Dorothy M. Hartman, a retired science teacher and the CEO of the ABFY SELLERS group, claims that her contributions towards The Internet 2 were stolen by the federal government through its Small Business Innovation Programs and the National Science Foundation. According to Hartman, after her patent application was fraudulently prosecuted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, she responded by filing writs in the United States Supreme Court. The Internet 2, which has brought enormous change around the globe in terms of how people do business, and has turned into to a trillion dollar industry, is certainly worth fighting for, especially considering Hartman’s current business ventures are struggling.
As a background, if you are unaware of the drastic differences between the Internet 1 and the Internet 2, and don’t want to delve in-depth into technical details, imagine the difference between a line and a circle. Before the invention of the Internet 2, the internet was more or less seen as a tool for business and utility. Websites, created by webmasters could be visited by online users. However, communication remained fixed between these two actors in a linear relationship. If we compare this to the advent of The Internet 2, which has become more about social media, commercial transactions, and online interactions, amongst various parties together, the complexities of these differences become evident. It is now circular, with webmasters, online users and other online users all in a circle of communication together. In linking her ideas to the success of The Internet 2, Hartman says it took her insight of the web to realize these interactive transformations.
It has now been 24 years that Hartman’s voice has been ignored. At the time, Hartman was 46 years old when she submitted a business plan to the government with the goal of obtaining funding for a telecommunications services prototype company. Her plan, which was dismissed by the government, was apparently stolen to enrich the Internet 1 and those already in the internet industry. The battle for her intellectual property has felt like an up-hill battle to the now senior Hartman, who no longer feels she has the strength to fight against the power of the government and massive multinational companies.
Hartman rejects the reasoning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the 2013 case on the following grounds:
- She claims that the Court did not distinguish between the Internet 1 and the Internet 2 and that the difference is definite;
- the Court did not acknowledge the, what she claims to be, fraudulent behavior of the United States Patent and Trademark Office;
- the Patent Office argument was invalid in its assertion of “indefiniteness.”
Despite her age, Hartman claims she will continue to fight for justice and for what she deserves for producing an invention which has without doubt changed the world. Numerous media outlets have begun describing this case and the injustice to which Hartman is being subjected to in relation to Hartman’s status as a black female operating in a male dominated industry. Regardless of this, it can surely be said that whoever the inventor of the Internet 2 is, they deserve credit for what could be said to be the 20th century’s greatest invention.