Inventing The Telephone, Independently

from the historical-parallels dept

Ken E. writes "In light of the recent BlackBerry mess, an article about the history of the telephone with interesting historic parallels appeared yesterday at AmericanHeritage.com. Most of us know that Alexander Bell beat Elisha Gray to the patent office by mere hours to claim the patent for the telephone, but did you know that two other inventors can also claim the invention, including Thomas Edison? Similar disputes about independent invention and patent ownership can be found regarding the television, the airplane, and the automobile. Maybe it finally is time to legalize the independent invention defense."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Dan, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 10:30am

    patents

    ..instead, we'll patent 'the act of clicking a button to put something in a cart' and completely stifle innovation...

    *rolleyes*

    i mean really. similar problems make for similar solutions. people shouldn't be rewarded/punished for being independantly intelligent, but not living next door to the patent office.

     

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  2.  
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    dani, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 10:35am

    Re: patents

    this is completely off-subject and maybe a bit of laziness on my part...I apologize...

    Can u people please write your urls in proper format so I don't have to cut & paste?

    Again, I apologize, I just had to ask.

     

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  3.  
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    angry dude, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 11:03am

    techdirt ignorance is amazing !!!


    Have you ever checked a FREE on-line USPTO database where you can find full text for all issued patents and all patent applications (published at 18 months)
    Just go to www.uspto.gov for Christ sake !
    Once you are done with this little exercise, just shut up and never bring up the subject of "independent re-invention of patented or patent-pending invention" again...
    And, by the way, US is still "first-to-invent" country, so all you need to do is to document your invention on a piece of paper and get it notarized, like Gordon Gould did...
    or better yer, file a Provisional Patent application yourself without paying lawyers - it's just 100 bucks, so you can afford it, can't you ?

     

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  4.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 9th, 2006 @ 11:13am

    Re: techdirt ignorance is amazing !!!

    Hmm. You keep calling us ignorant, but we've pointed out before that we know all this. We just think it's problematic.

    Why should independent inventors be forced to search the USPTO before inventing. Doesn't that seem inefficient?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 11:14am

    Re: techdirt ignorance is amazing !!!

    No, it's not inefficient. But the idea that people somehow need permission to innovate is pretty asinine.

     

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  6.  
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    dude, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 11:23am

    Re: angry dude reading comprehension is amazing !!

    What does the USPTO's application publishing schedule have to do with the right to independently invent?

    Second, as any patent searcher or patent lawyer will tell you, doing keyword searches in the USPTO database is not as straight-forward as you'd think. The USPTO itself regularly grants overlapping patents because the language of claims can be so different while describing the same thing.

    Third, none of this is relevant anyway. If I have the natural right to discover, invent, and create, why should I allow the USPTO to restrict that right by forcing me to hire a lawyer to find out if (and how) someone else solved the same problem I'm trying to solve.

    Finally, the fact that a subsequent inventor can hit on the same idea given the same problem space, *INDEPENDENTLY* (that means without knowledge of the first inventor or his invention, for angry dudes who don't understand the word), implies that the invention is obvious to one skilled in the art, and thus the patent is invalid anyway.

     

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  7.  
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    Scott, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 11:27am

    Re: techdirt ignorance is amazing !!!

    You still have problems. If someone living next to a notary comes up with an idea and someone else has to travel in somewhere like Alaska to find one. The closer guy wins proving the system has flaws that people like you do not want to address.

    Also your "look it up" idea requires net access and does not address the fact that some people can not afford the system. They would have to travel(expense/time)to look themselves, or submit with blind hope(losing the $100 if they were outrun), or have someone search(hope they don't miss anything or take too long), showing yet another flaw you do not wish to see.

     

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  8.  
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    Joe Smith, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 11:43am

    Constitution

    The constitution allows granting of patent rights to promote innovation. If major inventions are routinely invented multiple times independently then maybe the current patent system is not contributing to that invention and is in fact stifling progress making it unconstitutional.

     

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  9.  
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    Chris, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 12:13pm

    No Subject Given

    The only real solution, as i think most people realise, is to get rid of patent systems and let the market place decide who's invetion is better.

     

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  10.  
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    angry dude, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 12:25pm

    Re: angry dude reading comprehension is amazing !!

    > If I have the natural right to discover, invent, and create, why should I allow the USPTO to restrict that right by forcing me to hire a lawyer to find out if (and how)
    >someone else solved the same problem I'm trying to solve.
    You are positively an idiot...
    You can discover, invent, re-invent, and create until you
    get sick of it, but you are not allowed to profit from somebody else's earlier documented invention without inventor's permission , that's all...
    If you can think about it a little bit (which I doubt) you will come to the conclusion that this is the way it should be...
    Any other way would be grossly unfair to original creators.
    Patents are all about the right to make money from new inventions, not about your right to create...
    (US patent law is kind of restrictive, but in practise no patent holder goes after the researchers or end users of unlicensed patented tech, only after the manufacturers making large profits...)

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Constitution

    Could you site the article or amendment that specifically relates to the patent office? After a cursory search I could not find it.

     

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  12.  
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    angry dude, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 12:30pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Another retard...
    The market place already decides who's invention is better..
    Patent only decides who profits from those inventions, some corporate piece of shit or you, the original inventor and patent holder.

     

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  13.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 9th, 2006 @ 12:38pm

    Re: angry dude reading comprehension is amazing !!

    Angry dude... why do you always resort to insults? Your arguments would be much more credible if you didn't call everyone ignorant or an idiot. We are trying to discuss this reasonably, and you choose to harm your own credibility by resorting, repeatedly, to personal insults.

    You also seem to like to throw around claims without supporting them.

    For example: "this is the way it should be."

    Why?

    Also, we've gone over this repeatedly, but you continue to focus on patents being a right to make money. That's false. Patents are solely for the sake of promotion the progress of useful sciences...

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    dude, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 12:42pm

    Re: angry dude reading comprehension is amazing !!

    > Any other way would be grossly unfair to original
    > creators.
    > Patents are all about the right to make money from
    > new inventions, not about your right to create...
    > (US patent law is kind of restrictive, but in
    > practise no patent holder goes after the
    > researchers or end users of unlicensed patented
    > tech, only after the manufacturers making large
    > profits...)

    Care to explain to me, then, why I received a cease-and-desist from a patent holder over a not-for-profit, academic-only website I put up a couple of years ago?

    You can call people an idiot all you want, but that doesn't change the essential facts. Patents are a right to exclude EVERYONE from practicing the claims, whether for profit or not.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Constitution

    The section in the constitution dealing with patents is Article I section 8 which says:

    "Section. 8. The Congress shall have Power ...

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

    http://www.constitution.org/constit_.htm

    So if the Patent law, on balance, is not promoting the "progress of science and the useful arts" it may not be constitutionally valid.

     

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  16.  
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    erinol0, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Constitution

    from Article 1, Section 8:

    [Congress has the right:]
    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

    [to angry dude:] too bad that big companies make you sign away rights to any thoughts that occur to you while working for them. So it's a fat lot of good that a patent does the actual inventor.

    -Raj

     

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  17.  
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    angry dude, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Constitution

    >[to angry dude:] too bad that big companies make you sign away rights to any thoughts that occur to you while working for them. So it's a fat lot of good that a patent does the actual inventor.
    That's why I don't work for those big companies and never ever sign any non-compete agreement.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 2:52pm

    No Subject Given

    also the radio, nikoli tesla, and g.marconi both invented it independantly at about the same time marconi got credit first though

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Hero, Mar 10th, 2006 @ 1:45pm

    Re: angry dude reading comprehension is amazing !!

    You can discover, invent, re-invent, and create until you get sick of it, but you are not allowed to profit from somebody else's earlier documented invention without inventor's permission, that's all...
    That's not true.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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