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The State of the Art decides, whether an invention is new or not. (see Patent Law )
State of the Art are all publicly available documents.
Additional to books or magazines, there are all websites, programs, and sourcecode that are freely available in the Internet
The major problem is to give evidence that some online ressource was already available at some given date. (see 1 )
Timestamping (as used here) is one way, to create evidence to be used in court later (hopefully still in 10-20 years) to certify something :)
- Timestamps can give evidence, that some data already existed at the date of the timestamp
- Timestamps can not certify that this data has really been published at that date. So this part will probably always be subject to date forensics .
- Timestamping Introduction 
- Details on how and why timestamping can be used as evidence
- Public Timestamp 
- A description of how we could provide a Public Timestamping Service
- Find evidence that some data has been published at a given date
- Find evidence that this really is exactly the same data that has been published at that date. (This one is easy if appropriate timestamps exist)
- Both evidences are simply given, if you find any printed publication (book, magazine, .. ) that contains what you want to use as Prior Art. The evidence-date is of course the date of the publication of that print.
- If some printed publication contains an article that e.g. says: "The program xyz has released version abc and can be downloaded from http://x.org ", then:
- the evidence that this has been published is given
- the evidence that what pretends to had been version xyz really is the same which was available back then is not given. (with timestamps this would be easy).
- If some program was only published online (or wasn't printed before the critical date), then different argumentations can be used. These forensics are the main topic here.
The goal is to provide a guideline for online date forensics
There are problems with paper publications too.
There is lead time, sometimes as much as three months or more and someone body has
to review what is being printed. And this certainly applies to peer review publications.
The date of publication can be inaccurate too. It's not uncommon for the sunday dated
newspaper to actually be published and on newsstands the day before and likewise the
publication date can easily be before any public actually received and views an article
in a paper magizine.
Publishing thru electronic means can be more instanious and timestamped by a path of
computers it is passed through and by. Certainly the technology of computer communication
is going to be faster than print media. This is actually one of the concerns of the print
media industry, not being able to keep up.
The way to establish a time stamping verification is to pass it thru multiple and unrelated
systems as well as having the IP graniung organizations maintaining their own record of such
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