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(Android Central)   A coalition of companies, led by Google, have asked the Courts to stop upholding purposely vague software patents   (androidcentral.com ) divider line
    More: Hero, software patents, Google, Red Hat, Rackspace, Intuit, amicus brief, coalitions, petitions  
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2626 clicks; posted to Geek » on 10 Dec 2012 at 12:48 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-10 10:08:37 AM  
Many computer-related patent claims just describe an abstract idea at a high level of generality and say to perform it on a computer or over the Internet. Such barebones claims grant exclusive rights over the abstract idea itself, with no limit on how the idea is implemented.

... except that if you don't perform the idea on a computer or over the Internet, you don't infringe.
 
2012-12-10 10:23:18 AM  
Link to the brief, because Subby's source sucks. It's an Amicus Brief in the CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. case.
Better article at TechCrunch.
 
2012-12-10 11:30:37 AM  
Led by Google? Color me suspicious.

If it becomes harder to win one of these cases, deep pocket companies like Google will be able to bury smaller ones by the weigh of their mountains of cash without putting themselves at real risk.
 
2012-12-10 11:51:14 AM  
I think I approve of this honestly. I think patents should be more specific; patent trolling has become too much of an industry. Even if Google's interest in this is not entirely altruistic I think this is a good direction.

/I think
 
2012-12-10 11:57:20 AM  
nothing will come of this
 
2012-12-10 12:05:45 PM  

Elandriel: I think patents should be more specific; patent trolling has become too much of an industry.


Without disagreeing with either statement, they're not related. Patents should be more specific, both as an aid to searching and to reduce litigation costs with disputes over what the meaning of "is" is. Patent trolling is unrelated to that, as it's about income through licensing and litigation, and will continue even if patents become more specific.
Both are worthy avenues for discussion, but addressing one will not resolve the other.
 
2012-12-10 12:16:39 PM  
We'll get patent reform right after we kill all the patent lawyers.
 
2012-12-10 12:29:41 PM  

Theaetetus: Elandriel: I think patents should be more specific; patent trolling has become too much of an industry.

Without disagreeing with either statement, they're not related. Patents should be more specific, both as an aid to searching and to reduce litigation costs with disputes over what the meaning of "is" is. Patent trolling is unrelated to that, as it's about income through licensing and litigation, and will continue even if patents become more specific.
Both are worthy avenues for discussion, but addressing one will not resolve the other.


I dunno, I find that patent trolling regarding things like "online aggregation" or whatever the situation was that Fark got hit with, could be resolved by a bit more stringent standards for patent application. But then I'm not in the industry so more or less armchair quarterbackin' here. I'm probably way off.
 
2012-12-10 12:52:47 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: We'll get patent reform right after we kill all the patent lawyers.


Or maybe after we get patent examiners who don't think adding two numbers to produce a third is worthy of a patent.
 
2012-12-10 12:55:54 PM  
I wish them something like "luck" or "success" over the "internet".
 
2012-12-10 12:59:09 PM  

Elandriel: Theaetetus: Elandriel: I think patents should be more specific; patent trolling has become too much of an industry.

Without disagreeing with either statement, they're not related. Patents should be more specific, both as an aid to searching and to reduce litigation costs with disputes over what the meaning of "is" is. Patent trolling is unrelated to that, as it's about income through licensing and litigation, and will continue even if patents become more specific.
Both are worthy avenues for discussion, but addressing one will not resolve the other.

I dunno, I find that patent trolling regarding things like "online aggregation" or whatever the situation was that Fark got hit with, could be resolved by a bit more stringent standards for patent application. But then I'm not in the industry so more or less armchair quarterbackin' here. I'm probably way off.


Well, again, that's sort of a third issue. Basically, you've got:
1) "The USPTO keeps issuing obvious/not novel patents" - this is a problem about examination quality
2) "The patents are too vague or tough to understand" - this is a problem about the sufficiency of the description
3) "Patent trolls grrrrrrr!" - this is a problem about venues, aggregation of defendants, speculative licensing amounts, the high cost to defend a suit, etc.
and there's also:
4) "Software is just math/an abstract idea/etc." - this one is about whether the most nonobvious, novel, super specific invention by a good and practicing company should still be unpatentable, because of its industry.
5) "Patents last too long in X industry" - computers move so fast, so shouldn't software patents have shorter term? But drugs are slow, so shouldn't they have a longer term? Do we need specific terms for every industry, and for Congress to issue new term guidelines every year?

Part of the problem is that people confuse these issues... So they'll say "patent trolls are bad, because software patents last too long" or "software is just math, so it's all obvious". Even if you tell that to someone who is anti-patent, you come off as a kook. And it's really not going to sway anyone in Congress who is pro-patent.
 
2012-12-10 01:01:56 PM  
IMO a patent holder should be required to maintain a working prototype of their invention in order to hold the patent. Having patents without a product that they're intended to protect does not provide any benefit to anyone.
 
2012-12-10 01:07:58 PM  

Theaetetus: 2) "The patents are too vague or tough to understand" - this is a problem about the sufficiency of the description


There is also the issue, which I think this particular case/brief may be referring to, which isn't vague in the sense of unclear, like you posted here, but vague as in too broad. Such that the patent is for a pretty broad or abstract idea "on a mobile device" or "on the internet". It isn't that such patents are hard to understand or impenetrable, they are the exact opposite, but they are so broad that they cover too many different ways to achieve the same outcome.

IMHO patents should bear some sort of specificity to implementations.
 
2012-12-10 01:09:22 PM  
Speaking as a developer... software patents are bullshiat.
They are the software equivalent of patenting a literary theme or construct. No one would ever agree with patenting a writing method or style. Patenting a programming method is akin to patenting a thesis format or method or writing that induces a certain effect.
 
2012-12-10 01:11:09 PM  

Theaetetus: Link to the brief, because Subby's source sucks. It's an Amicus Brief in the CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. case.
Better article at TechCrunch.


The TechCrunch article IS much better.
 
2012-12-10 01:12:08 PM  

theresnothinglft: IMO a patent holder should be required to maintain a working prototype of their invention in order to hold the patent. Having patents without a product that they're intended to protect does not provide any benefit to anyone.


Well, to offer an opposing view. The purpose of patents are to disclose information that would otherwise be kept secret and to incentivize invention. Assume Alice invents a new widget, and it is great. Alice discloses that invention and gets a patent. Alice decides however she doesn't want to make the thing. Its too much trouble, or she has a pathological fear of factories. Whatever.

At this point you may say that Alice should be prohibited from having that patent. But remember that patents are property - so why shouldnt Alice be able to merely license the invention to others. This is likely what we would all rather, as the invention gets made, Alice gets paid, no problems all around.

However, note that there is a rather anti-american style streak to your initial statement. Imgaine that Alice decides that her widget is in fact terrible, for some non-utilitarian reason. she realizes that it is being used 100% as part of a weapons system, say, and she has moral issues with that. Should she be forced to license her property out? Is not this akin to one landowner looking at the property of another and saying "hrm, i could totally use that land better, so i should be the one who owns it"

Personally, i would figure it was not the end of the world if we instituted types of mandatory licenses for certain industries/invention classes (transforming patents from rights to exclude into rights to revenue) - but it is not so simple to say "you must make X to patent X."
 
2012-12-10 01:13:22 PM  

entropic_existence: There is also the issue, which I think this particular case/brief may be referring to, which isn't vague in the sense of unclear, like you posted here, but vague as in too broad. Such that the patent is for a pretty broad or abstract idea "on a mobile device" or "on the internet". It isn't that such patents are hard to understand or impenetrable, they are the exact opposite, but they are so broad that they cover too many different ways to achieve the same outcome.


That would be covered by issues #1 & #4
 
2012-12-10 01:28:54 PM  

Theaetetus: 5) "Patents last too long in X industry" - computers move so fast, so shouldn't software patents have shorter term? But drugs are slow, so shouldn't they have a longer term? Do we need specific terms for every industry, and for Congress to issue new term guidelines every year?


Whenever possible, the law should be written so as to be event-driven, not calendar-driven, in order to avoid abuses, or "bugs" in the law such as what you describe. For the most part, however, calendar-driven expiration for patents isn't the problem, so much as a proper selection for what event starts and stops the clock. Drug manufacturers should not have the clock started until they can legally sell the drug in the market. Software patents (or copyrights) should also expire at a certain time when the product is abandoned, if properly defined. There will still be those who game the system, but if the system is designed properly, such gamesmanship will be quite obvious, and the necessary PR burden can be applied.

I find it hard to comprehend that we as a society can agree on rules that govern the timing of football and basketball, but can't properly nail down how to implement patent and copyright timing.
 
2012-12-10 01:33:54 PM  

Teiritzamna: Assume Alice invents a new widget, and it is great. Alice discloses that invention and gets a patent. Alice decides however she doesn't want to make the thing. Its too much trouble, or she has a pathological fear of factories. Whatever.


It reads to me like you're conflating two different things. Making something one time in order to gain the patent is very different from making a million of them in a factory. A patent is supposed to be the registering of a real-world embodiment of an idea, not just the idea itself. (I agree that current patent laws do not require a working model, but my opinion is that that should be changed.) Certainly no one should have to set up a manufacturing line in order to be able to patent something. But you should have to build one of them, to prove that it's possible, and to automatically create intellectual borders for that idea.
 
2012-12-10 01:35:35 PM  

Teiritzamna: That would be covered by issues #1 & #4


Not really. Patent law has a fairly specific definition they sue for novel/non-obvious that this doesn't necessarily run afoul of for #1. For #4, this isn't the idea that software is itself is abstract.
 
2012-12-10 01:37:19 PM  

entropic_existence: Theaetetus: 2) "The patents are too vague or tough to understand" - this is a problem about the sufficiency of the description

There is also the issue, which I think this particular case/brief may be referring to, which isn't vague in the sense of unclear, like you posted here, but vague as in too broad.


Totally. This brief is actually more about (4), that software patents are just claiming an abstract idea. Subby's headline is inaccurate (though due to bad journalism in the linked article).

Such that the patent is for a pretty broad or abstract idea "on a mobile device" or "on the internet". It isn't that such patents are hard to understand or impenetrable, they are the exact opposite, but they are so broad that they cover too many different ways to achieve the same outcome.

IMHO patents should bear some sort of specificity to implementations.


They are - mobile devices, or the Internet are both very specific things. But that's really not the issue - it's that the patents are claiming abstract ideas... and that that shouldn't be cured merely by reciting a non-abstract element, such as a mobile device or the Internet.
So, in other words, it's not about the mobile device. This would be patentable:
1. A method, comprising: [concrete idea] executed on a mobile device.
While this would be unpatentable:
2. A method, comprising: [abstract idea] executed on a mobile device.

The distinction isn't in the mobile device part, it's the abstract vs. concrete idea, and Google is saying that the presence of a mobile device doesn't make an abstract idea concrete.

... problem is that no one, including Google, knows how to define an "abstract idea". It's like obscenity... you know it when you see it.
 
2012-12-10 01:38:36 PM  

midigod: It reads to me like you're conflating two different things. Making something one time in order to gain the patent is very different from making a million of them in a factory. A patent is supposed to be the registering of a real-world embodiment of an idea, not just the idea itself. (I agree that current patent laws do not require a working model, but my opinion is that that should be changed.) Certainly no one should have to set up a manufacturing line in order to be able to patent something. But you should have to build one of them, to prove that it's possible, and to automatically create intellectual borders for that idea.


Ah, in other words the patent owner must show that the invention is creatable and provide enough information to enable others to make it?

35 U.S.C. 112
(a) In General.- The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor or joint inventor of carrying out the invention.
 
2012-12-10 01:42:27 PM  

rolladuck: I find it hard to comprehend that we as a society can agree on rules that govern the timing of football and basketball, but can't properly nail down how to implement patent and copyright timing.


Hey, leave copyright out of this one. That's a whole separate issue. The problem there is that all of the interests of copyright owners are aligned in extending copyright. Universal doesn't care about Mickey Mouse. Disney doesn't care about Harry Potter. They all agree on wanting extended protections for their own creations, and are aligned against pirates who want no protection... and all the money of that equation is on one side, which is why you end up with lifetime+70 year terms.

Contrast that with patents... Everyone wants their own patents to be longer, but they also want everyone else's to be shorter. Apple does care about what IBM has patented, because they want access to it. Similarly, Google cares about what Apple has. As a result, all of the interests (and money) are evenly divided, and patent terms have only ever been extended twice - one of which was a negligible extension to comply with an international treaty.
 
2012-12-10 01:44:13 PM  

midigod: Teiritzamna: Assume Alice invents a new widget, and it is great. Alice discloses that invention and gets a patent. Alice decides however she doesn't want to make the thing. Its too much trouble, or she has a pathological fear of factories. Whatever.

It reads to me like you're conflating two different things. Making something one time in order to gain the patent is very different from making a million of them in a factory. A patent is supposed to be the registering of a real-world embodiment of an idea, not just the idea itself. (I agree that current patent laws do not require a working model, but my opinion is that that should be changed.) Certainly no one should have to set up a manufacturing line in order to be able to patent something. But you should have to build one of them, to prove that it's possible, and to automatically create intellectual borders for that idea.


What if I'm a super-brilliant but impoverished physicist working in my garage, and I come up with a way to make cold fusion practical and efficient... but to even make a "small" 1KW reactor will require a few million in materials and deuterium? No patent for me because I'm poor?
 
2012-12-10 01:45:49 PM  

entropic_existence: Not really. Patent law has a fairly specific definition they sue for novel/non-obvious that this doesn't necessarily run afoul of for #1. For #4, this isn't the idea that software is itself is abstract.


Ok i am confused. Not being attacky, but could you unpack further by what you mean under: vague (too broad) other than #1: "it is not a new invention or it would be an invention that is obvious to a person in the industry,"* or #4 "it is an abstract idea and thus unpatentable subject matter regardless of its novelty or embodiment.

*35 U.S.C. 103
** found as a negative implication under 35 U.S.C. 101
 
2012-12-10 01:45:57 PM  

Theaetetus: midigod: Teiritzamna: Assume Alice invents a new widget, and it is great. Alice discloses that invention and gets a patent. Alice decides however she doesn't want to make the thing. Its too much trouble, or she has a pathological fear of factories. Whatever.

It reads to me like you're conflating two different things. Making something one time in order to gain the patent is very different from making a million of them in a factory. A patent is supposed to be the registering of a real-world embodiment of an idea, not just the idea itself. (I agree that current patent laws do not require a working model, but my opinion is that that should be changed.) Certainly no one should have to set up a manufacturing line in order to be able to patent something. But you should have to build one of them, to prove that it's possible, and to automatically create intellectual borders for that idea.

What if I'm a super-brilliant but impoverished physicist working in my garage, and I come up with a way to make cold fusion practical and efficient... but to even make a "small" 1KW reactor will require a few million in materials and deuterium? No patent for me because I'm poor?


Further, as Teiritzamna said, what if I can give you a hundred pages of detailed schematics, a 3D CAD model of the reactor, and affidavits from a dozen engineers and other physicists saying "yeah, I could build this, and yeah, it would work," but I still can't build one for lack of resources?
 
2012-12-10 01:47:50 PM  

Theaetetus: comply with an international treaty.


Also lest we forget, life of the author + 70 in copyright is to get us into compliance with international treaties - which is why i say we need to dismantle the UN.
 
2012-12-10 01:49:47 PM  

entropic_existence: Teiritzamna: That would be covered by issues #1 & #4

Not really. Patent law has a fairly specific definition they sue for novel/non-obvious that this doesn't necessarily run afoul of for #1. For #4, this isn't the idea that software is itself is abstract.


Nah, it's part of #4... As noted above, Google's position in the brief is that "a claimed process that recites an abstract idea is not patent eligible merely because it also recites a specific implementation, element, or field-of-use restriction."
The problem is still "okay, assuming you're right, what's an abstract idea," and "uh, I don't know."
 
2012-12-10 02:00:15 PM  

Teiritzamna: Ok i am confused. Not being attacky, but could you unpack further by what you mean under: vague (too broad) other than #1: "it is not a new invention or it would be an invention that is obvious to a person in the industry,"* or #4 "it is an abstract idea and thus unpatentable subject matter regardless of its novelty or embodiment.


I interpreted his #4 as software is an inherently abstract idea, period. That is something that some people sometimes argue. I wasn't making that claim. But yes it does boil down to abstractness, thats just not how I interpreted (narrowly) that point #4.

Theaetetus: Nah, it's part of #4... As noted above, Google's position in the brief is that "a claimed process that recites an abstract idea is not patent eligible merely because it also recites a specific implementation, element, or field-of-use restriction."
The problem is still "okay, assuming you're right, what's an abstract idea," and "uh, I don't know."


right, but I was interpreting your point #4 more narrowly. It seemed to me you were making the point that some people define software itself as inherently abstract, which is something I would disagree with. If you just meant it as "the abstract problem" then yes my point was about abstractness, mostly anyway.
 
2012-12-10 02:03:48 PM  

entropic_existence: Teiritzamna: Ok i am confused. Not being attacky, but could you unpack further by what you mean under: vague (too broad) other than #1: "it is not a new invention or it would be an invention that is obvious to a person in the industry,"* or #4 "it is an abstract idea and thus unpatentable subject matter regardless of its novelty or embodiment.

I interpreted his #4 as software is an inherently abstract idea, period. That is something that some people sometimes argue. I wasn't making that claim. But yes it does boil down to abstractness, thats just not how I interpreted (narrowly) that point #4.

Theaetetus: Nah, it's part of #4... As noted above, Google's position in the brief is that "a claimed process that recites an abstract idea is not patent eligible merely because it also recites a specific implementation, element, or field-of-use restriction."
The problem is still "okay, assuming you're right, what's an abstract idea," and "uh, I don't know."

right, but I was interpreting your point #4 more narrowly. It seemed to me you were making the point that some people define software itself as inherently abstract, which is something I would disagree with. If you just meant it as "the abstract problem" then yes my point was about abstractness, mostly anyway.


gotcha - cheers
 
2012-12-10 02:05:19 PM  

entropic_existence: right, but I was interpreting your point #4 more narrowly. It seemed to me you were making the point that some people define software itself as inherently abstract, which is something I would disagree with. If you just meant it as "the abstract problem" then yes my point was about abstractness, mostly anyway.


Ah, conceded.
I think there's a huge overlap, but we could certainly split it into:
4.1) "All software is abstract!"
4.2) "WTF is an abstract idea anyway?"
 
2012-12-10 02:07:18 PM  
Oh, and let me add:
6) "This patent is essentially about [known x], and [x] is known, so therefore the patent is obvious." - i.e., the paraphrasing problem.
 
2012-12-10 02:22:08 PM  

Theaetetus: Theaetetus: midigod: Teiritzamna: Assume Alice invents a new widget, and it is great. Alice discloses that invention and gets a patent. Alice decides however she doesn't want to make the thing. Its too much trouble, or she has a pathological fear of factories. Whatever.

It reads to me like you're conflating two different things. Making something one time in order to gain the patent is very different from making a million of them in a factory. A patent is supposed to be the registering of a real-world embodiment of an idea, not just the idea itself. (I agree that current patent laws do not require a working model, but my opinion is that that should be changed.) Certainly no one should have to set up a manufacturing line in order to be able to patent something. But you should have to build one of them, to prove that it's possible, and to automatically create intellectual borders for that idea.

What if I'm a super-brilliant but impoverished physicist working in my garage, and I come up with a way to make cold fusion practical and efficient... but to even make a "small" 1KW reactor will require a few million in materials and deuterium? No patent for me because I'm poor?

Further, as Teiritzamna said, what if I can give you a hundred pages of detailed schematics, a 3D CAD model of the reactor, and affidavits from a dozen engineers and other physicists saying "yeah, I could build this, and yeah, it would work," but I still can't build one for lack of resources?


Uh... how realistic is this hypothetical situation though? There's a definite gap between "should" work and "would" work, and "should" is the best answer you can get.

That said, I guess I have no real answer to your question (at least without thinking about it quite a bit more)
 
2012-12-10 02:25:06 PM  
And to be fair, in my line of work software is pretty much exclusively dealt with through copyright law and licensing not through patent law. Good thing too, because if software development and methods were being dealt with in the same way as they currently are in the mobile/internet sector a lot of advancement would have been severely limited. We wouldn't be where we are today in terms of Genome Sequencing and the advancements it has already made (and will make even bigger impacts down the road) in health related stuff.
 
2012-12-10 02:27:31 PM  
So Google has gone through to make sure they don't have any ridiculous patents like this.... right?
 
2012-12-10 02:37:26 PM  

YoungLochinvar: Theaetetus: Theaetetus: midigod: Teiritzamna: Assume Alice invents a new widget, and it is great. Alice discloses that invention and gets a patent. Alice decides however she doesn't want to make the thing. Its too much trouble, or she has a pathological fear of factories. Whatever.

It reads to me like you're conflating two different things. Making something one time in order to gain the patent is very different from making a million of them in a factory. A patent is supposed to be the registering of a real-world embodiment of an idea, not just the idea itself. (I agree that current patent laws do not require a working model, but my opinion is that that should be changed.) Certainly no one should have to set up a manufacturing line in order to be able to patent something. But you should have to build one of them, to prove that it's possible, and to automatically create intellectual borders for that idea.

What if I'm a super-brilliant but impoverished physicist working in my garage, and I come up with a way to make cold fusion practical and efficient... but to even make a "small" 1KW reactor will require a few million in materials and deuterium? No patent for me because I'm poor?

Further, as Teiritzamna said, what if I can give you a hundred pages of detailed schematics, a 3D CAD model of the reactor, and affidavits from a dozen engineers and other physicists saying "yeah, I could build this, and yeah, it would work," but I still can't build one for lack of resources?

Uh... how realistic is this hypothetical situation though? There's a definite gap between "should" work and "would" work, and "should" is the best answer you can get.

That said, I guess I have no real answer to your question (at least without thinking about it quite a bit more)


Here's the counterpoint... If the invention doesn't work, then you can't possibly infringe it, so who cares if I get a patent? In other words, if I apply for a patent on a specific implementation of cold fusion using whipped cream, a blender, and three pounds of uranium, it's not going to work... but you'd never try to build it, so you won't infringe my patent either.
 
2012-12-10 02:53:31 PM  

ReverendJasen: Speaking as a developer... software patents are bullshiat.
They are the software equivalent of patenting a literary theme or construct. No one would ever agree with patenting a writing method or style. Patenting a programming method is akin to patenting a thesis format or method or writing that induces a certain effect.



Developer here too.  I liken software to a recipe.  Its really no different.  Its just a recipe for someone's computer to follow to "create" something rather than a recipe for someone to "create" chocolate chip cookies.
 
2012-12-10 03:05:58 PM  
My idea was a start and needs some fleshing out then. The first argument against it is the inventor that creates an invention but does not think it is good or otherwise wants to censor it This almost falls flat in my idea unaltered. So long as the inventor has a prototype of the invention he or she can censor it however he or she wants.

The second argument is interesting: The inventor who has an invention idea but lacks the resources to produce a prototype. He should be able to license his invention without worrying about it being stolen. At the same time patent holders who don't produce on their patents are where patent trolling comes from. They wait for others to make a similar invention then troll them out of their money.

A possible addition to my idea is that the prototype clause would not apply to the original inventor until after a set time, maybe 10 years. This is kind of how the current patent law works. It would allow the inventor to license the invention for production.

After that time and if the patent is sold completely then any buyer must produce and maintain a working prototype of the invention described in the patent. They only need to maintain one prototype for the patent to be valid and would have to produce the prototype within a certain time frame of acquiring the patent or the patent reverts to public knowledge and anyone can produce the invention described in it.
 
2012-12-10 03:52:25 PM  

Theaetetus: Many computer-related patent claims just describe an abstract idea at a high level of generality and say to perform it on a computer or over the Internet. Such barebones claims grant exclusive rights over the abstract idea itself, with no limit on how the idea is implemented.

... except that if you don't perform the idea on a computer or over the Internet, you don't infringe.


Methinks you missed the point, perhaps willfully.
 
2012-12-10 03:57:32 PM  

Elandriel: I think I approve of this honestly. I think patents should be more specific; patent trolling has become too much of an industry. Even if Google's interest in this is not entirely altruistic I think this is a good direction.

/I think


Google only entered the patent fray as a mechanism of defense against competitors who were already playing the game. Now they seek a patent every time somebody sneezes, much like Apple and MS. As evidenced by this case, some of these companies...the ones that actually innovate...would really rather just stop that game. It's the companies NOT involved that is more telling.
 
2012-12-10 03:59:54 PM  

SacriliciousBeerSwiller: Theaetetus: Many computer-related patent claims just describe an abstract idea at a high level of generality and say to perform it on a computer or over the Internet. Such barebones claims grant exclusive rights over the abstract idea itself, with no limit on how the idea is implemented.

... except that if you don't perform the idea on a computer or over the Internet, you don't infringe.

Methinks you missed the point, perhaps willfully.


No, my point was that you can't really say "this claim limits use to a computer, with no limit of use!" Google's argument is more nuanced than that crappy quote would show.
 
2012-12-10 04:01:17 PM  
A group consisting of Google, Dell, Facebook, Homeaway, Intuit, Rackspace, Red Hat and Zynga have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals suggesting that courts stop honoring and upholding patents with purposely vague wording.

Some people know a bit about vague...
 
2012-12-10 05:57:25 PM  

Teiritzamna: theresnothinglft: IMO a patent holder should be required to maintain a working prototype of their invention in order to hold the patent. Having patents without a product that they're intended to protect does not provide any benefit to anyone.

Well, to offer an opposing view. The purpose of patents are to disclose information that would otherwise be kept secret and to incentivize invention. Assume Alice invents a new widget, and it is great. Alice discloses that invention and gets a patent. Alice decides however she doesn't want to make the thing. Its too much trouble, or she has a pathological fear of factories. Whatever.

At this point you may say that Alice should be prohibited from having that patent. But remember that patents are property - so why shouldnt Alice be able to merely license the invention to others. This is likely what we would all rather, as the invention gets made, Alice gets paid, no problems all around.

However, note that there is a rather anti-american style streak to your initial statement. Imgaine that Alice decides that her widget is in fact terrible, for some non-utilitarian reason. she realizes that it is being used 100% as part of a weapons system, say, and she has moral issues with that. Should she be forced to license her property out? Is not this akin to one landowner looking at the property of another and saying "hrm, i could totally use that land better, so i should be the one who owns it"

Personally, i would figure it was not the end of the world if we instituted types of mandatory licenses for certain industries/invention classes (transforming patents from rights to exclude into rights to revenue) - but it is not so simple to say "you must make X to patent X."


But if Alice has exclusive control over it, there is no free market forces to keep prices in check. Lets say without the patent she doesn't disclose anything about her invention. But other companies are free to make a competing product, potentially even a better product due to wanting to outsell Alice. This is how the free market works, you cannot have a Capitalist system without a free market filled with open competition. Patents are the anti-thesis to a free market because they provide government enforced monopolies, which have no place in a capitalist system.
 
2012-12-10 05:59:20 PM  

Warlordtrooper: But if Alice has exclusive control over it, there is no free market forces to keep prices in check. Lets say without the patent she doesn't disclose anything about her invention. But other companies are free to make a competing product, potentially even a better product due to wanting to outsell Alice. This is how the free market works, you cannot have a Capitalist system without a free market filled with open competition. Patents are the anti-thesis to a free market because they provide government enforced monopolies, which have no place in a capitalist system.


Good thing we don't have a pure capitalist system then, eh?
 
2012-12-10 05:59:25 PM  
Here is an example from Apple. Claims "an analyzer server for detecting structures in the data, and for linking actions to the detected structures".

It suggests that the analyzer server includes grammars, parsers, string library and string searches. That's like patenting a microprocessor that contains transistors, resistors and capacitors. There is little attempt at describing how to create the analyzer server and the drawings are just a set of 'black box' modules.
 
2012-12-10 06:04:18 PM  

Theaetetus: Warlordtrooper: But if Alice has exclusive control over it, there is no free market forces to keep prices in check. Lets say without the patent she doesn't disclose anything about her invention. But other companies are free to make a competing product, potentially even a better product due to wanting to outsell Alice. This is how the free market works, you cannot have a Capitalist system without a free market filled with open competition. Patents are the anti-thesis to a free market because they provide government enforced monopolies, which have no place in a capitalist system.

Good thing we don't have a pure capitalist system then, eh?


Actually that's a bad thing. Open competition in the free market would solve a lot of problems we have.
 
2012-12-10 06:05:14 PM  

Warlordtrooper: Theaetetus: Warlordtrooper: But if Alice has exclusive control over it, there is no free market forces to keep prices in check. Lets say without the patent she doesn't disclose anything about her invention. But other companies are free to make a competing product, potentially even a better product due to wanting to outsell Alice. This is how the free market works, you cannot have a Capitalist system without a free market filled with open competition. Patents are the anti-thesis to a free market because they provide government enforced monopolies, which have no place in a capitalist system.

Good thing we don't have a pure capitalist system then, eh?

Actually that's a bad thing. Open competition in the free market would solve a lot of problems we have.


isobeldebrujah.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-12-10 06:11:11 PM  

Wrong Trousers: Here is an example from Apple. Claims Described in the abstract as "an analyzer server for detecting structures in the data, and for linking actions to the detected structures".


You have to go to the claims to see what the patent actually covers.

It suggests that the analyzer server includes grammars, parsers, string library and string searches. That's like patenting a microprocessor that contains transistors, resistors and capacitors. There is little attempt at describing how to create the analyzer server and the drawings are just a set of 'black box' modules.

The drawings include flow charts that a programmer can read as a guide to building the analyzer and UI. That's no different than patenting a microprocessor by including a schematic and parts list.
 
2012-12-10 06:26:33 PM  

Warlordtrooper: But if Alice has exclusive control over it, there is no free market forces to keep prices in check. Lets say without the patent she doesn't disclose anything about her invention. But other companies are free to make a competing product, potentially even a better product due to wanting to outsell Alice. This is how the free market works, you cannot have a Capitalist system without a free market filled with open competition. Patents are the anti-thesis to a free market because they provide government enforced monopolies, which have no place in a capitalist system.


Let's try it this way: Imagine that Una is a landowner. She has the best soil in her region. It could grow exceptionally lucrative crops. Una, however prefers to grow pretty flowers and let her dogs run about on the property. In a free market, Mr. Duo, Ms. Tria, and Mr. Quattor can all offer to buy Una's land. And in a free market, Una can refuse to sell. Now if Una goes on an extended vacation to Greece, and Mr. Duo goes onto her land and starts growing crops and makes $1M - when he is sued for Trespass and Unjust Enrichment, he doesn't have a defense that the free market allowed him to do it. Una has a theoretically infinite monopoly on that land, and has therefore the right to exclude, just as Alice has a temporary monopoly on her invention and the same right to exclude.

Now if you want to get rid of that, without going all polemic i must stress that that isn't capitalism. Its the other one.

Also, to be fair, any discussion of IP in a "free market" without the government monopoly part is ludicrous, because Intellectual Property is a non-rivalrous, non-excludable public good, not a market good. Unless you have a monopoly to make it excludable, it has no value and exists as a non-recoverable positive externality. It is akin to discussing the free market w/r/t national defense or flood control, except worse as those goods are at least naturally somewhat excludable.
 
2012-12-10 06:40:57 PM  

Theaetetus: midigod: Teiritzamna: Assume Alice invents a new widget, and it is great. Alice discloses that invention and gets a patent. Alice decides however she doesn't want to make the thing. Its too much trouble, or she has a pathological fear of factories. Whatever.

It reads to me like you're conflating two different things. Making something one time in order to gain the patent is very different from making a million of them in a factory. A patent is supposed to be the registering of a real-world embodiment of an idea, not just the idea itself. (I agree that current patent laws do not require a working model, but my opinion is that that should be changed.) Certainly no one should have to set up a manufacturing line in order to be able to patent something. But you should have to build one of them, to prove that it's possible, and to automatically create intellectual borders for that idea.

What if I'm a super-brilliant but impoverished physicist working in my garage, and I come up with a way to make cold fusion practical and efficient... but to even make a "small" 1KW reactor will require a few million in materials and deuterium? No patent for me because I'm poor?


I was wondering when you were going to pull out either the 'Lone Inventor' or 'Research University' sob stories.

It's bullshiat. It's bullshiat everytime you pull out the 'Wahwah but look what patents are defending. They're defending this imaginary scenario that I'm making up. Totally ignore the fact that more money is currently being spent on Patent settlements than actual Research and Development and pretend that the way the system is currently set up doesn't totally favor uncompetitive transfers of wealth, monopolistic practices, and disservices to the consumer and the market as a whole. Feel PITY for this hypothetical man in his garage. And I'm totally going to ignore the fact that it's a technology that couldn't be created in a garage.'

For farks sake. Start arguing proof, numbers, and benefits. Save your sob stories for closing arguments.
 
2012-12-10 06:48:04 PM  

Theaetetus: Warlordtrooper: Theaetetus: Warlordtrooper: But if Alice has exclusive control over it, there is no free market forces to keep prices in check. Lets say without the patent she doesn't disclose anything about her invention. But other companies are free to make a competing product, potentially even a better product due to wanting to outsell Alice. This is how the free market works, you cannot have a Capitalist system without a free market filled with open competition. Patents are the anti-thesis to a free market because they provide government enforced monopolies, which have no place in a capitalist system.

Good thing we don't have a pure capitalist system then, eh?

Actually that's a bad thing. Open competition in the free market would solve a lot of problems we have.

[isobeldebrujah.files.wordpress.com image 790x416]


Fallacy: Argument et absurdum.

Remind me. If patents lawyers dissapeared tomorrow. And Patent law ceased to exist. Would we continue to make things?
Now, if engineers and scientists dissapeared tomorrow, and there was no more research, would we continue to invent?

Who's the parasite then?
 
2012-12-10 06:51:12 PM  
I also see that the Patent lawyer circlejerk is in full force, trying to convince everybody that the hen house is indeed safe while they've got feathers stuck to their bloody muzzles. Keep on convincing yourself that you're useful. C'mon. Keep at it. Keep farking that bloody chicken.

By the way Thaeteus, you vanished after I started pulling facts about myriad out last patent thread. Got a bit hot, did it?
 
2012-12-10 07:03:28 PM  

Kinek: I was wondering when you were going to pull out either the 'Lone Inventor' or 'Research University' sob stories.

It's bullshiat. It's bullshiat everytime you pull out the 'Wahwah but look what patents are defending. They're defending this imaginary scenario that I'm making up. Totally ignore the fact that more money is currently being spent on Patent settlements than actual Research and Development and pretend that the way the system is currently set up doesn't totally favor uncompetitive transfers of wealth, monopolistic practices, and disservices to the consumer and the market as a whole. Feel PITY for this hypothetical man in his garage. And I'm totally going to ignore the fact that it's a technology that couldn't be created in a garage.'

For farks sake. Start arguing proof, numbers, and benefits. Save your sob stories for closing arguments.


Well, in point of fact he is attempting to explain the rationale behind the law. You are now saying that rationale is no longer convincing in the face of changed circumstances. Which is fine. There is a whole process for changing statutes, and we even get to be a part of that.

In the context of the discussion you have decided to jump in on - the question was whether we should require inventors to produce a fully functioning device prior to the grant of a patent. Now lets use some critical thinking: You claim that the current system is plagued by "uncompetitive transfers of wealth, monopolistic practices, and disservices to the consumer and the market as a whole." Yet how would this proposed rule affect that? the big business players you are unhappy with would just chock this up to another step in the patenting process, whip up a little prototype, and pass those costs on down. At present the enablement prong is rarely a bar to patentability, so it is not that actually making the widget would be much of a harm or speed bump to the big players. However, the smaller guys (and yes, they exist, they are pretty prevalent here in Mass.) would need either debt or a transfer of equity to be able to get the same prototype together.

In the end who is hurt?

Not the big companies.

Not any actual patent troll ( oh no, i need to make 1 widget before i can sue, meh ok).

But what you consider yo be vanishingly rare actual inventors? Their lives just got a little bit worse for no actual benefit. That would be the context of what Theae was saying.
 
2012-12-10 07:04:34 PM  
Patent was supposed to be only for inventions that physically exist. Patent applications were supposed to at least include a diagram of the machine in question, and the patent office often wanted to see a working model. Why isn't sense a common thing at all any more?
 
2012-12-10 07:05:54 PM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: I was wondering when you were going to pull out either the 'Lone Inventor' or 'Research University' sob stories.

It's bullshiat. It's bullshiat everytime you pull out the 'Wahwah but look what patents are defending. They're defending this imaginary scenario that I'm making up. Totally ignore the fact that more money is currently being spent on Patent settlements than actual Research and Development and pretend that the way the system is currently set up doesn't totally favor uncompetitive transfers of wealth, monopolistic practices, and disservices to the consumer and the market as a whole. Feel PITY for this hypothetical man in his garage. And I'm totally going to ignore the fact that it's a technology that couldn't be created in a garage.'

For farks sake. Start arguing proof, numbers, and benefits. Save your sob stories for closing arguments.

Well, in point of fact he is attempting to explain the rationale behind the law. You are now saying that rationale is no longer convincing in the face of changed circumstances. Which is fine. There is a whole process for changing statutes, and we even get to be a part of that.

In the context of the discussion you have decided to jump in on - the question was whether we should require inventors to produce a fully functioning device prior to the grant of a patent. Now lets use some critical thinking: You claim that the current system is plagued by "uncompetitive transfers of wealth, monopolistic practices, and disservices to the consumer and the market as a whole." Yet how would this proposed rule affect that? the big business players you are unhappy with would just chock this up to another step in the patenting process, whip up a little prototype, and pass those costs on down. At present the enablement prong is rarely a bar to patentability, so it is not that actually making the widget would be much of a harm or speed bump to the big players. However, the smaller guys (and yes, they exist, they are pretty pr ...


Sorry. Got a little crazy for a moment. Finals week. Second to last set of finals. Thank fark for that. Lemme see if I can round up some reasonableness and get to it.
 
2012-12-10 07:13:14 PM  

Kinek: I also see that the Patent lawyer circlejerk is in full force, trying to convince everybody that the hen house is indeed safe while they've got feathers stuck to their bloody muzzles. Keep on convincing yourself that you're useful. C'mon. Keep at it. Keep farking that bloody chicken.

By the way Thaeteus, you vanished after I started pulling facts about myriad out last patent thread. Got a bit hot, did it?


If you will notice - I dont think anyone here is saying the system as it stands is great. What i find happens in these threads is generally you have people complaining about the system, but inartfully. people who know what they are talking about, attempt to explain why these arguments are inartful. They are then labeled a shill.

Analogy time: X has a computer, running Win 7. It is failing because of a defect in an AMD chip. X comes onto a thread and begins complaining about stupid microsoft and its crappy products. When Y, who is an expert in computers, attempts to explain it is in fact the chip, X then becings to rant about stupid microsoft chips. Y again notes that no, microsoft has nothing to do with this - it is a totally different problem. X then spends the rest of the thread calling Y a microsoft shill. Thus with most IP threads.

My job is mainly in the breaking of patents. I spend most of my time working to take out patents that should have never been granted. Trust me, i would rather the system be cleaner and my clients would love it if we could easily invalidate tons of rotten grants. Hell, i was educated by a woman who is one of the inventors of the modern fair use doctrine - i favor big public domains and more limited rights. What i don't favor is people making bad legal arguments - its like nails on a blackboard to me (and most attorneys) and so i tend to try to step in and explain why they are bad.
 
2012-12-10 07:15:25 PM  

Theaetetus: YoungLochinvar: Theaetetus: Theaetetus: midigod: Teiritzamna: Assume Alice invents a new widget, and it is great. Alice discloses that invention and gets a patent. Alice decides however she doesn't want to make the thing. Its too much trouble, or she has a pathological fear of factories. Whatever.

It reads to me like you're conflating two different things. Making something one time in order to gain the patent is very different from making a million of them in a factory. A patent is supposed to be the registering of a real-world embodiment of an idea, not just the idea itself. (I agree that current patent laws do not require a working model, but my opinion is that that should be changed.) Certainly no one should have to set up a manufacturing line in order to be able to patent something. But you should have to build one of them, to prove that it's possible, and to automatically create intellectual borders for that idea.

What if I'm a super-brilliant but impoverished physicist working in my garage, and I come up with a way to make cold fusion practical and efficient... but to even make a "small" 1KW reactor will require a few million in materials and deuterium? No patent for me because I'm poor?

Further, as Teiritzamna said, what if I can give you a hundred pages of detailed schematics, a 3D CAD model of the reactor, and affidavits from a dozen engineers and other physicists saying "yeah, I could build this, and yeah, it would work," but I still can't build one for lack of resources?

Uh... how realistic is this hypothetical situation though? There's a definite gap between "should" work and "would" work, and "should" is the best answer you can get.

That said, I guess I have no real answer to your question (at least without thinking about it quite a bit more)

Here's the counterpoint... If the invention doesn't work, then you can't possibly infringe it, so who cares if I get a patent? In other words, if I apply for a patent on a specific implementation ...


Fair enough, and I think I just got caught up in the technicalities of the hypothetical more than anything else.

I guess in a general sense I think the biggest problem (and I don't think it's limited to patents) is that the cost of settlement is just typically so much smaller than litigation. Instead of getting crappy patents quashed, they just become a tax on real innovators. Some can afford it, some can't.

/Not against the patent system in general, just think there are some problems. Want to be clear on that.
 
2012-12-10 07:21:37 PM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: I was wondering when you were going to pull out either the 'Lone Inventor' or 'Research University' sob stories.

It's bullshiat. It's bullshiat everytime you pull out the 'Wahwah but look what patents are defending. They're defending this imaginary scenario that I'm making up. Totally ignore the fact that more money is currently being spent on Patent settlements than actual Research and Development and pretend that the way the system is currently set up doesn't totally favor uncompetitive transfers of wealth, monopolistic practices, and disservices to the consumer and the market as a whole. Feel PITY for this hypothetical man in his garage. And I'm totally going to ignore the fact that it's a technology that couldn't be created in a garage.'

For farks sake. Start arguing proof, numbers, and benefits. Save your sob stories for closing arguments.

Well, in point of fact he is attempting to explain the rationale behind the law. You are now saying that rationale is no longer convincing in the face of changed circumstances. Which is fine. There is a whole process for changing statutes, and we even get to be a part of that.

In the context of the discussion you have decided to jump in on - the question was whether we should require inventors to produce a fully functioning device prior to the grant of a patent. Now lets use some critical thinking: You claim that the current system is plagued by "uncompetitive transfers of wealth, monopolistic practices, and disservices to the consumer and the market as a whole." Yet how would this proposed rule affect that? the big business players you are unhappy with would just chock this up to another step in the patenting process, whip up a little prototype, and pass those costs on down. At present the enablement prong is rarely a bar to patentability, so it is not that actually making the widget would be much of a harm or speed bump to the big players. However, the smaller guys (and yes, they exist, they are pretty pr ...


So the issue of the Laser springs to mind, that whole farking mess.

The issue is this. A lot of the software patents seem to be very non-specific in implementation. For example the Time Machine patent from a few weeks back may have listed a flowchart, but the claims were incredibly vague.

I'm going to assert two things. Ideas, by and large, are fairly easy to come up with. This may seem counter-intuitive, but bear with me. If I have an idea twenty years ago and say 'I would like to put a music player up that allows people to listen to things like the things they have just listened to.' lots of people are going to have ideas like this. Lots and lots. It comes from the experience of having people recommend things like that to them. Record store keepers, etc. Ideas don't spring full formed from nothing. They come from experience. They can spring form nothing, but they do rarely enough to be more of a black swan than anything else. We can't design a system based on black swans.

The second assertion is that execution is difficult. Far more difficult than the initial idea. How do we make a system that allows people to listen to what they've previously listened to. Do we build a database? How do we build the database? How do we weight things. Etc.

Now. I know you're going to say, 'But Kinek, Ideas aren't patentable. You know this, being the reasonably well read, dashing, young person that you are'. And I'll tell you that currently the incentives for patents push for a company to try to patent the broadest, most idealike patent that they can squeeze past the USPTO. Why shouldn't a company want the most exclusive rights? And if you don't need a prototype, then you don't need to be -that- specific.

But. I would do this. Make all patents require much more specificity. You need to put more in there. I should be able to build 95% of something from the instructions alone. No inferences. No skilled in the art. No leaps of logic. I would also Argue for a seperated test. If you have a working prototype, then the conditions and requirements are a little less stringent and that prototype would remain on file with the USPTO, but if you don't have a prototype, then the specificity argument remains. This would allow lone inventors who have a full fleshed idea and have execution (But no prototype) a patent, but would go a long way to solve the vague and nebulousness problem.
 
2012-12-10 07:36:30 PM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: I also see that the Patent lawyer circlejerk is in full force, trying to convince everybody that the hen house is indeed safe while they've got feathers stuck to their bloody muzzles. Keep on convincing yourself that you're useful. C'mon. Keep at it. Keep farking that bloody chicken.

By the way Thaeteus, you vanished after I started pulling facts about myriad out last patent thread. Got a bit hot, did it?

If you will notice - I dont think anyone here is saying the system as it stands is great. What i find happens in these threads is generally you have people complaining about the system, but inartfully. people who know what they are talking about, attempt to explain why these arguments are inartful. They are then labeled a shill.

Analogy time: X has a computer, running Win 7. It is failing because of a defect in an AMD chip. X comes onto a thread and begins complaining about stupid microsoft and its crappy products. When Y, who is an expert in computers, attempts to explain it is in fact the chip, X then becings to rant about stupid microsoft chips. Y again notes that no, microsoft has nothing to do with this - it is a totally different problem. X then spends the rest of the thread calling Y a microsoft shill. Thus with most IP threads.

My job is mainly in the breaking of patents. I spend most of my time working to take out patents that should have never been granted. Trust me, i would rather the system be cleaner and my clients would love it if we could easily invalidate tons of rotten grants. Hell, i was educated by a woman who is one of the inventors of the modern fair use doctrine - i favor big public domains and more limited rights. What i don't favor is people making bad legal arguments - its like nails on a blackboard to me (and most attorneys) and so i tend to try to step in and explain why they are bad.


I have fewer problems with you. But there's an issue with Thaeteus in that thread after thread, I ask for facts and figures that say that Trade Secrets would be uniformly worse than Patents. In fact, that's the bludgeon he uses time after time. It's either 'Trade Secrets', 'Lone Inventor', or 'Research University'. Resorting to the same stories time and time again. Hell, he tried to argue that the Myriad case was reasonably handled. One of the reasons I left my original field and went to another was the overarching shadow of that case.

I'm an economical mind. I don't believe in faith based policy. And by faith based policy, I mean things that aren't supported by facts and figures, and are instead supported by 'Moral', 'Hypothetical', or 'Emotional' arguments.

As it stands now, this is the argument that needs to be made.

Market Cost of Aggregate research > Cost to the market due to patents.

Additionally, not everyone is as well versed in IP law because they have other things to do. My issue is that laws in general have gotten complex. I've heard they make you go to a special school to learn about them, and even then, it takes your whole life to get well enough acquainted with them in one particular area. Not everyone has time for that. But people can have opinions when laws seem not to serve the common good without knowing all the specifics, codes, and regulations. That's the purpose of the law. To serve the common good. I assume that common people can have opinions, and should. And the fact that patents have gotten so jacked up to where it's a commonly held opinion that the patent system -is- jacked up? That says there's a big problem. And one that can't be fixed from within (in my opinion). When was the last time someone got really pissed about bankruptcy law? Okay, this is fark. There's somebody pissed about that somewhere here.
 
2012-12-10 07:45:03 PM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: I was wondering when you were going to pull out either the 'Lone Inventor' or 'Research University' sob stories.

It's bullshiat. It's bullshiat everytime you pull out the 'Wahwah but look what patents are defending. They're defending this imaginary scenario that I'm making up. Totally ignore the fact that more money is currently being spent on Patent settlements than actual Research and Development and pretend that the way the system is currently set up doesn't totally favor uncompetitive transfers of wealth, monopolistic practices, and disservices to the consumer and the market as a whole. Feel PITY for this hypothetical man in his garage. And I'm totally going to ignore the fact that it's a technology that couldn't be created in a garage.'

For farks sake. Start arguing proof, numbers, and benefits. Save your sob stories for closing arguments.

Well, in point of fact he is attempting to explain the rationale behind the law. You are now saying that rationale is no longer convincing in the face of changed circumstances. Which is fine. There is a whole process for changing statutes, and we even get to be a part of that.

In the context of the discussion you have decided to jump in on - the question was whether we should require inventors to produce a fully functioning device prior to the grant of a patent. Now lets use some critical thinking: You claim that the current system is plagued by "uncompetitive transfers of wealth, monopolistic practices, and disservices to the consumer and the market as a whole." Yet how would this proposed rule affect that? the big business players you are unhappy with would just chock this up to another step in the patenting process, whip up a little prototype, and pass those costs on down. At present the enablement prong is rarely a bar to patentability, so it is not that actually making the widget would be much of a harm or speed bump to the big players. However, the smaller guys (and yes, they exist, they are pretty pr ...


I would also argue that the idea of the lone inventor is primarily a myth told by romantic worldview, and that few such people ever existed. Everybody learned somewhere, worked -with- people to create, and stole ideas and concepts from somebody else. Calculus, radio, etc. It's the Great Man theory, told to serve a particular sympathetic agenda.
 
2012-12-10 07:57:11 PM  

Kinek: Additionally, not everyone is as well versed in IP law because they have other things to do. My issue is that laws in general have gotten complex. I've heard they make you go to a special school to learn about them, and even then, it takes your whole life to get well enough acquainted with them in one particular area. Not everyone has time for that. But people can have opinions when laws seem not to serve the common good without knowing all the specifics, codes, and regulations. That's the purpose of the law. To serve the common good. I assume that common people can have opinions, and should. And the fact that patents have gotten so jacked up to where it's a commonly held opinion that the patent system -is- jacked up? That says there's a big problem. And one that can't be fixed from within (in my opinion). When was the last time someone got really pissed about bankruptcy law? Okay, this is fark. There's somebody pissed about that somewhere here.


Oh exactly. I have no problem with people being upset about a system that has some obvious flaws, but there is a tendency for people to get really riled up about X or Y without really knowing whats going on there. I recall, to use another legal example the media coverage and fark threads regarding Wal-Mart v. Dukes, wherein the press fired off headlines that the Supreme Court held that Walmart was too big to be sued, and the threads exploded with legal derp (lerp?) about corporate personhood (which was not only irrelevant, but about which less than 1% of posters even understood), how the supreme court has made companies un-suable, etc. In fact the case was a rather dry discussion of the rules for assembling a class action and how the 9th Cir had played a bit too fast and loose with them, so the class was disbanded and would need to be reformed (substantively the issue was the class was all women employees and they were suing wal-mart management, which included women employees - this is a no-no as a class cannot sue itself). In fact the lawsuit is still going, just with a better formed class.

Put it a different way: everyone these days uses electronics. Everyone is also therefore entitled to an opinion on what they like and don't like, problems with the industry, etc. I know i do. But i also know i don't know enough about the technical specs underlying my phone to just start saying "the problem with this phone is the chip architecture. I know this from the silicon and having seen a lot of phones in my time" And if i came swaggering in making declarative statements about a subject about which i was unversed because, as you say, i have other things to do, i would exp3ect to get schooled by those for whom that subject was what they did.

tl:dr version - Tiers Law: geeks tend to favor knowledge and dislike ignorance. they also tend to specialize. and their hobby is complaining. Therefore, in any given geeky subject, there will be lots of geeks complaining, and a few specialist geeks bemoaning how everyone around them doesn't know what they are talking about.
 
2012-12-10 07:57:46 PM  
Guess they've been losing a few too many of those vague patent battles, lately.
 
2012-12-10 07:59:47 PM  

Kinek: I would also argue that the idea of the lone inventor is primarily a myth told by romantic worldview, and that few such people ever existed. Everybody learned somewhere, worked -with- people to create, and stole ideas and concepts from somebody else. Calculus, radio, etc. It's the Great Man theory, told to serve a particular sympathetic agenda.


see i have seen too many actual inventors to discount it. Did they invent in a vacuum? no. Are they a line scientist working for a big company pumping out patents? usually no as well.

Also, i present one of my favorite patent cases - the salty frog:
 
2012-12-10 08:22:16 PM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: I would also argue that the idea of the lone inventor is primarily a myth told by romantic worldview, and that few such people ever existed. Everybody learned somewhere, worked -with- people to create, and stole ideas and concepts from somebody else. Calculus, radio, etc. It's the Great Man theory, told to serve a particular sympathetic agenda.

see i have seen too many actual inventors to discount it. Did they invent in a vacuum? no. Are they a line scientist working for a big company pumping out patents? usually no as well.

Also, i present one of my favorite patent cases - the salty frog:


I would argue that such an invention, while novel, is still a result of a fairly easy line of thinking, from a biologist's PoV. Salt is a fairly life-limiting chemical. Deer will put lives on the line to get a taste. Why would fish be any different. Such a leap though is interesting, and while I understand the point that you're trying to make, is still a product of its time. From the prior art, we have instances of salt and instances of plastic. It was only a matter of time before somebody combined the two. Now, I understand why this got a patent. I don't like it, but that's not the point. In this particular case, the leap I don't feel was non-obvious. Plastics are useful, and if salt is an attractant, we should be using it. Now, I know that's not how patents work, but this man took previous inventions and combined them. He didn't come up with something completely new in his garage. Which doesn't disprove the whole lone inventor issue.

Also, in this case, I can't get worked up about fishing lures. They just don't seem to be of prime importance to the market. This is probably because I was raised as a fly fisherman, and think bait is an occult mechanism reserved for seaboats.
 
2012-12-10 08:30:11 PM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: Additionally, not everyone is as well versed in IP law because they have other things to do. My issue is that laws in general have gotten complex. I've heard they make you go to a special school to learn about them, and even then, it takes your whole life to get well enough acquainted with them in one particular area. Not everyone has time for that. But people can have opinions when laws seem not to serve the common good without knowing all the specifics, codes, and regulations. That's the purpose of the law. To serve the common good. I assume that common people can have opinions, and should. And the fact that patents have gotten so jacked up to where it's a commonly held opinion that the patent system -is- jacked up? That says there's a big problem. And one that can't be fixed from within (in my opinion). When was the last time someone got really pissed about bankruptcy law? Okay, this is fark. There's somebody pissed about that somewhere here.

Oh exactly. I have no problem with people being upset about a system that has some obvious flaws, but there is a tendency for people to get really riled up about X or Y without really knowing whats going on there. I recall, to use another legal example the media coverage and fark threads regarding Wal-Mart v. Dukes, wherein the press fired off headlines that the Supreme Court held that Walmart was too big to be sued, and the threads exploded with legal derp (lerp?) about corporate personhood (which was not only irrelevant, but about which less than 1% of posters even understood), how the supreme court has made companies un-suable, etc. In fact the case was a rather dry discussion of the rules for assembling a class action and how the 9th Cir had played a bit too fast and loose with them, so the class was disbanded and would need to be reformed (substantively the issue was the class was all women employees and they were suing wal-mart management, which included women employees - this is a no-no as a class cannot sue ...


I try my best to understand every subject matter I talk about. Hence why I either know something, or I tend not to talk about it. I know there's generally nuances behind most things, and that all articles are 90% bullshiat. Hot Topic Science Backround: GMOs. Believe me. I know Tiers law. And I do understand that there's a lot of stupid commentors who mix and match Trademark, copyright, and patent. But the issue I think seems to be that Patent lawyers tend to be highly compensated for their work (I know that's because it requires a hard science degree, and a masters or PhD at that. It has been presented multiple times as an option for me.) . That's strike 1. Patent lawyers are interfering with pet projects and companies. That's strike 2. And the fact that the trade is so arcane that few can understand all the nuances and flavors. Strike 3. It's a confluence of factors that lends itself to internet hate.

Well. And the fact that there seems to be a lot of common sense problems. I sympathize though. Crop scientist, and all the things anybody can ever comment on is 'Monsanto! MONSANTO! MONSANTO!'
 
2012-12-10 09:44:43 PM  

Kinek: Teiritzamna: Kinek: I would also argue that the idea of the lone inventor is primarily a myth told by romantic worldview, and that few such people ever existed. Everybody learned somewhere, worked -with- people to create, and stole ideas and concepts from somebody else. Calculus, radio, etc. It's the Great Man theory, told to serve a particular sympathetic agenda.

see i have seen too many actual inventors to discount it. Did they invent in a vacuum? no. Are they a line scientist working for a big company pumping out patents? usually no as well.

Also, i present one of my favorite patent cases - the salty frog:

I would argue that such an invention, while novel, is still a result of a fairly easy line of thinking, from a biologist's PoV. Salt is a fairly life-limiting chemical. Deer will put lives on the line to get a taste. Why would fish be any different. Such a leap though is interesting, and while I understand the point that you're trying to make, is still a product of its time. From the prior art, we have instances of salt and instances of plastic. It was only a matter of time before somebody combined the two. Now, I understand why this got a patent. I don't like it, but that's not the point. In this particular case, the leap I don't feel was non-obvious. Plastics are useful, and if salt is an attractant, we should be using it. Now, I know that's not how patents work, but this man took previous inventions and combined them. He didn't come up with something completely new in his garage. Which doesn't disprove the whole lone inventor issue.

Also, in this case, I can't get worked up about fishing lures. They just don't seem to be of prime importance to the market. This is probably because I was raised as a fly fisherman, and think bait is an occult mechanism reserved for seaboats.


Well actually i cited it mainly because it involves the words Salty Frog.

However, if you look, the secondary considerations of obviousness were what carried the day in Arkie, specifically that generally the people having skill in the art all thought that a stable plastic lure was impossible and would be folly (heck some thought it would be an explosive combination). Arkie is a pretty good case, i think, of showing how complicated an obviousness determination can be, because our gut feelings and hindsight can really skew the analysis, and of course our attempts to avoid these things can skew it the other way. (not attacking your analysis, btw, just law talking guy woolgathering - note one federal appeals judge is pretty much making your argument).

As to your second point - its one of the rules that unless the law says otherwise, the law should be applied the same way regardless of the "importance" of the case. Now that often doesn't happen, but that is the ideal. Now, I personally think we should seriously consider using the political process to address many of the timing/unpatentable subject matter/industry issues - be it differing laws, patent pools, mandatory licenses, whatever. But until that, i will hope patent law is applied consistently.
 
2012-12-10 10:24:39 PM  

Teiritzamna: Well actually i cited it mainly because it involves the words Salty Frog.


In re Cruciferous Sprout Litigation
 
2012-12-10 10:27:52 PM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: I also see that the Patent lawyer circlejerk is in full force, trying to convince everybody that the hen house is indeed safe while they've got feathers stuck to their bloody muzzles. Keep on convincing yourself that you're useful. C'mon. Keep at it. Keep farking that bloody chicken.

By the way Thaeteus, you vanished after I started pulling facts about myriad out last patent thread. Got a bit hot, did it?


No, Kinek... I had work to do, and frankly, I'm not a life sciences guy. I'm not qualified to opine on the specifics of genetic sequencing you were talking about, and I felt it was better to listen than to interject an uninformed opinion. Y'know, like when you're talking about patent law. ;)
 
2012-12-10 10:32:58 PM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: Teiritzamna: Kinek: I would also argue that the idea of the lone inventor is primarily a myth told by romantic worldview, and that few such people ever existed. Everybody learned somewhere, worked -with- people to create, and stole ideas and concepts from somebody else. Calculus, radio, etc. It's the Great Man theory, told to serve a particular sympathetic agenda.

see i have seen too many actual inventors to discount it. Did they invent in a vacuum? no. Are they a line scientist working for a big company pumping out patents? usually no as well.

Also, i present one of my favorite patent cases - the salty frog:

I would argue that such an invention, while novel, is still a result of a fairly easy line of thinking, from a biologist's PoV. Salt is a fairly life-limiting chemical. Deer will put lives on the line to get a taste. Why would fish be any different. Such a leap though is interesting, and while I understand the point that you're trying to make, is still a product of its time. From the prior art, we have instances of salt and instances of plastic. It was only a matter of time before somebody combined the two. Now, I understand why this got a patent. I don't like it, but that's not the point. In this particular case, the leap I don't feel was non-obvious. Plastics are useful, and if salt is an attractant, we should be using it. Now, I know that's not how patents work, but this man took previous inventions and combined them. He didn't come up with something completely new in his garage. Which doesn't disprove the whole lone inventor issue.

Also, in this case, I can't get worked up about fishing lures. They just don't seem to be of prime importance to the market. This is probably because I was raised as a fly fisherman, and think bait is an occult mechanism reserved for seaboats.

Well actually i cited it mainly because it involves the words Salty Frog.

However, if you look, the secondary considerations of obviousness were what carried the day in Ark ...


I can see the other side of the argument as well. Common wisdom arguments make a lot of sense. And I understand that a lot of these things really come down to point of view.

As for the second part, what makes me an unhappy scientist, and armchair economist is that patent law should be functioning to create the maximum amount of positive externalities in the form of knowledge, with the minimum amount of negative market control in the form of a monopoly. That's what it should be doing. I think one of the things that really needs to be added to the process, and I know it's not going to happen ever, is the cost to the market being weighed against the worth of the patent. Keystone patents that create massive amounts of positive externalities in the form of additional research opportunities kind of thing. I would argue that there are cases where a patent being granted, and a company given exclusive control of something creates so much backlog and inefficiencies in the market that I believe a case should be made for them to be bought off and things placed immediately in the public domain.

This however, is crazy socialist.
 
2012-12-10 10:34:21 PM  

Kinek: with the minimum amount of negative market control in the form of a monopoly


Like, say, a twenty year time limit? :)
 
2012-12-10 10:36:01 PM  

Theaetetus: Teiritzamna: Kinek: I also see that the Patent lawyer circlejerk is in full force, trying to convince everybody that the hen house is indeed safe while they've got feathers stuck to their bloody muzzles. Keep on convincing yourself that you're useful. C'mon. Keep at it. Keep farking that bloody chicken.

By the way Thaeteus, you vanished after I started pulling facts about myriad out last patent thread. Got a bit hot, did it?

No, Kinek... I had work to do, and frankly, I'm not a life sciences guy. I'm not qualified to opine on the specifics of genetic sequencing you were talking about, and I felt it was better to listen than to interject an uninformed opinion. Y'know, like when you're talking about patent law. ;)


I was so disappointed! Rarely do I ever get to talk about patents when it applies to something I know about. It's all tech tech tech.
 
2012-12-10 10:38:19 PM  

Kinek: Theaetetus: Teiritzamna: Kinek: I also see that the Patent lawyer circlejerk is in full force, trying to convince everybody that the hen house is indeed safe while they've got feathers stuck to their bloody muzzles. Keep on convincing yourself that you're useful. C'mon. Keep at it. Keep farking that bloody chicken.

By the way Thaeteus, you vanished after I started pulling facts about myriad out last patent thread. Got a bit hot, did it?

No, Kinek... I had work to do, and frankly, I'm not a life sciences guy. I'm not qualified to opine on the specifics of genetic sequencing you were talking about, and I felt it was better to listen than to interject an uninformed opinion. Y'know, like when you're talking about patent law. ;)

I was so disappointed! Rarely do I ever get to talk about patents when it applies to something I know about. It's all tech tech tech.


Sorry, I'm all tech-tech-tech. Teirit is a biology guy, so bug him. :)
 
2012-12-10 10:41:16 PM  

Theaetetus: Kinek: with the minimum amount of negative market control in the form of a monopoly

Like, say, a twenty year time limit? :)


Here's the thing. We should be negotiating a minimum. That negative market control is Bad. A monopoly in this case is by definition bad. We're not talking about a regulated utility, so in this case, a monopoly is a negative market force. We should be minimizing that force to as little time as is possible, while getting as much knowledge as is possible. Twenty years in some cases, is a lifetime. And control of something for that long of a period creates so much negative market control as to completely outweigh any knowledge gained.

In short, the market gets farked for a pittance. To be paid in twenty equal installments, of one twentieth of a pittance.
 
2012-12-10 10:44:36 PM  

Kinek: Theaetetus: Kinek: with the minimum amount of negative market control in the form of a monopoly

Like, say, a twenty year time limit? :)

Here's the thing. We should be negotiating a minimum. That negative market control is Bad. A monopoly in this case is by definition bad. We're not talking about a regulated utility, so in this case, a monopoly is a negative market force. We should be minimizing that force to as little time as is possible, while getting as much knowledge as is possible. Twenty years in some cases, is a lifetime. And control of something for that long of a period creates so much negative market control as to completely outweigh any knowledge gained.

In short, the market gets farked for a pittance. To be paid in twenty equal installments, of one twentieth of a pittance.


Sure... One way of doing this is requiring maintenance fees. Most patents don't live past the 11.5 year maintenance fee, at least on the tech side. I'd be fine with adding in a 14.5 year and 17.5 year fee, too, at increasing amounts in similar fashion to the current fees. Let the free market decide - if your patent isn't worth paying for an extra few years, then you let it expire. If it is worth it, then who are we to take it away unfairly?
 
2012-12-10 10:51:20 PM  

Kinek: Theaetetus: Kinek: with the minimum amount of negative market control in the form of a monopoly

Like, say, a twenty year time limit? :)

Here's the thing. We should be negotiating a minimum. That negative market control is Bad. A monopoly in this case is by definition bad. We're not talking about a regulated utility, so in this case, a monopoly is a negative market force. We should be minimizing that force to as little time as is possible, while getting as much knowledge as is possible. Twenty years in some cases, is a lifetime. And control of something for that long of a period creates so much negative market control as to completely outweigh any knowledge gained.

In short, the market gets farked for a pittance. To be paid in twenty equal installments, of one twentieth of a pittance.


Kinek: Theaetetus: Kinek: with the minimum amount of negative market control in the form of a monopoly

Like, say, a twenty year time limit? :)

Here's the thing. We should be negotiating a minimum. That negative market control is Bad. A monopoly in this case is by definition bad. We're not talking about a regulated utility, so in this case, a monopoly is a negative market force. We should be minimizing that force to as little time as is possible, while getting as much knowledge as is possible. Twenty years in some cases, is a lifetime. And control of something for that long of a period creates so much negative market control as to completely outweigh any knowledge gained.

In short, the market gets farked for a pittance. To be paid in twenty equal installments, of one twentieth of a pittance.


The problem comes in quantifying harm done by a monopoly, and that's something that's difficult to do even on a singular basis. Much less in the mass that the patent office has to deal with. But the idea is there. A monopoly forces inefficiencies into a market that shouldn't be there in a free market. The question is, is disclosure of your information worth the inefficiencies created? If No, then you don't get a patent. Or you get a shorter patent to even it out.

We need a tailored system. One that assesses the worth of a patent and creates the time period for the monopoly. In the case of the salted fish bobber, this is not a keystone patent and can be given a longer patent period. In the case of things like coding, shorter patents can be given because the inefficiencies created are so very large.
 
2012-12-10 10:54:39 PM  

Kinek: We need a tailored system. One that assesses the worth of a patent and creates the time period for the monopoly. In the case of the salted fish bobber, this is not a keystone patent and can be given a longer patent period. In the case of things like coding, shorter patents can be given because the inefficiencies created are so very large.


Interesting proposal. However, your proposed system necessarily requires assessing the worth at the time of issue, no (doesn't make much sense saying "this patent should have expired three years ago"). Can you always tell what the worth of an invention is immediately?
 
2012-12-10 10:54:48 PM  

Theaetetus: Kinek: Theaetetus: Kinek: with the minimum amount of negative market control in the form of a monopoly

Like, say, a twenty year time limit? :)

Here's the thing. We should be negotiating a minimum. That negative market control is Bad. A monopoly in this case is by definition bad. We're not talking about a regulated utility, so in this case, a monopoly is a negative market force. We should be minimizing that force to as little time as is possible, while getting as much knowledge as is possible. Twenty years in some cases, is a lifetime. And control of something for that long of a period creates so much negative market control as to completely outweigh any knowledge gained.

In short, the market gets farked for a pittance. To be paid in twenty equal installments, of one twentieth of a pittance.

Sure... One way of doing this is requiring maintenance fees. Most patents don't live past the 11.5 year maintenance fee, at least on the tech side. I'd be fine with adding in a 14.5 year and 17.5 year fee, too, at increasing amounts in similar fashion to the current fees. Let the free market decide - if your patent isn't worth paying for an extra few years, then you let it expire. If it is worth it, then who are we to take it away unfairly?


I would argue that that's still too long. And tilts the board toward larger enterprises. We need to be establishing the cost of these things and assigning patent lengths accordingly. If X is costing the market 10 million dollars in inefficiencies, it should get a longer lifespan than something costing the market 100 million in inefficiencies.
 
2012-12-10 11:03:57 PM  

Theaetetus: Kinek: We need a tailored system. One that assesses the worth of a patent and creates the time period for the monopoly. In the case of the salted fish bobber, this is not a keystone patent and can be given a longer patent period. In the case of things like coding, shorter patents can be given because the inefficiencies created are so very large.

Interesting proposal. However, your proposed system necessarily requires assessing the worth at the time of issue, no (doesn't make much sense saying "this patent should have expired three years ago"). Can you always tell what the worth of an invention is immediately?


I personally can't, as I'm neither a statistician, an economist, a patent lawyer, a business person, but simply a crop scientist. However, we can start by seperating markets. That's a start. Different types of things get different lengths. This demarkation of markets will lend itself to corruption as each market tries to argue for it's own special rules. But software should not be treated the same as machinery should not be treated the same as drugs. Each of these things introduces it's own level of inefficiency into the market.

But at it's core, patents should be treated more like harsh bargaining deals. Much more harshly. And the purpose of informing public domain should be re-inforced. This is also the issue with copyright, but I digress. The end objective should be doing as much good while giving away as little as possible. AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.
 
2012-12-10 11:10:43 PM  

Kinek: Theaetetus: Kinek: We need a tailored system. One that assesses the worth of a patent and creates the time period for the monopoly. In the case of the salted fish bobber, this is not a keystone patent and can be given a longer patent period. In the case of things like coding, shorter patents can be given because the inefficiencies created are so very large.

Interesting proposal. However, your proposed system necessarily requires assessing the worth at the time of issue, no (doesn't make much sense saying "this patent should have expired three years ago"). Can you always tell what the worth of an invention is immediately?

I personally can't, as I'm neither a statistician, an economist, a patent lawyer, a business person, but simply a crop scientist. However, we can start by seperating markets. That's a start. Different types of things get different lengths. This demarkation of markets will lend itself to corruption as each market tries to argue for it's own special rules. But software should not be treated the same as machinery should not be treated the same as drugs. Each of these things introduces it's own level of inefficiency into the market.

But at it's core, patents should be treated more like harsh bargaining deals. Much more harshly. And the purpose of informing public domain should be re-inforced. This is also the issue with copyright, but I digress. The end objective should be doing as much good while giving away as little as possible. AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.


I would also argue that this idea is supported by the fact that patents did not become widely hated until there was a wide gap between the value of the inefficiencies created, and the worth of the knowledge obtained. This is most easily seen in Software. Which is why that's the battleground.
 
2012-12-10 11:29:32 PM  

Kinek: I would also argue that this idea is supported by the fact that patents did not become widely hated until there was a wide gap between the value of the inefficiencies created, and the worth of the knowledge obtained. This is most easily seen in Software. Which is why that's the battleground.


I would argue the counter-point that patents are not widely hated. Rather, you're listening to the self-selected group on Slashdot and Fark. :P
 
2012-12-10 11:35:18 PM  

Theaetetus: In re Cruciferous Sprout Litigation


Indeed a fun case. I have cited that so many times - one of the benefits of working for generics.

Sadly i have never been able to cite to salty frog.
 
2012-12-10 11:39:13 PM  

Kinek: I personally can't, as I'm neither a statistician, an economist, a patent lawyer, a business person, but simply a crop scientist


Somehow i hear this in exactly the same tone as "i'm just a country lawyer"

Kinek: The end objective should be doing as much good while giving away as little as possible. AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.


Sounds like my prom night. She was a handsy catholic.
 
2012-12-10 11:42:33 PM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: I personally can't, as I'm neither a statistician, an economist, a patent lawyer, a business person, but simply a crop scientist

Somehow i hear this in exactly the same tone as "i'm just a country lawyer"


I'm just a simple hyperchicken.
 
2012-12-10 11:44:14 PM  
I believe it's patentably ridiculous that you can lose or stall a lawsuit against the maker of a product, and then turn around and sue all the customers for that product. There needs to be some sort of estoppel in play where if a device is found to be de facto noninfringing in one lawsuit, this can be cited to prove all other identical devices are noninfringing. It's stupid to allow thousands of individual lawsuits for HP network scanners or android developers merely because they're too small to defend themselves.
 
2012-12-10 11:45:22 PM  

Sim Tree: I believe it's patentably ridiculous that you can lose or stall a lawsuit against the maker of a product, and then turn around and sue all the customers for that product. There needs to be some sort of estoppel in play where if a device is found to be de facto noninfringing in one lawsuit, this can be cited to prove all other identical devices are noninfringing. It's stupid to allow thousands of individual lawsuits for HP network scanners or android developers merely because they're too small to defend themselves.


There is, "lose" being the key term. If the maker of the product settles, you haven't lost.
 
2012-12-11 12:15:41 AM  

Theaetetus: Sim Tree: I believe it's patentably ridiculous that you can lose or stall a lawsuit against the maker of a product, and then turn around and sue all the customers for that product. There needs to be some sort of estoppel in play where if a device is found to be de facto noninfringing in one lawsuit, this can be cited to prove all other identical devices are noninfringing. It's stupid to allow thousands of individual lawsuits for HP network scanners or android developers merely because they're too small to defend themselves.

There is, "lose" being the key term. If the maker of the product settles, you haven't lost.


I wonder if it would be possible to construct a reverse class action of 'all of the people sued by X' and get the cases joined together to get a factual ruling that the product they use does not infringe X. Recover some of that power in numbers.
 
2012-12-11 12:17:47 AM  

Warlordtrooper: Open competition in the free market would solve a lot of problems we have.


Like the shortage of transplant organs.
 
2012-12-11 09:33:14 AM  

Theaetetus: Teiritzamna: Kinek: I personally can't, as I'm neither a statistician, an economist, a patent lawyer, a business person, but simply a crop scientist

Somehow i hear this in exactly the same tone as "i'm just a country lawyer"

I'm just a simple hyperchicken.


Link

I'm sorry, I thought you was corn.
 
2012-12-11 09:35:30 AM  

Theaetetus: Kinek: I would also argue that this idea is supported by the fact that patents did not become widely hated until there was a wide gap between the value of the inefficiencies created, and the worth of the knowledge obtained. This is most easily seen in Software. Which is why that's the battleground.

I would argue the counter-point that patents are not widely hated. Rather, you're listening to the self-selected group on Slashdot and Fark. :P


Considering the amount of mainstream press the apple and samsung decision got, and the reactions, I'd say there's definitely an image problem.

Your first step to recovery is admitting you have an (image) problem.
 
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