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(Ars Technica)   US Patent office seeks input about reforming software patents, Immediately receives Cease and Desist Order from Apple, which has a patent on reforming patents   (arstechnica.com) divider line 26
    More: Unlikely, USPTO, software patent, Federal Register, plain, injunctions, Silicon Valley  
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2013-01-07 08:38:55 AM
Lower the thing to 3 years
 
2013-01-07 08:44:43 AM

F22raptom: Lower the thing to 0 years


FTFY
 
2013-01-07 08:44:53 AM
Apple has recently patented the fart known as the "squeaker" and renamed it the iFart.
 
2013-01-07 08:51:31 AM

F22raptom: Lower the thing to 3 years Let me sit around, do nothing, and then steal the work of others instead of actually having my own R&D.



FTFY

Now, don't get me wrong - we need reform (on a number of fronts). However, the general concept behind patents is a very useful deal. Innovators get to profit from their ideas, competitors are forced to come up with better mousetraps. If you didn't have that, there's the potential for people to just wait and copy - which would lead to less innovation. I'd say the better focus is what the patent office is looking at. Limit the applicability and vague wording of current patents such that Apple's "sue anyone who makes anything" concept won't work. Set things up to prevent patent-trolling. In today's modern age, it's even possible to look at reducing a patent's duration. Not by some huge amount, but by an amount that better reflects the speed of technological refreshes that are pertinent to that industry.
 
2013-01-07 08:51:52 AM
Abolish them, except maybe for very specific algorithms.
 
2013-01-07 08:54:16 AM
too bad the Turds will never be able to Patent Open Source Software. and that is one of the reasons why open source will win in the end.
 
2013-01-07 08:54:37 AM
They seriously need to change a lot of their bullshiat, companies have now started using it for medications it looks like too by changing just small things will extend their patent for a long time.

Revisit entertainment patent issues as well, tired of seeing record companies best the life out of artists they farked over for years.
 
2013-01-07 08:57:35 AM

BMFPitt: Abolish them, except maybe for very specific algorithms.


Algorithms cannot be patented at all. Calling them "software patents" is a misnomer. They are patents that protect a business process- a route to getting to an end result- that involve software.

My solution: compulsory licensing, like we have with music.
 
2013-01-07 08:59:50 AM
Apparently hindering software development with patents is now considered "promoting the progress of the useful arts"

/science looking oddly like lady GaGa
 
2013-01-07 09:06:49 AM
i104.photobucket.com
 
2013-01-07 09:09:55 AM
Why not treat code as pretty much the same thing as a book or song? seeing as code changes seemingly weekly, that would keep the trolls too busy filing new patents to worry about who is infringing on their 'old' patent by adding a comma or a pause, or a blue box instead of a grey one...

If Ford had been treated the way Apple is being treated, we'd all be driving Fords.
 
2013-01-07 09:10:38 AM
Destroy them, if everything is on the table then it forces people to innovate to keep pulling ahead of the pack. Yes it is hard on business but that is the point.
 
2013-01-07 09:11:25 AM
I had an Apple computer when I was a kid.

Then my dad got a job.
 
2013-01-07 09:15:56 AM

BostonEMT: Why not treat code as pretty much the same thing as a book or song?


Code is protected under copyright. Software patents don't protect the code, they protect the business function.

Let's say I invent an entirely new way of organizing files that replaces the existing tree-based filesystem with something both more performant and easier to use. I write a proof-of-concept version of it, to demonstrate its features. The code in my proof-of-concept is protected by copyright. But my idea of how to better organize files would be protected by patent. This means someone couldn't read my code and reimplement it.

The advantage here is that it allows me to invent something truly novel, tell people how it works (even show them the code that makes it work), but know that if I want to profit off of it, I have a limited monopoly for a duration of time.

Overall, I think there's a social benefit in the idea of software patents. However, the current administration of them by the USPTO is utterly awful. Since defending oneself against patent claims is expensive, even shiatty patents become ammunition to use against the competition. A better review process would help, but honestly, I think attached to every patent should be a fee that goes into a common fund for patent defense. "Yes, we're granting you this patent, but we're going to charge you on a sliding scale, based on a few variables, and put that money into a fund that will help people challenge patents in the courts, just in case we're wrong."
 
2013-01-07 09:16:02 AM

t3knomanser: BMFPitt: Abolish them, except maybe for very specific algorithms.

Algorithms cannot be patented at all. Calling them "software patents" is a misnomer. They are patents that protect a business process- a route to getting to an end result- that involve software.

My solution: compulsory licensing, like we have with music.


"Software patents" is two words. So I'll keep using that.
 
2013-01-07 09:20:07 AM

ronaprhys: F22raptom: Lower the thing to 3 years Let me sit around, do nothing, and then steal the work of others instead of actually having my own R&D.


FTFY

Now, don't get me wrong - we need reform (on a number of fronts). However, the general concept behind patents is a very useful deal. Innovators get to profit from their ideas, competitors are forced to come up with better mousetraps. If you didn't have that, there's the potential for people to just wait and copy - which would lead to less innovation. I'd say the better focus is what the patent office is looking at. Limit the applicability and vague wording of current patents such that Apple's "sue anyone who makes anything" concept won't work. Set things up to prevent patent-trolling. In today's modern age, it's even possible to look at reducing a patent's duration. Not by some huge amount, but by an amount that better reflects the speed of technological refreshes that are pertinent to that industry.


That's a great idea and I believe in it too, but the problem comes from the difficulty in defining things like "innovator" and "idea". A special fabric that's adhesive on one side when hot, repels liquids and always smells like fresh apples? An M4 speedloader you can fill with one hand that automatically points loose rounds in the right direction? A brand of corn that survives all plant killers that would render the ground unsuitable for any other form of life, can feed an entire city with one stalk but can't produce viable seeds? Those are friggin ideas. A squicky-thing the screen does when you poke your finger at it? That's a scène à faire.
 
2013-01-07 09:20:45 AM

steamingpile: They seriously need to change a lot of their bullshiat, companies have now started using it for medications it looks like too by changing just small things will extend their patent for a long time.

Revisit entertainment patent issues as well, tired of seeing record companies best the life out of artists they farked over for years.


A) medications are likely not covered by softward patents. If they are, that is some very creative claim drafting.

B) I have no clue what you are talking about with "entertainment patent".
 
2013-01-07 09:26:15 AM
Just read an interesting abstract that touches on this topic. Book is called The Laws of Disruption, by Larry Downes. Quote from the abstract:

"Current law tries to treat software like a patented product. This doesn't work because of
the speed with which software is developed and becomes obsolete, the nature of software
development, and the way software reuses "prior art," in that new programs are built
on their earlier versions. The U.S. must change its patent laws. This reform must occur
at the legislative level, not in the courts. The patent office is inundated, and the many
software patents being filed add to what are essentially very expensive nuisance suits.
Some companies are "patent trolls," that is, they file patents on everything and anything,
claiming innovations they did not invent nor manufacture."

Makes some good arguments for open software, copyright laws, and privacy protection as well.

/CSB
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-07 09:26:23 AM
I suggested in a much earlier thread, to the extent software is part of an invention the software should be disclosed in source form in the patent application and have no IP protection other than the patent. If you think you're enlightening the world by disclosing your marvelous invention, give it to us in its real form so we may be better enlightened. What is disclosed is typically more a napkin sketch than a blueprint.

Or we could disbar any lawyers who assist in applying for or enforcing software patents and the problem will solve itself in due course.
 
2013-01-07 09:27:29 AM
Dupe from Saturday.
 
2013-01-07 09:30:07 AM
abolishment.
 
2013-01-07 09:30:25 AM
ZAZ: I suggested in a much earlier thread, to the extent software is part of an invention the software should be disclosed in source form in the patent application and have no IP protection other than the patent. If you think you're enlightening the world by disclosing your marvelous invention, give it to us in its real form so we may be better enlightened. What is disclosed is typically more a napkin sketch than a blueprint.

If you can't read a flow chart or pseudocode and need explicit C+ code, then maybe you're not a person of ordinary skill in the art of software design, and are not the proper target for the patent disclosure.

/and more importantly, if the code in the patent is in C+, and you explicitly copy it into C# changing syntax as necessary, are you still infringing or no? What about if you do it in Java? Or Pascal?
 
2013-01-07 09:43:17 AM

F22raptom: Lower the thing to 3 years


Lower it to two technological generations, which depends on how quickly your and other companies create new versions of that product. For, say, a computer operating system, Windows XP would be free of patents, and Windows 7 will be off as soon as they release Windows 8 this year.
 
2013-01-07 09:43:35 AM
As far as software patents go I think t3knomanser has the right idea. Mandatory licensing would protect the original designer while not stifling innovation. Technology is very much an iterative business and the more good ideas that end up in one product the better it is for consumers. Small inventors won't care about mandatory licensing because thats what they end up doing anyway but you'll never get big tech like Apple, Samsung and the like on board. They see patents as a weapon to protect market share and will fight you tooth and nail to keep it.

While they're at it they should take a look at medical patents as well. It makes me ill when pharmaceutical companies want to patent a gene they discovered in case its ever used to treat anything. Patents are for invention NOT DISCOVERY, they come up with a test to detect that gene or a treatment based on it then fine but the gene itself should be off limits.
 
2013-01-07 09:44:23 AM

Ehcks: For, say, a computer operating system, Windows XP would be free of patents, and Windows 7 will be off as soon as they release Windows 8 this year.


Whoops, I mean Vista, not 7.
 
2013-01-07 09:44:51 AM

t3knomanser: BostonEMT: Why not treat code as pretty much the same thing as a book or song?

Code is protected under copyright. Software patents don't protect the code, they protect the business function.


Maybe I'm stuck on comparing these things to something tangible - like a car's engine... multiple engine designs perform the same 'function', but are put together differently... much like different code would perform the same function, but in a different manner.

/THIS is why I'm not into business flow diagrams or coding.
//i hate Visio.
 
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