Posting to make clear that any patent examiner should at least follow-up should it seriously be considered acceptable.
Does anybody here believe this is a valid set of claims in the patent application? Is is not overly broad? Obvious? Not novel?
DocuSign U.S. Patent Application number 13/158,937 (filed 13 June 2011) has claim 1 as:
A method in an electronic signature service, comprising:
without use of a Portable Document Format processing module,
creating a template that specifies required electronic signature data;
transmitting a URL that identifies the template;
receiving a request based on the transmitted URL;
- in response to the received request, preparing a form based on the template;
- presenting the form within a Web browser; and
- receiving the required electronic signature data.
We hope that the patent examiner will look at competing technologies before they decide on the validity here. Claim 1 as written above has been in our customer deployed practice since June 2001. Every web form is a template accessible via an URL, and if that web form allows for an electronic signature (legal agreement), it would do exactly this, with possibly the only exception that such forms were not "in an electronic signature service." Of course, our web forms were part of an electronic signature service and did exactly this. We even expanded greatly on this concept in November 2005 with our eSignForms product, and most recently in July 2009 with Open eSignForms.
Clearly, this is an obvious solution to signing on the web and nobody should have a patent on it, and this one certainly is far too late to the game without significant changes to the claims.
It is surprising that a company with significant legal representation would even think the claims are novel and non-obvious considering their founder met with Yozons before even starting the company. Clearly they know better.