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  M2M website closes in protest of software patents  (Read 10473 times)
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Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #30 - Posted 2003-08-30 14:35:44 »

Oh, and if you want to take a look at the intellectual property statements for the IETF protocols go here:

http://www.ietf.org/ipr.html

What? Patented IP that you use everyday? Heaven forbid Smiley

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #31 - Posted 2003-08-30 15:07:23 »

Quote

There is a *huge* difference from not wanting people to make binary copies of a produced games (much like one would copy a book), than there is to release the sourcecode for the game, to encourage innovation.


Just a quick note that releasing sourcecode is not akin in any remote way or similar to patents.

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #32 - Posted 2003-08-30 16:40:49 »

Quote

There is a *huge* difference from not wanting people to make binary copies of a produced games (much like one would copy a book), than there is to release the sourcecode for the game, to encourage innovation.

Take Alien Flux, as a very good example. Most of the code is open source (not as in gpl, but still) - Cas often points people to look in the source code for hints how to do stuff. This is a very good thing - it makes people produce better stuff, since they don't have to start from scratch. That said, he ofcourse doesn't want people to steal his sale by copying the product, and redistributing it. Most games out there that are open sourced, have their CODE openend up - not the artwork. Since this is copyrightable in some way.


Sure, but as I pointed out, Cas is looking to make money off his content, not off the technology. Who's to say that some artistically-challenged game developer out there wouldn't be able to create some great new innovative game, if he only had free access to the Image Bank's stock photography inventory. Are image copyrights stifling creativity?

Quote

Yes, but as you said yourself - the problem is that patents are granted, in what seems to be without thought *whatsoever*!
Fix this, (and the longevity) and I'll wager that most wouldn't have problems. But as it stands now - software patents are lame.

I didn't say that patents were granted without thought whatsoever, only that to the press has made it out that way because it fuels outrage and sells papers.  Lame as they may be, they are currently the only protection the independent inventor has.

Quote

Imagine someone in the good old days patented books!! -


If they had patented a process for delivering text in a portable, easy-to-manipulate form (definitely better than that outdated scroll technology!), the statute of limitations (17 years) would have expired by now and the technology would be in the public domain.

What is truly ludicrous IMO is the fact that copyrights are now valid well beyond the conceivable lifespan of the creator, and every few years are extended even further. How do you encourage further creativity in someone who's dead?! If today's copyright laws had been around 400 years ago, you have to pay the Shakepeare Corporation a royalty everytime you staged a performance of "Hamlet".

Quote

Currently we're seeing a core technology of the internet becoming a target of a patent (plugins in browsers). The result? Microsoft and other companies have begun to remove plugins, and redesign its plugin technology (don't know what they'll come up with though). The result? *all* websites using plugins (quite a lot, flash is used very much) will stop working. Is this really a good thing? - I fail to see that.

I think people want to believe that ideas can be patented so that they can feel justified in their outrage. Why shouldn't the person or people who figured out how to implement plugins the way they are currently used be compensated for it? If somone doesn't want to acknowledge the contribution of the inventor, come up with your own plug-in architecture and be on your way. If you think browsers plugins are too similar to other plug-in architectures at the time of their invention, than contest it. If something is widespread, you can guarantee you won't be footing the bill yourself. Contesting patents is a part of the process too.
Quote

If we had 3 years of life on software patents, this wouldn't be a problem at all. But somehow some dickass company/decission process made the patents last 20+ years. "To save the small companies" - yeah, right...


Actually it's 17 years (from date of filing, not of issuance) Given the rate of change in software technology, that may be too long for software patents, and worthy of debate.

Quote

You tell people how to do it, and yet you don't have anything to back it up? If you wanted to license this to the companies, make an implementation - tell how to use the technology, and license it. Make it worthwhile for them to use your implementation instead of rolling their own - ofcourse, this is all history and everybody is always wiser after decisions have been made...


We did have an implementation, if we hadn't we could not have gotten a patent. (point now made how many times?) In fact we had two. One, an animation tool, won an Innovation Award from Computer Graphics World and the other, a games middleware product, was used in the port of Jedi Knight II:Outcast to XBox and GameCube. However, as most of us familiar with Microsoft are aware, having the best product is no automatic guarantee of success.

Quote

My problem with patents, is probably that I am a consumer. I don't care about large corporations, how they make money and what not. What I do want, is the best possible product, best quality for the right price. More competitors make this more true than a monopoly. Patents are a legal monopoly. Nothing more, nothing less.


Copyrights are monopolies as well, by that standard. Why shouldn't I be able to take your photo, book, game, etc, create the highest quality reproduction of it and sell it for profit? If you were forced to compete, not just on the contents of your offering but it's quality wouldn't that make for a better product?  If I can publish my own edition of Alien Flux, wouldn't that force Puppy Games to price the game competitively, offer better product support, fix more bugs, etc, in order to compete with me?

Quote

Getting back to the patent process, as you said yourself: The patent process is flawed. But why the hell do we then use it??? - Fix it, then use it. Patents can have a seriously profound impact on the whole industry! We don't turn on a flawed nuclear reactor do we?
We CAN fix the process, so we should. The last 10 years hasn't seen anyone trying to fix it...


Because eliminating ALL legal protection to independent inventors will only make things worse in the near term. Without patents the ONLY one's who'll make any money off of innovation will be huge corporations, and we all know how innovative big corporations can be...

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #33 - Posted 2003-08-30 16:46:59 »

Quote
Let's just imagine here. We remove ALL patents in the whole world. Would the world break down? Would companies start to break down? No ofcourse not. It would just mean that now ALL companies would have to compete on the same terms. If you have a product that is really ingenious, you just make sure that you're product has the best implementation, and the right price. If you haven't got that, why do you then want to enforce the consumer to pay money for a crappy implementation, just because you're the only one? (assuming that consumers *need* that implementation).

Except companies don't all compete on the same terms. (remember Microsoft?) And there's a lot more to selling a successful product than having the best technology or even the best implementation (Windows?) You're right, eliminating patents wouldn't effect huge companies at all. It would, however, however kill the independent inventor (at least the one's who have to eat) altogether.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #34 - Posted 2003-08-30 16:49:25 »

Quote
I think the point is that obvious, widespread things shouldn't be patented, for instance scrollbars, progressbars, the concept of webportals, browser-plugin-technology, certain website layouts and a lot more. As AThomas and Greg pointed out patents can be useful in their traditional sense.


Any of these things appeared before September, 1986 (scrollbars, progress bars, etc) are currently public domain, so enjoy!

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #35 - Posted 2003-08-30 16:51:27 »

Quote

/me goes off to patent "posting text to an online forum"  Roll Eyes

Too late. Your own posting would represent "prior art" thereby invalidating the "novel" requirement.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #36 - Posted 2003-08-30 16:58:21 »

Quote
I am sorry to hear that Athomas failed to make money off his invention, but that's no excuse to implement a monopolistic system that lets big companies tax all small companies who develop software.


The patent system is the only thing that lets small companies tax big companies for stealing the software they've developed. Big companies don't make their money enforcing patents, and I'm quite sure most would be more than happy to see the entire patent system disabled completely. They'd save millions in attorneys fees every year, and have the best possible terms in any merger/acquisition negotiation. "Sell us your company for pennies on the dollar, or we'll just go off, release our own version of your software and drive you out of the market." In these negotiations, patents are frequently the only bargaining chip the small company has.

EDIT: Patenting is not the only recourse of those who don't want someone else to file a patent for the same work. Defensive publication is the most common, and most effective (and least expensive) means of providing "prior art" which invalidates the "novel" requirement for a patent.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #37 - Posted 2003-08-30 17:12:47 »

Quote
Mind control! I'll just nip down and patent that, then sit back and watch the money roll in in several years time Grin

Hey, once you've got it working....
Quote

The worrying thing is that the requirement of having a working implementation seems to be largly ignored judging by recent US patents Shocked

Can you name a few? I've been through the process a few times and can tell you that IME, not only do you have to have a working implementation, but you have to describe it in enough detail that the average practitioner in your field can implement it as well.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Orangy Tang

JGO Kernel


Medals: 56
Projects: 11


Monkey for a head


« Reply #38 - Posted 2003-08-30 17:37:51 »

Quote
Can you name a few? I've been through the process a few times and can tell you that IME, not only do you have to have a working implementation, but you have to describe it in enough detail that the average practitioner in your field can implement it as well.


There was one a couple of months ago that stuck out somewhat - some sort of hologram thing for projecting images onto a virtual screen. The patent basically covered 'projecting a screen onto a virtual screen of infinate size' yet their fairly crummy implementation seemed fairly flawed and was seriously limited by good old physics and the focal length of their equipment if i remember correctly. Think i've lost the original link though  Embarrassed

In short, their actual patent didn't match their implementation, yet was still granted. It wouldn't bother me too much but the limit of +17 years seems pretty over the top for something as fast moving as computer tech.

[ TriangularPixels.com - Play Growth Spurt, Rescue Squad and Snowman Village ] [ Rebirth - game resource library ]
Offline Markus_Persson

JGO Wizard


Medals: 14
Projects: 19


Mojang Specifications


« Reply #39 - Posted 2003-08-30 17:38:03 »

I'll go out on a limb here and guess that you're pro patents, Athomas? Wink

(Really not trying to troll here. I just like pointing out the obvious. It's funny. =D)



Also, I think I got an extra duke now. =D

Play Minecraft!
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline Markus_Persson

JGO Wizard


Medals: 14
Projects: 19


Mojang Specifications


« Reply #40 - Posted 2003-08-30 17:38:29 »

Aww, I didn't.  Cry


[edit: Oh. Yes, I did. Seems like the limit is 251]

Play Minecraft!
Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #41 - Posted 2003-08-30 17:45:24 »

It's interesting that Greg brings up patents on web technologies since the W3C has solved the problems of patents in standards by only allowing patented technology into central infrastructure if such technology can be implemented freely. In other words, they make patents work in standards by forcing the patent owner to give up their patent rights.

This solution is also used in other industries, such as the aviation industry.

Quote
Copyrights are monopolies as well, by that standard. Why shouldn't I be able to take your photo, book, game, etc, create the highest quality reproduction of it and sell it for profit?

Yes, it is unfair. Neither engineers nor authors are allowed to copy each others expressions, but authors are the only ones prevented from making new expressions based on the engineer's ideas. According to your reasoning, authors seem to need a "creative patent" that gives them the exclusive rights to the ideas behind their books, preventing everyone else from writing books based on those ideas. Such ideas would be  "thou shalt not kill", "love conquers all", "I think, therefore I am", and "radioactive ants attack village".

Quote
The patent system is the only thing that lets small companies tax big companies for stealing the software they've developed.

No, that's what copyright do. Patents lock down the ideas behind the software.

Anyway, I actually think your comparison between patents and copyrights is interesting. Copying the principle of independent discovery from copyright law into patent law would probably solve many of the problems with patents, such as making the non-obviousness criteria self enforcing. It would also be fair since surely you should not have the right to tax me for an idea that we both came up with independently...
Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #42 - Posted 2003-08-30 17:52:46 »

Quote
The worrying thing is that the requirement of having a working implementation seems to be largly ignored judging by recent US patents

This is quite true. I decided not to research a particular field for my master's thesis partly because someone had patented what they thought were the necessary components to make a working implementation of an application in that field.

Now, there is no implementation of that field that has been successful, but the patent author described a basic implementation and had some claims that would probably have to be infringed by any implementation.

Btw, the patented techniques are quite old, but the novelty in the patent is that they are implemented using a computer. The real achievement is to make the AI good enough for this job while the patent claims are on the level of "using a computer to do this". Hopefully the patent will keep the field dead for another 10 years or so until the patent expires, and maybe I will look into it then Smiley
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #43 - Posted 2003-08-30 18:28:31 »

Quote
There was one a couple of months ago that stuck out somewhat - some sort of hologram thing for projecting images onto a virtual screen. The patent basically covered 'projecting a screen onto a virtual screen of infinate size' yet their fairly crummy implementation seemed fairly flawed and was seriously limited by good old physics and the focal length of their equipment if i remember correctly. Think i've lost the original link though  Embarrassed
In short, their actual patent didn't match their implementation, yet was still granted.

If the implementation didn't actually match the patent then it would probably be pretty easy to challenge. Also, a completely different implementation of the idea (one that really worked and was truly useful, for instance) would probably not infringe upon the patent.

The title of a patent will almost always look like:

"A Method for [doing something]"

or

"A System for [doing something]"

What most people see in the media is this:

"So and so has received a patent for [doing something]"

This is what often leads people to the misconclusion that someone has managed to patent the idea of "[doing something]".  However, the key phrase in the title of a patent isn't the "[doing something]" part but the "method" or "system" part. If you have a better method or system for "[doing something]" you're free to do whatever you want with it, provided you can prove that it isn't just cosmetically different from the patented invention. In fact, if you can demonstrate that your method or system is novel and non-obvious in light of the previous invention, you can patent it yourself, and the previous patent holder has no claim over you. One of the reasons patents are publicly available is so that other inventors can see exactly what was done before and develop unique and better solutions.

Quote
It wouldn't bother me too much but the limit of +17 years seems pretty over the top for something as fast moving as computer tech.


This I actually agree with, though I haven't decided for myself what would feel like the "right" duration.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #44 - Posted 2003-08-30 18:47:52 »

Quote
I'll go out on a limb here and guess that you're pro patents, Athomas? Wink

Well, spending several years in the research community before entering the commercial world, has given me a different perspective (not that all research scientists are pro-patents)

I find it amusing when developers talk about patents "stifling innovation" Since when is using someone else's work in your product being innovative? I can understand the concern regarding stifling creativity, but once again, the same can be said for copyrighted material.

To be frank, I've seen very little of what I would call "true" innovation happen within the context of commercial product development (and games are no exception). This isn't to put-down commercial software developers, many of whom are brilliant people. It's just that when you've got 12 - 18 months to release a bug-free, fully documented, feature complete product, you rarely have 2-3 years to tackle any one problem in search of a breakthrough solution. Not that breakthroughs don't happen, it's just that any problem that would take more than a month or two to solve probably won't be addressed.  This is why the biggest innovations you see in software always seem to come from small companies who've usually been working on a solution for years before releasing their first product. True, many of these companies are subsequently bought by large companies, but without patents they'd probably just get stuffed by the big guys.

Quote
Also, I think I got an extra duke now. =D


Congratulations!

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #45 - Posted 2003-08-30 19:07:08 »

Quote
Yes, it is unfair. Neither engineers nor authors are allowed to copy each others expressions, but authors are the only ones prevented from making new expressions based on the engineer's ideas. According to your reasoning, authors seem to need a "creative patent" that gives them the exclusive rights to the ideas behind their books, preventing everyone else from writing books based on those ideas. Such ideas would be  "thou shalt not kill", "love conquers all", "I think, therefore I am", and "radioactive ants attack village".

Patents lock down the ideas behind the software.


Once again, this is a common, but wholly incorrect, misconception regarding patents. Engineer's have no legal claim whatsoever to the ideas behind their work. The idea of "browsing the web" or "creating seamless transitions between animations" is nor more patentable than the idea of having "radioactive ants attack village" is copyrightable. What is patentable is the specific method or system for "browsing the web" or "creating seamless transitions between animations" just as what is copyrightable is the specific book in which "radioactive ant attack village". If I develop a unique system for "browsing the web" or method for "creating seamless transitions between animations" then I'm not infringing on anyone's patent, just as I would not be infringing on anyone's copyright by writing my own "radioactive ants attack village story"  If however my method or system is merely cosmetically different (say I wrote it in Java rather than in C) then I am infringing, just as I would if I took your story and merely changed the names, or presented it in a different form (say as a screenplay)

Quote
Anyway, I actually think your comparison between patents and copyrights is interesting. Copying the principle of independent discovery from copyright law into patent law would probably solve many of the problems with patents, such as making the non-obviousness criteria self enforcing. It would also be fair since surely you should not have the right to tax me for an idea that we both came up with independently...

Leaving the "idea" part off for a moment, I don't entirely disagree with you. The problem is that this is extremely difficult to enforce. Given the degree of communication in the industry, you could really only extend this to offer protection to those who could claim to have come upon the same solution prior to the disclosure of the patented technology.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #46 - Posted 2003-08-30 19:25:13 »

Quote
This is quite true. I decided not to research a particular field for my master's thesis partly because someone had patented what they thought were the necessary components to make a working implementation of an application in that field.

Now, there is no implementation of that field that has been successful, but the patent author described a basic implementation and had some claims that would probably have to be infringed by any implementation.


IOW, they were, in fact, the necessary components to making a working implementation of an application in the field. As long as the components do what they're supposed to in a novel and non-obvious way than that's what patents are for.

Quote
Btw, the patented techniques are quite old, but the novelty in the patent is that they are implemented using a computer. The real achievement is to make the AI good enough for this job while the patent claims are on the level of "using a computer to do this". Hopefully the patent will keep the field dead for another 10 years or so until the patent expires, and maybe I will look into it then Smiley


Without knowing the specifics of the patent you're refering to I will say that from my own perspective the "using a computer" to execute an existing process strikes me as "obvious" though that's my opinion and not necessarily the opinion of the patent office. However. if the specific method for implementing these techniques on a computer was novel, non-obvious and useful, then that process should be patentable, and some other process for implementing the same techniques would probably not infringe.

Just to be clear non-obvious doesn't mean no one had thought of it before. (That's what novel means) Just because I didn't implement some set of known techniques using a computer, perhaps because I didn't have a computer or had no personal need for a computerized version of the techniques, doesn't mean the solution for implementing those techniques on the computer wouldn't be obvious if I had.

BTW: The non-obvious requirement is one of the main reasons patents get rescinded.

Also: Using a patented technology as the basis for your Master's Thesis would not have made you vulnerable to litigation. However, developing a commercial product based on your thesis and selling it without a license agreement with the patent holder probably would.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Orangy Tang

JGO Kernel


Medals: 56
Projects: 11


Monkey for a head


« Reply #47 - Posted 2003-08-30 19:27:04 »

Quote

though I haven't decided for myself what would feel like the "right" duration.


So I start by saying '3 years!', you reply with a bid for 15 years, then eventually we haggle it down to a nice power-of-two number that is 8 years.

Just see how much time we could save the EU Grin

/me nips off to patent a haggling system where only one person is involved Wink

[ TriangularPixels.com - Play Growth Spurt, Rescue Squad and Snowman Village ] [ Rebirth - game resource library ]
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #48 - Posted 2003-08-30 19:39:19 »

Quote
So I start by saying '3 years!', you reply with a bid for 15 years, then eventually we haggle it down to a nice power-of-two number that is 8 years.
Just see how much time we could save the EU Grin

The closest number I've come up with is 7 years. It's probably somewhere between 5 and 8.

Quote
/me Orangy Tang nips off to patent a haggling system where only one person is involved Wink


You blew it! You just disclosed before filing, so you're out of luck! Of course, it probably wouldn't satisfy the "usefulness" requirement  anyway. Wink

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Mark Thornton

Senior Member





« Reply #49 - Posted 2003-08-30 20:12:19 »

Quote

You blew it! You just disclosed before filing, so you're out of luck! Of course, it probably wouldn't satisfy the "usefulness" requirement  anyway. Wink

Doesn't the US (but not the EU) allow filling up to 12 months after disclosure? I think this difference lost IBM a European patent on high temperature super conductors.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #50 - Posted 2003-08-30 21:23:00 »

Quote

Doesn't the US (but not the EU) allow filling up to 12 months after disclosure? I think this difference lost IBM a European patent on high temperature super conductors.

I thought it was the other way round, but you may be right. Alright Orangy Tang, get crackin' on the "system for one person haggling" filing! Smiley

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #51 - Posted 2003-08-30 22:37:49 »

Quote

The closest number I've come up with is 7 years. It's probably somewhere between 5 and 8.


You blew it! You just disclosed before filing, so you're out of luck! Of course, it probably wouldn't satisfy the "usefulness" requirement  anyway. Wink


With the speed that the world has advanced I've been looking at 5-8 years as a reasonable amount of time for a patent to be out there. It gives the author a fair chance to make some money, and it patent doesn't stay out there for an extensive amount of time. If you can't capitalize on a patent in 5-8 years - that's your fault.

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline Matzon

JGO Knight


Medals: 19
Projects: 1


I'm gonna wring your pants!


« Reply #52 - Posted 2003-08-30 22:53:11 »

Quote
If the implementation didn't actually match the patent then it would probably be pretty easy to challenge.
And here all the problems begin. How do I know that my work hasn't been patented? Who pays my independent developer time/money for challeging a patent?

What I fail to see, is that we've had *many* years of innovation and research WITHOUT patents (even copyright, service marks, trade marks and so forth). Yet now people argue that without patents we'll be frozen in ice for the rest of humanity...

Take any technology you're fond of, and ask yourself - would humanity (yes, humanity) be better of by one controlling force of that technology. I have yet to find one that I can answer yes to.

Regarding the link to IETF's list of patents, those I found relevant all said that they allowed implementations, without royalty. In effect rendering the effect of that patent void (royalty wise). But it still doesn't change the point, if the Internet core technologies had been patented (and enforced) , it wouldn't have been as widespread?

Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #53 - Posted 2003-08-31 01:34:30 »

Quote
Once again, this is a common, but wholly incorrect, misconception regarding patents. Engineer's have no legal claim whatsoever to the ideas behind their work.

The border between ideas and expression is a sliding scale and engineers do at least have more rights over something a lot closer to the "pure ideas" than authors do, since both groups have copyrights but only engineers get to patent their ideas.

I guess patents managed to get implemented because people at the time did not truly understand technology's effect on politics and society. People do seem to be a bit more careful with business method patents as they can easily see that it might not be good for society if McDonald's would have been able to tax or shut down Burger King for two decades. I guess they are even more opposed to patents on philosophical and political ideas, such as the ones expressed by authors, but I bet you could build a "creative patent" if you just limited to a monopoly on "unimportant entertainment ideas", such as plots, gameplay, controlling idea etc. Still, I think all are basicly bad and I am happy to see that people try to affect the politics that surround them.

Quote
However. if the specific method for implementing these techniques on a computer was novel, non-obvious and useful, then that process should be patentable, and some other process for implementing the same techniques would probably not infringe.

Well, the true invention in the field would be to replace the human with an AI but the patent's claims are not centered around building a clever AI. The claims are really more a translation of the human bookkeeping tasks, that others have described in human terminlogy, to computer terminology. That is, "write this down on a list" gets translated into a part of a patent claim that says "method for using a computer memory, create a data structure in the computer memory, store this information in the data structure".

Quote
Just because I didn't implement some set of known techniques using a computer, perhaps because I didn't have a computer or had no personal need for a computerized version of the techniques, doesn't mean the solution for implementing those techniques on the computer wouldn't be obvious if I had.

Well, to a small developer or, as in my case, student it matters little whether the patent is valid or completely frivolous (and I do suspect that it could be successfully challenged based on either prior art or perhaps non-obviousness, but I am not certain as I am no patent lawyer). When something gets by the patent examiners it is often too costly and too risky to challenge for anyone but big companies.

Some businesses' whole strategies are centered around forcing smaller companies to license overly broad patents because the license is cheaper than the legal costs.
Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #54 - Posted 2003-08-31 03:12:04 »

Quote


Regarding the link to IETF's list of patents, those I found relevant all said that they allowed implementations, without royalty. In effect rendering the effect of that patent void (royalty wise). But it still doesn't change the point, if the Internet core technologies had been patented (and enforced) , it wouldn't have been as widespread?


Macromedia holds a metric ass-load of patents involving vector graphics for Flash and its the most used display technology on the web second only to HTML itself. Microsoft holds an obscene number of patents and PCs are all over the place. Windows Media Player, Quicktime, and Real Player all have patents associated with them yet they are collectively widely adopted. My optical mouse  has patents associated with it, as does my Tivo. There are an incredible number of patents with MP3 and MP4 and they are widespread as well - so I have yet to see how the mere presence of patents somehow decreases the adoption of something.

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline Matzon

JGO Knight


Medals: 19
Projects: 1


I'm gonna wring your pants!


« Reply #55 - Posted 2003-08-31 09:49:15 »

Quote
Macromedia holds a metric ass-load of patents involving vector graphics for Flash and its the most used display technology on the web second only to HTML itself. Microsoft holds an obscene number of patents and PCs are all over the place. Windows Media Player, Quicktime, and Real Player all have patents associated with them yet they are collectively widely adopted. My optical mouse  has patents associated with it, as does my Tivo. There are an incredible number of patents with MP3 and MP4 and they are widespread as well - so I have yet to see how the mere presence of patents somehow decreases the adoption of something.


Ahh, but all of those technologies, are in effect free for consumers, thus the consumer (who doesn't care about patents) will just use whatever technology is installed on a computer. 90% of all Windows desktops have Flash, Windows Media Player and MP3 players installed. Thats why that particular implementation is widespread. Not because it is the best of breed (IMO).

Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #56 - Posted 2003-08-31 10:06:41 »

About Flash and other web plugins, like the Java plugin. I wonder how this patent will affect them, at least Microsoft are big enough to be able to defend themselves.
Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #57 - Posted 2003-08-31 16:01:13 »

The ones that need to license the patent will license it, pay royalties and move on with making money Smiley Either that or they will come up with another implementation of plugins as some have and move on.

Its always funny how the press says 'browser plugins' and doesn't list the patent number which would allow people to see how far reaching the patent really is.

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #58 - Posted 2003-08-31 21:21:03 »

Quote
The ones that need to license the patent will license it, pay royalties and move on with making money

That really makes me feel really comfortable considering that I'm posting this from Mozilla. Luckily I don't develop browser-based Java applications though so I won't miss not having the Java plugin.

Hopefully they can keep this kind of crap out of EU law, but I must admit that I am not holding my breath for it to happen. Contrary to what Athomas said, big companies are the ones pushing for patents (Microsoft, Sun, IBM, Nokia, Siemens, Matsushita, Philips etc.), and politicians tend to listen to the big existing bucks rather than to the potential growth bucks that the patents may stifle.

Anyway, I'm not blaming the big companies for doing what they do. Several of them got big by focusing on some niche in a market dominated by one big player that did everything for everyone but few things really well. It is understandable that they would like to lock down their whole fields to keep smaller players from doing the same to them now that they have gotten established and comfortable. However, I do blame the politicans that go along with it.
Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #59 - Posted 2003-09-04 03:53:02 »

Quote

That really makes me feel really comfortable considering that I'm posting this from Mozilla. Luckily I don't develop browser-based Java applications though so I won't miss not having the Java plugin.


Well I had projects which use IE, Flash, Java, and Director and notice that I lose no sleep at all about this. The companies that need to pay royalities will - and I as a developer don't have to worry about that just like I don't worry about the patents involved in OpenGL.

Quote

Hopefully they can keep this kind of crap out of EU law, but I must admit that I am not holding my breath for it to happen. Contrary to what Athomas said, big companies are the ones pushing for patents (Microsoft, Sun, IBM, Nokia, Siemens, Matsushita, Philips etc.), and politicians tend to listen to the big existing bucks rather than to the potential growth bucks that the patents may stifle.

Anyway, I'm not blaming the big companies for doing what they do. Several of them got big by focusing on some niche in a market dominated by one big player that did everything for everyone but few things really well. It is understandable that they would like to lock down their whole fields to keep smaller players from doing the same to them now that they have gotten established and comfortable. However, I do blame the politicans that go along with it.


All of the big companies were once small companies and there are plenty of small companies who will one day be big companies. I still have yet to see any credible argument for how patents stiffle innovation personally. From everything I've studied in business school the opposite seems to be true as companies that want to compete in stagnant market spaces (the only time business really run into problems) end up coming up with a NEW and INNOVATIVE way to do something to get around someone elses patent and many times end up doing things better than they were being done before.

Considering how long we've been advancing WITH patents, I find it very hard to accept that patents are stiffling anyone except for those trying to build IP by simply utilizing someone elses IP as Microsoft has done. If there are small business out there that are being stiffled by patents - I'd like to see them because at the rate that new companies are being created all the time you'd think that if patents were stopping people from doing anything that that number would be trivially small.

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
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