just have the world’s best spam filter, but that’s not what I want to do. I want spam to die. So what I would like to do is release it for free to the public but be able to charge the big guys a licensing fee. Something like 1 cent per email account per year or 5 cents per email account for a perpetual license.

My feeling on this is that once I release it the spam filtering community will go wild. This is going to spread really really fast. And the big guys will notice it very quickly as well.

Having used so much public domain software and methods I do feel like I want to give back to the community. But if the world gave me a billion dollars (not expecting that) for this method the world would be getting a great deal.

I do have some concerns about the method and what else it can be used for. It’s uses are not limited to spam but can be used by any system to identify almost anything.

It is also a very simple recursive learner that is extremely fast. If a server connects to my server and sends 2 emails on the same connection, if the first email is learned the score for the second email will have already been altered.

OK – my question. Assuming i’m not delusional – I’d like ideas about patents in general and ways to make money on ideas without a patent.

Thoughts?

 

 



  1. fabby says:

    IANAL but I know that the three most important things are:

    1. Prior art
    If someone else has come up with the same idea before, your patent will be invalidated automatically. Do your own research, look for algorithms or published papers that describe what you’re doing as patent lawyers don’t really know what you’re talking about.

    2. Not obvious
    It should *not* be obvious by a person skilled in the art (your case: spam filtering). to come up with the exact same idea.

    3. Breadth
    Don’t write the patent too narrowly: expand it and include all derivatives that other people “skilled in the art” could come up with once they know about your algorithm.

    Having said all that: A business process is not patentable and outside of the US, your patent might not be valid anyway, so server hosting in the EU might completely bypass your patent.

  2. Jim Eubanks says:

    If it works and that well, go for it. You deserve to make money from it. However, I would hope it could be licensed in such a way that it’s inclusion would be required for all ISPs. Of course, even if it were used by a small population, it would still make an impact. I too want spam to die. While I have the common sense combined with computer knowledge to avoid the phishing attempts, etc., far too many people, especially the elderly, do not. Viruses and malware are the other reason it should die as spam is the primary way many computers are infected. Such a spam filter could save more money and frustration than anything else I can imagine. That being said, crooks and con men will always find a way to be what they are.

  3. IM77 says:

    Old axiom: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably IS too good to be true.


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