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Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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I agree 100% with your whole analysis.

yg
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http://ygdes.com / http://yasep.org

Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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It's not often that happens!  Usually I'm considered a bit extreme when
I write that sort of rant...

mvh.,

David


Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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I know how it feels ;-)

And i've seen through the years that patents don't make business sense anymore.
It's as if the governments sold bazookas to the population so people can
defend themselves : it does not stop criminality, colateral damages increase,
it makes the weapons manufacturers happy and the government says "it has done
something for the citizen's security".

And I know that, like shit, innovation happens,
if you need patent "protection" it's not innovative.
An inventor invents, a manufacturer manufactures.
The patent's idea of an inventor getting rich because
he sells his patents to a big corp is not false,
but it's so rare, maybe one per 100K patent.
If an inventor gains 1M$ for selling one patent,
for every 10K patents (each costing maybe 10K$) that are
registered, I see that the system's output is really biased
($1M-$10K < 10K*$10K)
It's a disguised lottery that benefits the patent offices
and patent lawyers, and the overflow is spent by the courtrooms.

I "protect" my ideas by publication : when I write articles,
I get paid immediately (instead of spending incredible amounts of cash
for a long and painful patent application), I get recognized
as the innovator (good publicity), it spreads the ideas
(that's the original intent of patents) and I don't annoy anyone
(the reader can skip my article).

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yg
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http://ygdes.com / http://yasep.org

Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention



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I actually think the most common application of patents these days is as
our field's equivalent of an anti-personnel mine --- you bury it, wait,
and hope someone will die tripping over it, so you can pick through the
remains.  Like mines, they're most typically used in large numbers, as
mine-fields, in an attempt to make entire areas inhabitable.

Big companies tend use them as a deterrent against smaller ones, often
mentioned in a statement containing a suitably spun version of "You
pissed us off, so now we'll sue your pants off".

To those who followed the debate about software patents around here, I'm
sure I'm not the only one to whom some of the arguments brought forth
sounded scarily similar to cold-war rhethorics, especially all that "we
need these things because they have them, and they say they'll bang us
over the head with them" train of thought.  Software patents have become
the missile-heads in yet another arms race, this time run by patent
super-powers holding each other at bay, while making the world miserable
for all others.

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And the original idea behind patents was that an inventor should get a
realistic chance to _become_ a manufacturer in his own right, without
being overtaken by existing players in the market who copied his product
as soon as they hear about them.

The original plan was to reward invention with a chance to earn a nifty
sum of money.  A patent is a warrant of government-backed protection of
the inventor's (or his partners') investment into setting up a
production, by means of a time-limited monopoly.  The government
requests payment for this privilege in the form of letting everyone
benefit from the idea --- but only _after_ the original inventor has
earned their fill.

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IMHO the end of the US patent system making sense came when their
government turned the USPTO from a tax-financed branch of the executive
to an institution officially tasked with generating a net positive
contribution into the federal budget.  Ever since, the USPTO has biased
its procedures towards earning more fees above all else.  After all, why
put work into testing, and possibly rejecting a patent application
(little or no fees), when instead you can blindly accept it first
(fee!), then handle the rebuttal process (more fees!) and ultimately
leave all the actual hard work to the courts?

Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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I see nothing to disagree, excellent points again.
Sadly, it will be hard to sustain an interesting
discussion if we always agree ;-)

yg
--20%
http://ygdes.com / http://yasep.org

Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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No, it is spot on. Actually I stored the article, in order to discuss
it with friends. Thanks.

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Groetjes Albert

--
--
Albert van der Horst, UTRECHT,THE NETHERLANDS
Economic growth -- being exponential -- ultimately falters.
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Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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You could patent it but unfortunately you use stairs to access the
basement and as I patented "stair algorithms" many eons ago and all
works derived therefrom you owe me big time, of course I waited until
you'd made a commercial venture out of your mouse trap before I informed
you off this.


Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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What makes software different? If you can patent a novel circuit or
mechanism, why shouldn't you be able to patent a novel software process?
Having been, at different times in my life, a hardware designer and
(currently) a software developer, I do not see a difference between the
two, they are the same thing carried out by different means.

The main problem that I see is the way that software patents are issued,
often for ill defined and questionablely novel ideas, but then that can
also apply to other types of patents too.

Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention



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 They're very different.  It's akin to patenting say, the ripple
sorting, or bubble sorting methods, (ignoring prior art for now) or any
other newfangled sorting method that's perhaps incredibly faster.

 This allows other vendors to develop very similar techniques to your
superduper sort method, without stealing your code, or even being aware
of your code.  It does happen.

 Under current law, there is no copyright violation.  But with patents,
in the event a very similar technique is found in a competitor's code,
the competitor would be liable for costly payments for code they wrote
years ago, and in good faith, never even knew it was similar to yours.

 Or vice versa.

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 As Dr Phil would say, a good indicator of future behaviour is past
behaviour.

 The patent offices have proved to be full of idiots, who continually
pass through patents that have been in prior art use for a long time.

 Or, patenting some very vague description of some vague idea, that
could virtually describe anything.

 I'm not buying there's inherent built-in protection against that,
ensuring all ideas are specific.

 The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding smells funny.

Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


snipped-for-privacy@techniciansyndrome.org.invalid says...
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AND, depending on code structure, optimizations, and CPU architecture,
similar, but different, source code may compile to the same native CPU
instructions.  So, who is the patent violator there?  The code writer or
the compiler vendor?  Stranger things have happened.....




Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/thumbs-down-for-software-patents-in-nz

Yay!  Though, frankly, a more reasonable approach would
have been to *greatly* reduce the period in which patent
a patent on such "art" is granted -- and prevent the patents
from being "renewed".

Given how quickly the industry moves, it's hard to imagine
*anything* being worthy of protection for more than a few
(e.g., 3-4) years.

I think if that were the case, folks would avoid the patent
hassle entirely, rely on trade secret, as needed, and just
plan on being "nimble" in the marketplace instead of
trying to live off old (artificial) glories...

Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/thumbs-down-for-software-patents-in-nz
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Anything that becomes an accepted standard like LH-compression,
VFAT/FAT-32, MPEG Layer 3 or H.264, can be a nice little earner
for the patent holder longer than that.



Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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Another bit of interesting news is that QUT and IP Australia is setting
up an experimental crowd-sourced prior art web site.  Register on the
site and you get to review applications for prior art and send notes on
what you find to the offical examiner.

<http://www.abc.net.au/rn/futuretense/stories/2010/2852587.htm

Mark Zenier   snipped-for-privacy@eskimo.com  
Googleproofaddress(account:mzenier provider:eskimo domain:com)


Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention



[...]

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nice idea. There are so many applications of stuff not being really
new but not widely known.

I'm only afraid that only few people will participate.

Oliver
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Oliver Betz, Munich
despammed.com might be broken, use Reply-To:

Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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They're more than a decade late on the bus, then.

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That's been the wording in Germany since just about forever.  Problem is
that patent lawyers, as lawyers will, found a loophole to completely
subvert the meaning of that clause.  They did so mainly by submitting
not the algorithm itself, but rather a piece of hardware based on it,
for patenting.  Once they got the patent, they applied it to other
people's pure software works.

Which led to the _completely_ ridiculous situation where a piece of work
was expressly denied a patent itself, but could still fall prey to other
people's patents.

SW patents make no sense whatsoever.

Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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It is pretty .......... to post news about a bill on an international
forum without even mentionning the country it is in.

<SNIP>

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--
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Albert van der Horst, UTRECHT,THE NETHERLANDS
Economic growth -- being exponential -- ultimately falters.
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Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


says...
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Did I miss something here, or did you?

I mean "Thumbs down for software patents in NZ" is pretty obvious to me.


Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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Sorry, I missed it because NZ didn't ring a bell, and I overlooked.
Now I understand it is New Zealand.

Groetjes Albert

--
--
Albert van der Horst, UTRECHT,THE NETHERLANDS
Economic growth -- being exponential -- ultimately falters.
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: a computer program is not a patentable invention


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Sorry, I should have explained in full detail. I'll try and do better in
future. I promise.
:-)

NZ = New Zealand

Other common abbreviations are:
US = United States
USA = United States of America


Cheers Don...



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Don McKenzie

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