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(The Atlantic)   The Case for Abolishing Patents (yes, all of them). Exhibit A: Somebody actually patented a method for moving information through the fifth dimension. As in the Bruce Willis movie. As in faster than the speed of light   (theatlantic.com) divider line 143
    More: Obvious, Bruce Willis, idea, software patents, plain, patent portfolio  
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9762 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Sep 2012 at 3:41 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-30 03:17:28 PM
The Bruce Willis movie was The Fifth Element. No mention of dimension.
 
2012-09-30 03:42:12 PM

MadSkillz: The Bruce Willis movie was The Fifth Element. No mention of dimension.


Maybe subby means the fine Bruce Willis movie "Buckaroo Banjo"?
 
2012-09-30 03:43:33 PM
Yippee ki yay, patent holder.
 
2012-09-30 03:43:42 PM
swing and a miss subby, but yes, patents are pretty messed up these days.
 
2012-09-30 03:44:21 PM
Maybe subby meant Loopers?
 
2012-09-30 03:44:50 PM
But of course.
 
2012-09-30 03:45:51 PM
The Age of Aquarius is upon us.
 
2012-09-30 03:46:00 PM

Perducci: MadSkillz: The Bruce Willis movie was The Fifth Element. No mention of dimension.

Maybe subby means the fine Bruce Willis movie "Buckaroo Banjo"?


I thought that was Remo Wilson.
 
2012-09-30 03:46:36 PM
Actually, citing one example of a stupid patent does not itself establish a case for eliminating all patents.

Yes, need adjustments to the system, but eliminating it completely would be harmful to innovation. Why would I waste time inventing something when I know someone else can sell the identical product a week later, without development costs?

This is not an either/or scenario. There is a rational middle ground.
 
2012-09-30 03:48:24 PM
Misread as "abolishing parents (yes all of them)" and it fit right into that headline.
 
2012-09-30 03:48:25 PM
Can I patent "Utilizing electric impulses within an organic structure to facilitate problem-solving and information retrieval"? I'd love to hold a patent on thinking.
 
2012-09-30 03:49:33 PM
Can't we split the goddamn difference and have patents given for actually innovative things (oh, sorry, that might require - gasp - more government workers).

CruJones: Actually, citing one example of a stupid patent does not itself establish a case for eliminating all patents.

Yes, need adjustments to the system, but eliminating it completely would be harmful to innovation. Why would I waste time inventing something when I know someone else can sell the identical product a week later, without development costs?

This is not an either/or scenario. There is a rational middle ground.


Or, fine, this.

While we're at it, can we get rid of the Disney copyright nonsense and have things pass into public domain in a freaking reasonable time frame?
 
2012-09-30 03:50:10 PM
I always had a crush on Marilyn McCoo.
/What? Not that 5th Dimension? Never mind.
 
2012-09-30 03:50:52 PM
Thickie Holden approves.
 
2012-09-30 03:51:52 PM
Timecube guy strikes again?
 
2012-09-30 03:52:06 PM

CruJones: Why would I waste time inventing something when I know someone else can sell the identical product a week later, without development costs?


For the exact same reason that people develop entertainment software. Being first to market and having a strong brand identity is actually worth a hell of a lot.
 
2012-09-30 03:52:43 PM
ok that story was hard to follow. All I know is that some relatively unknown dad made a fortune by watching his kids play in the sprinkler and sold his idea to Wham-O and thus, the slip and slide car wash was born.

/according to my late night television.
 
2012-09-30 03:53:20 PM

StreetlightInTheGhetto: Can't we split the goddamn difference and have patents given for actually innovative things (oh, sorry, that might require - gasp - more government workers).

CruJones: Actually, citing one example of a stupid patent does not itself establish a case for eliminating all patents.

Yes, need adjustments to the system, but eliminating it completely would be harmful to innovation. Why would I waste time inventing something when I know someone else can sell the identical product a week later, without development costs?

This is not an either/or scenario. There is a rational middle ground.

Or, fine, this.

While we're at it, can we get rid of the Disney copyright nonsense and have things pass into public domain in a freaking reasonable time frame?


Yeah, I've never understood the argument that things can't be done because it would require more personal oversight. Isn't lack of jobs a problem these days?
 
2012-09-30 03:55:21 PM

MadSkillz: The Bruce Willis movie was The Fifth Element. No mention of dimension.


Yeah, it was in TFA, but Subby obviously agrees with the author that Bruce Willis was in a movie called 'The Fifth Dimension', maybe he made this particular movie in a parallel universe? The one where doing away with patents entirety wouldn't result in the little guy getting even more screwed over even more than he already does?
 
2012-09-30 03:56:41 PM
How about limiting what can be patented? I'm pretty horrified at all the issues raised by patenting genomes.
 
2012-09-30 03:57:08 PM
Hudson Hawk was a smash hit in the 5th dimension.
 
2012-09-30 03:57:48 PM
If the info doesn't pass through the first time, does that mean you have to give it a multipass?
 
2012-09-30 03:58:37 PM
the way I see it. If you can't provide construction details, it isn't based on any real evidence, no science, no plans/schematic, no R&D and just words on a paper. then no patent. prove you made it, prove it works and provide the details. If not, no patent. 
is that just too good of an idea?
 
2012-09-30 04:01:10 PM
FTFA, "the best solution is to abolish patents entirely [emphasis mine] through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments".

Constitution FAIL.
 
2012-09-30 04:01:48 PM
But where would corporations be whose tech/development/creative staff has no right to their own work product? How could an employee leave, having self-invested in over $100,000 in education alone and go off to create a really innovative solution with very little help from an outfit that basically demanded unpaid overtime every day for years.
 
2012-09-30 04:03:21 PM

endosymbiont: FTFA, "the best solution is to abolish patents entirely [emphasis mine] through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments".

Constitution FAIL.


Also, to clarify my point before anyone flames me: the existence of a patent system is a constitutional measure. No legislative 'other instrument' could abolish patents. Apparently the author of this article as well as the authors of the paragraph being quoted failed high school civics.
 
2012-09-30 04:05:28 PM

kd8our: the way I see it. If you can't provide construction details, it isn't based on any real evidence, no science, no plans/schematic, no R&D and just words on a paper. then no patent. prove you made it, prove it works and provide the details. If not, no patent. 
is that just too good of an idea?


There was a schematic in that particular patent application. :)
 
2012-09-30 04:08:21 PM

endosymbiont: endosymbiont: FTFA, "the best solution is to abolish patents entirely [emphasis mine] through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments".

Constitution FAIL.

Also, to clarify my point before anyone flames me: the existence of a patent system is a constitutional measure. No legislative 'other instrument' could abolish patents. Apparently the author of this article as well as the authors of the paragraph being quoted failed high school civics.


Not so... The Constitution gives Congress the power to implement patent and copyright acts (which they deemed so important that they passed the first acts the very next year). However, it does not say that Congress has to do such. Congress could abolish patents (and copyrights) tomorrow without violating the Constitution*.

*they'd violate** several international treaties, which would therefore arguably violate the Constitution, but it's a roundabout way of getting there.
**it's actually possible to be in compliance with TRIPS, Berne, and Paris by not providing any protection at all. See, e.g. Switzerland in the early part of the 1900s. So technically, Congress wouldn't even be violating those.
 
2012-09-30 04:09:00 PM

sendbillmoney: Thickie Holden approves.


Ommmmmm.
 
2012-09-30 04:09:24 PM
SCO
 
2012-09-30 04:09:37 PM
What is this, a promo for one of the Stargate shows?

Peer review this. If it's real (snerk) give them a nobel prize. If it's a load of shiat, throw everyone involved in the looney bin for life.
 
2012-09-30 04:12:02 PM
IT MUST BE REAL GUYS

THE UNIVERS IS GONNA ALIGN ON DEC 21 AND MOVE INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION

BUY BATTERIEZ
 
2012-09-30 04:12:15 PM
This SMBC comic really gets to the problem with the patent system (although it does so without realizing it).

Not the after-comic where he snarks about the apple "rounded corners" designed patent, I mean that patent law is filled with "you cannot do X" rules which have been circumvented by good lawyers calling X "Y" and then saying "you never said I couldn't do Y!", making the rules effectively non-existent. For example, you cannot patent "software that does Y" because software isn't really a "thing", it is just an idea... a set of steps to do which don't alter anything (if they altered something physical they would be a method, which is patentable). But you CAN patent "a computer readable medium, containing software that when executed does Y", because a hard drive IS a thing. The entire field of software patents is a technicality, which the Supreme Court hasn't addressed (and even has hinted in oral arguments that they don't like it).

Personally I would argue that programming a general purpose computer to do just about anything is obvious. Because... isn't that the whole damn point of a general purpose computer? If you want a patent... put it on an ASIC.
 
2012-09-30 04:12:25 PM
Good. And could you take copyright out as well while we're at it?

Just because man orders the sun to turn green doesn't mean it going to happen, no matter how much people want it. Likewise, no matter how much we may want to keep information from spreading doesn't change the fact that it's laughably futile attempt to reverse a law of nature. You can't reverse entropy! (you can't even hold it back either...)

Or time, money, and effort as a society would be better spent on other things, such as actually finding new an interesting uses for all that knowledge, which is where the real innovation (and profit!) is usually happening.

/you can keep "Trademark", though - unlike the others, it's not trying to prevent the spread of information
//"Trademark" law is really just a rewording of "fraud" anyway
 
2012-09-30 04:13:14 PM

CruJones: Actually, citing one example of a stupid patent does not itself establish a case for eliminating all patents.

Yes, need adjustments to the system, but eliminating it completely would be harmful to innovation. Why would I waste time inventing something when I know someone else can sell the identical product a week later, without development costs?

This is not an either/or scenario. There is a rational middle ground.


Yes, NO ONE would ever invent anything ever again, just like before the patent system existed. It was horrible back then, nothing ever changed, people would have sudden looks of exuberance yelling "That's it!" and the realized they could never usher their ideas to fruition so they'd follow up muttering "Never mind.". Thank God the patent system just CAME into being because Lord knows it wouldn't have been invented.
 
2012-09-30 04:14:44 PM
 
2012-09-30 04:16:04 PM

Snapper Carr: Perducci: MadSkillz: The Bruce Willis movie was The Fifth Element. No mention of dimension.

Maybe subby means the fine Bruce Willis movie "Buckaroo Banjo"?

I thought that was Remo Wilson.


You move like a pregnant yak.
 
2012-09-30 04:16:04 PM

Nemosomen: Maybe subby meant Loopers?


This is so odd. Every single person I've heard refer to this movie this weekend (at least half a dozen so far) have [incorrectly] called it "Loopers".

I don't get where the urge to pluralize comes from in this case.
 
2012-09-30 04:16:57 PM
Patents were never intended to allow for the patenting if idea, only an implementation. The classic example being you can patent a specific fork (length and angle tines, etc.) but no the idea of a fork. Somewhere we lost our way and the system has become broken to the point of absurdity.

Imagine all those people company's could hire with the money they currently spend attack with, and defending against, patent infringement claims.
 
2012-09-30 04:19:38 PM

Derigiberble: Personally I would argue that programming a general purpose computer to do just about anything is obvious. Because... isn't that the whole damn point of a general purpose computer?


Cool, can you program a computer to teleport me to France? 'Cause it'd be sweet avoiding the long travel time. It's obvious, so I'm sure you can whip that up in a few minutes.

If you want a patent... put it on an ASIC

That's not an arbitrary rule... "You have a hard-coded chip - the method is patentable. Oh, you have a chip that reconfigure itself to do the same thing? The same method, the same exact steps, not patentable."
 
2012-09-30 04:20:17 PM

nmemkha: Patents were never intended to allow for the patenting if idea, only an implementation. The classic example being you can patent a specific fork (length and angle tines, etc.) but no the idea of a fork.


What's the implementation of a process?
 
2012-09-30 04:20:52 PM
All I know is, patent law is hopelessly tilted toward the wealthy. A patent for a simple device can take years and cost thousands of dollars. It costs a lot just to do a patent search to determine if the device is patentable.So, yes, our current system does stifle innovation.*

I suspect the framers of the Constitution would be appalled at what patent law has become.


*So would elimination of patents. There must be a middle ground, as a few of you have said.
 
2012-09-30 04:20:54 PM
So, if i understand subby correctly, the reason we should abandon patents is because sometimes the patent office gives stupid patents.

Also, should we get rid of beer because of budweiser? boobies because of tara reid?

Go back to slashdot with the like minded "anti intellectual property" crowd who nevetheless flagellate you if you violated the GPL.

while OF COURSE intellectual property laws can use reform around the margins and there are serious questions about things like certain software and business method patents, the general anti-IPR crowd on the internet rank with creationists and audiophiles when it comes to willfull self-deceipt and just .. well.. lack of intellectual rigor.. my personal favorite line of argumentation recently was the one that pointed to the thriving generics pharmaceutical industry in India - you know - the one where by law some corrupt bureaucrat decides what appropriate compensation for a national license fee would be and then his brother in law pays this token fee so that he can pump out what are basically plagarized drugs and make millions. as if that's the model that will lead to more pharmaceuticals in the future.
 
2012-09-30 04:22:08 PM

CruJones: Actually, citing one example of a stupid patent does not itself establish a case for eliminating all patents.

Yes, need adjustments to the system, but eliminating it completely would be harmful to innovation. Why would I waste time inventing something when I know someone else can sell the identical product a week later, without development costs?

This is not an either/or scenario. There is a rational middle ground.


There's a term for what you are describing. It's called competition and it's part of the free market.

Why should one company have total control over black rectangles
 
2012-09-30 04:24:42 PM
nmemkha: Patents were never intended to allow for the patenting if idea, only an implementation. The classic example being you can patent a specific fork (length and angle tines, etc.) but no the idea of a fork

Utter nonsense. I don't know where you think learned this, but it's completely wrong. If it weren't wrong, anybody could make a trivial change to a novel invention and the whole idea of patents would be moot. It sounds to me like your supposed "classic example" was something that you misheard in a discussion about trademarks or copyrights.
 
2012-09-30 04:27:13 PM

AssAsInAssassin: All I know is, patent law is hopelessly tilted toward the wealthy. A patent for a simple device can take years and cost thousands of dollars. It costs a lot just to do a patent search to determine if the device is patentable.


Sure, but that's why you don't bother doing such an expensive a patent search first. First, it would cost a nigh-infinite amount of money to be sure you found everything. Second, since they aren't published, you can't find anything filed in the past 18 months. So, the best you can do is say "probably," maybe spend an hour or two searching, and file and wait for the PTO to do their search - which includes all of that recently filed stuff.

Patent law isn't actually hopelessly tilted toward the wealthy. It's not cheap - it costs around $20-30k to get a patent - but it's not as outrageous the way many aspects of the law are. Plus, that $20-30k is over the course of 3-5 years, and since a good patent can be licensed or sold for much more, it's a reasonable investment for a small business owner... particularly one who can't fight competition from giant corporations any other way and doesn't have any real assets beyond his or her ideas.
 
2012-09-30 04:27:31 PM

endosymbiont: endosymbiont: FTFA, "the best solution is to abolish patents entirely [emphasis mine] through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments".

Constitution FAIL.

Also, to clarify my point before anyone flames me: the existence of a patent system is a constitutional measure. No legislative 'other instrument' could abolish patents. Apparently the author of this article as well as the authors of the paragraph being quoted failed high school civics.


Reading Fail.

He says (1) abolish the patent system through constitutional measures and (2) [once the patent system has been so abolished] find other legislative measures to support innovation where needed.
 
2012-09-30 04:31:28 PM
In case anybody's interested, these guys wrote a book laying out their arguments, Against Intellectual Property, which you can download freely (naturally).
 
2012-09-30 04:33:45 PM
Bad_Seed: In case anybody's interested, these guys wrote a book laying out their arguments, Against Intellectual Property, which you can download freely (naturally).

I've read, cover to cover. It really is the "of pandas and people" of the IPR world. boldrine and levine are two of the biggest frauds in academia today.
 
2012-09-30 04:35:28 PM

Bomb Head Mohammed: So, if i understand subby correctly, the reason we should abandon patents is because sometimes the patent office gives stupid patents.


Why is this one a stupid patent? It's certainly novel... No one has ever transmitted information faster than light before. It's definitely non-obvious, for much of the same reasoning.

No, it's invalid under 35 USC 101 because it's not actually useful: it doesn't work. It violates causality. So, the PTO was stupid for ever allowing it.

But wait, a second. If it doesn't work, then no one can ever infringe it, so the guy getting to point at a patent is irrelevant. And if someone could infringe it, then it does work, and the PTO should never have rejected the patent application.
It's a Catch-22... rejecting a patent because the invention doesn't work can only ever be irrelevant or improper. It can't ever be proper and relevant, by definition.

There are several of these patents out there. They're vanity patents - someone gets to hang it on the wall and say how awesome he is, but they're essentially useless. Most of them get abandoned within the first four years by failure to pay the maintenance fee. So why should the USPTO waste tons of money trying to prove that it's a perpetual motion machine? And, realistically, how could they?
 
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