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Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 16:36:00 EST
Subject: iWitness.net Proposes Records Management Policies, New...
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iWitness.net Proposes Records Management Policies, New Patent System to Facilitate the Growth of Electronic Business

     BOULDER, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 30, 2000--E-business infrastructure company iWitness.net is recommending to the U.S. Department of Commerce two policies that will facilitate the growth of electronic business. Responding to the Department's request for public comment on legal and regulatory barriers to electronic business, iWitness urged the federal government to:

     -- adapt to e-commerce the established best practices in

        documenting, authenticating, and preserving records of

        business transactions;

     -- adopt a system of shorter duration and concurrent patents for

        e-commerce technologies.

     "People often say that the Internet changes everything," notes iWitness President and CEO Frank Lambert. "But one thing it doesn't change is the need for reliable and legally sound ways to document business transactions. Traditional businesses have systems that create auditable paper trails. E-business needs the digital counterpart for these practices."

     Capturing and preserving complete, accurate and reliable records is particularly challenging in e-business, Lambert points out. "When you're dealing with paper, it's fairly easy to see if someone has crossed out a section of a contract or altered an invoice," he says. "But it doesn't take a lot of technical skill to tamper with an electronic communication -- and leave behind no indication whether it was changed and, if so, who altered it and when."

     For that reason, iWitness recommends that the Department of Commerce require organizations conducting business electronically to engage a neutral third party as custodian of the official digital records of such transactions. This extends to e-commerce generally the practice that the Securities and Exchange Commission has applied to brokerages conducting business online. In addition, it provides a uniform system for interstate and eventually international e-commerce, avoiding the chaos that would result from a state-by-state approach.

     The firm also recommends a system of shorter duration and concurrent patents for e-commerce technologies. Innovation in e-commerce technology occurs at a pace many times faster than that anticipated when the current 20-year duration was set. The lengthy monopoly is contrary to the public's interest in fostering scientific creativity.

     An additional problem is the at least three-year backlog at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the "blind period" in place while a high-technology digital patent request is under review. "Many people are working simultaneously but separately on technical problems in e-commerce," says Emily Frye, iWitness.net Vice President and General Counsel, a nationally known expert in electronic records management and a former consultant to the Patent Office.

     "While the Patent Office is reviewing one person's patent request, someone else may present a similar solution," she points out.

     Concurrent patents address this issue by allowing inventors who submitted fundamentally identical concepts during the blind period to receive a patent on it. This advances the policy goal of the patent system by encouraging and rewarding innovation.

     The iWitness.net letter to the Department of Commerce is posted at http://www.iWitness.net.

     iWitness.net provides software and services that capture and digitally preserve complete, accurate and reliable records of e-business transactions. It offers cyberspace versions of familiar business services: trusted time stamping of legally binding documents; secure archiving and authorized on-demand retrieval and sharing of records; auditable proof of the accuracy, authenticity, and completeness of records; secure and confidential delivery with receipt.

     Investors in the privately held company include Telesoft Partners, LC3 Capital, and Wolf Ventures.

     iWitness.net is located at 2995 Wilderness Place, Boulder, Colo., 80301, 303/545-9000.

CONTACT:

iWitness.net

Frank Lambert, President and CEO

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or

Emily Frye, Vice President and General Counsel

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303/545-9000

or

http://www.iwitness.net

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