This was posted by Bob Velke on Compuserve, TMG-L, and Usenet.
From: Wholly Genes, Inc.
Elk Ridge, Maryland
Date: January 26, 1995
On 11 January 1995, we were notified of a claim by COMMSOFT, Inc., that the upcoming release of The Master Genealogist (TMG) v1.2 threatens to infringe on its U.S. Patent #5,097,418 which was granted on 17 March 1992 for a specific "Method and Means for Managing Citations in Documents."
COMMSOFT, Inc., a California corporation, produces the Roots IV genealogy software, among others.
In support of its allegation, COMMSOFT, Inc., points to page 144 of our Reference Manual as providing apparent evidence of patent infringement. That page and the paragraph preceding it outline the various types of source references (long form, short form, "ibid.," and bibliography) which will be produced by the upcoming release of TMG. It further describes the academic rules by which each form of citation is applied according to Richard S. Lackey's "Cite Your Sources: A Manual for Documenting Family Histories and Genealogical Records" (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1980).
Wholly Genes, Inc., disputes the interpretation by COMMSOFT, Inc. that the features and method of application described on page 144 of our manual are protected by their U.S. Patent #5,097,418. Further, we have been assured by our attorneys that the processes employed by TMG v1.2 do not infringe on that patent and that our Reference Manual does not exhibit any evidence to that effect.
We regret to inform our users of this claim, inasmuch as its timing has caused the further delay of the release of The Master Genealogist v1.2. Although we are free from any wrongdoing, we know that you will understand the necessity to be prepared for a formal defense against this allegation. We want you to know, however, that we are committed to the adjusted release date for TMG v1.2 as described in the accompanying announcement.
In what we believe is the best interest of the genealogical community, we stand ready to dispute any interpretation which subjects a developer to a patent infringment claim merely for using these long-standing academic citation forms. We thank you for your continued support and understanding.
Read Commsoft's Patent.
L.A.W. 5 May 1995