The patent system.
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
04-11-2013, 02:40 PM
RE: The patent system.
(04-11-2013 02:25 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Oh so that "just threw up their hands and stamped everything 'approved' ", must be the reason it actually takes more than two years to get the first action on any patent filed in the US. Of course it does. Yup . Sure.

It took 2 years because they're lazy bureaucrats. But, yes, they just stamped 'approved' with little thought. Consider patent 5,576,951, by Pangea Intellectual Properties see this article. They got a patent for conducting sales over the internet. Yeap, if you sell something on the internet, you've broken their patent. And they were able to collect shitloads of money from all sorts of businesses that didn't have the resources to fight a long, multi-million dollar patent battle. It was only when a bunch of the victims pooled their resources that after a few years they were able to fight it in court and get the patent thrown out.

You're seriously defending the PTO for issuing such a patent? You don't see it as a rubber-stamp 'approved'?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-11-2013, 02:56 PM
RE: The patent system.
My first patent was for laptop security. It involved using trapdoor functions for encryption in a novel fashion. It neither hampered competition nor hindered competition. There were competing products and the research into encryption hasn't slowed.

My latest patents are for methods for managing and moving data on networks. There is plenty of competition and innovation.

Your argument isn't convincing.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Chas's post
04-11-2013, 03:21 PM
RE: The patent system.
I have some problems with the patent system as it is implemented. I don't mind the concept.

The purpose is to encourage innovation by granting people a limited monopoly on some idea for a period of time in exchange for them disclosing details of how it works.

The problems I have:
A: As a patent holder:
1. It's *expensive*. Quite apart from lawyer's fees, the costs of simply registering the patents are high. Not bad for big corporations but not good for small businesses.
2. Once you register the patent, it's *you* who has to bring lawsuits and prove your case in court. You don't get any protection from the patent registration body. I don't see how this could be done differently really, but what it means is again, if you're a small business and you come up with a clever concept, patent it, and someone nicks it, then you've got a big expensive lawsuit on your hands, or you let it go and get no benefit from having the patent.
3. There is no global registry of patents. That means you have to pay for search fees and whatever else goes into it, and make applications in many different countries. Lawyers laugh all the way to the bank. Plus if you don't register the patent in some back-asswards random country, then hey, no worries. We'll just register it there and take your idea.
4. You can't release your product before you patent, otherwise it becomes public domain. Which means not patentable. So you can't test your idea's market potential before spending the money for the patent.
5. Even if you are granted a patent, it can still be rescinded if prior art is found. Reasonable, yeah, but now you've spent a whack of cash. Plus it gives anyone who violates the patent a great means of nailing you if you go after them. It's even possible for you to have ownership of a patent, sue someone, and be counter-sued for violating some patent that is adjudged to have existed previously.
6. Vague language and so forth make the whole process of prosecution *or* defence in patent cases extremely tricky and yeah, once again, it's lawyers who come out on top.
7. Patent law is bloody tricky, as is copyright law. It's more or less impossible to know where you stand without legal advice and even then you can't be 100% sure.

I don't know how true the above points are - I've read a fair amount on them but I'm no lawyer and some of what I said there could be false or otherwise inaccurate. But this is the reason I've got a problem with the system on the patent holder's side.

From the other side... as a software developer it becomes a bit scary because sometimes pretty basic concepts have been patented and you're not sure which side of the law you're on... so you could write your code and some clown could come out of nowhere and demand some hefty license fees - what are you gonna do ? You can't afford a lawsuit...

To me it seems that the only people who gain any great benefit from the patent system as it exists currently are 1. lawyers 2. people who have enough money to pay for legal fees should the patents be violated. Mainly it seems to me like they're used as one more tool in the games big businesses play with each other (a thought due to a friend of mine, oddly enough we were having a similar discussion earlier).

And then you have the phenomenon of patent trolls - companies who buy patents from people who can't defend them and go shake down other businesses by accusing them of violating the patent... scumbags, the lot of 'em.

All in all, I don't like the system as it is. I don't think it achieves it's purpose, I think it just works for big companies mainly. Chas, can you set me straight on any of this stuff - you seem to know your way around the system a bit. I feel like maybe a lot of what I wrote is just me being a touch paranoid... it doesn't feel very solid. But at the same time... I think some of it is legitimate fears...

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-11-2013, 03:23 PM
RE: The patent system.
(04-11-2013 04:12 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  
Quote:My first patent was for laptop security. It involved using trapdoor functions for encryption in a novel fashion. It neither hampered competition nor hindered competition. There were competing products and the research into encryption hasn't slowed.

My latest patents are for methods for managing and moving data on networks. There is plenty of competition and innovation.

Your argument isn't convincing.

Than why do you bother with a patent?

Also, I'm not too familiar with copyright law in relation to software but you might find your code, specifically the unique novel way you've done whatever it is you've done, is covered by copyright law. Much the same as a book is copyrighted because of the certain way the words are aligned.


The patents cover the methods I created which are better than other existing methods. The security was more difficult to circumvent than any that was commercially available at that time.

Copyright does not cover the same things as patents do. I could copyright the look of the GUI, the text of the documentation, etc.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-11-2013, 03:29 PM
RE: The patent system.
(04-11-2013 02:05 PM)frankksj Wrote:  It's perfectly coherent. @earmuffs just assumes you already understand the differences between copyrights and trademarks, which are rather clear-cut and easy to prove, vs. patents, which particularly today are broad, general, vague concepts so it's very difficult to know what even IS an invention, and if it's actually unique and original and patent-able.

"Things which may be patented under present law" and "things which may be copyrighted or trademarked under present law" are not strictly overlapping sets (no matter the jurisdiction).

My question, then, is to the disposition of those things falling in the former but not the latter category.

We might assume he means that the former should be abolished, all its members being then part of the latter or else afforded no protection at all with regards to intellectual property. He didn't specify.

(04-11-2013 02:05 PM)frankksj Wrote:  So the PTO, particularly in the 90's, just threw up its hands and stamped everything 'approved'. And now the courts are left to sort it out and it's a total nightmare that's costing the economy $30 billion just in legal fees. Copyright and trademark are much less frequent, and nearly always simple, clear-cut cases that can be resolved accordingly.

The original theory was that copyright applies to output and patents to method. One might differentiate between flawed impetus and flawed implementation...

... this is my signature!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-11-2013, 03:32 PM
RE: The patent system.
eh ? posts are out of order...

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-11-2013, 03:38 PM
RE: The patent system.
(04-11-2013 04:12 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  Yes because there still needs protection for things like brand image because reputation is very important in business (how the public perceive you. ie: Coke has a reputation of good quality soft drinks.) and if you don't protect brand image than fraudulent people can tarnish someone's brand image and ruin their reputation etc..
Copyright mostly covers intellectual property, artwork, music, literature etc.. which obviously is very important to protect. Without copyright law you could just take someone elses music and sell it as your own.

Without patent law you could just take someone else's audio encoding method and sell it as your own.

(04-11-2013 04:12 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  Where this differs from patent law is in regards to what patent law covers.
Taking a book for example. Copyright law would protect someone's book that they wrote. BUT with patent law I could get a patent on all mystery books for example and so anyone that wanted to write a mystery would have to pay me royalty.
Obviously I couldn't get a patent on a certain style of writing today, but the principles are exactly the same for things people do get patents on.

That's rather fuzzy conflation.

(04-11-2013 04:12 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  Books would be very boring if there was only 1 mystery book ever written.

What I'm saying is that we shouldn't protect the idea such as mystery as a style of writing, we should protect the individuals take on that idea, ie: the mystery book they write.
This way you don't get 1 mystery book because someone's refusing to allow people to write mystery books or is charging too much in royalties. You get many many different takes on the mystery book and the customers than can decide what author they want to spend their money on.

Books is a bit of a shit example, but you get what I mean.

Perhaps.

In your invented example (which you acknowledge is in no way realistic) there is a clear difference. In real life there is often not.

... this is my signature!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-11-2013, 03:39 PM
RE: The patent system.
(04-11-2013 02:56 PM)Chas Wrote:  My first patent was for laptop security. It involved using trapdoor functions for encryption in a novel fashion. It neither hampered competition nor hindered competition. There were competing products and the research into encryption hasn't slowed.

My latest patents are for methods for managing and moving data on networks. There is plenty of competition and innovation.

Your argument isn't convincing.

@Chas, you seem to be forgetting the issue here. The issue is if not having a patent system would have hurt innovation. In other words, were there no patents, would neither you nor anybody else work on this trapdoor function and encryption?

Even if _YOU_ wouldn't work on it were there no patent system, as long as anybody else on the planet WOULD work on it, then the patent system did NOT encourage innovation. Considering that most of the encryption that powers the internet is written by open source coders who hate patents and wouldn't apply for one, I find it highly unlikely that nobody else would have done this were there no patents.

Now, as far as the question of whether it hurts innovation... Probably YOUR patent hasn't hurt innovation because I assume it's not so broad, and (hopefully) you're not such a litigious dick that you're going around suing everybody. So, your patent is, likely, benign. But there are LOTS of patent holders that ARE suing everybody. You ignored my example about PanIP getting a patent on e-commerce. This most definitely did hurt lots of small businesses, and we'll never know what innovations they could have made were they not spending all their resources fighting PanIP.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-11-2013, 03:41 PM
RE: The patent system.
It's one thing to say "there are flaws in the system".

It's another to say, "there are flaws in the system - scrap the whole thing". That's one heck of a leap.

... this is my signature!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-11-2013, 03:45 PM
RE: The patent system.
(04-11-2013 03:39 PM)frankksj Wrote:  
(04-11-2013 02:56 PM)Chas Wrote:  My first patent was for laptop security. It involved using trapdoor functions for encryption in a novel fashion. It neither hampered competition nor hindered competition. There were competing products and the research into encryption hasn't slowed.

My latest patents are for methods for managing and moving data on networks. There is plenty of competition and innovation.

Your argument isn't convincing.

@Chas, you seem to be forgetting the issue here. The issue is if not having a patent system would have hurt innovation. In other words, were there no patents, would neither you nor anybody else work on this trapdoor function and encryption?

Even if _YOU_ wouldn't work on it were there no patent system, as long as anybody else on the planet WOULD work on it, then the patent system did NOT encourage innovation. Considering that most of the encryption that powers the internet is written by open source coders who hate patents and wouldn't apply for one, I find it highly unlikely that nobody else would have done this were there no patents.

I would not have worked on my latest software without patent protection for the novel methodology because the big guys could easily take it and crush me.
And like the security patent, it is not a question of whether anyone else would do it. I don't care whether or not someone else would do it - why would I?

Quote:Now, as far as the question of whether it hurts innovation... Probably YOUR patent hasn't hurt innovation because I assume it's not so broad, and (hopefully) you're not such a litigious dick that you're going around suing everybody. So, your patent is, likely, benign. But there are LOTS of patent holders that ARE suing everybody. You ignored my example about PanIP getting a patent on e-commerce. This most definitely did hurt lots of small businesses, and we'll never know what innovations they could have made were they not spending all their resources fighting PanIP.

One of the flaws of the patent system is the granting of too-broad patents, the e-commerce one being a case in point.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Chas's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: