We occasionally put up ideas on the web that we decide are not worth patenting; but yet we wish to protect ourselves against others patenting the ideas. Lawyers call this "technical disclosure". It would be good to have evidence that we had indeed done so.

I suppose that there are not yet standards of how public a web page is. A page with a hard to guess URL does not disclose well. A document known to AltaVista using standard terminology discloses very well.

Yet another issue is making small improvements to the document such as correcting technical or grammatical errors. The emenda described here may help manage this problem. I conclude that the original uncorrected documents must be available along with evidence of when they were widely accessible. It is not considered a normal function of current web sites to provide indelible records. Services such as described here could protect the discloser from the web site losing his data. Presumably it is legally necessary to ensure that the information is mostly continuously available.

I do not know where the burden of indexing lies. Must the discloser ensure that the idea is findable by key words? IBM publishes a series of Technical Disclosures each of which is a thick volume with an index for each issue.

The Web Archive archives the web.

Perhaps a reasonable legal stance is that to be disclosed data must be usually available under a constant URL which is accessible to indexers such as AltaVista. Digital notaries can then attest to this state. Perhaps statistical audits (random checks) can provide sufficient evidence that this was the case.

These ideas may be resisted by those whose goal is to legally disclose while not practically disclosing. Many details remain to be worked out.