You Shouldn't Have To Hire A Patent Lawyer Before You Can Innovate

from the predictability dept

One of the persistent themes I noticed at Wednesday's patent conference at the Brookings Institution is that most of the lawyers seemed to assume that if the legal system ultimately reaches the right conclusion—invalidating a bad patent, say—that this means that the patent system is working well. Some panelists suggested that the Bilski decision, which struck down one particularly egregious "business method" patent, shows that there's not really a problem, because the courts are recognizing the problems with bad patents and correcting them. They seemed not to fully appreciate how slow and expensive the legal system is. One only has to think back to the great BlackBerry showdown to see that having the legal system eventually invalidate a bad patent may not be good enough. Even if the law is on the side of an accused patent infringer, the time, expense, and uncertainty of litigation can kill the firm before its rights can be vindicated in court.

I think the right way to think about patent reform is not whether the courts eventually reach the right result, but whether the system is predictable enough that you can tell in advance what the law requires, without hiring a patent lawyer. After all, this is how well-designed property rights systems work. I didn't need to hire a property lawyer to tell me who owns the apartment I'm living in—the rules of real property are predictable enough that I could figure it out on my own. The vast majority of property transactions are the same way—lawyers only get involved in exceptional cases that involve large sums of money or tricky legal issues. By the same token, if we're going to have patents on software (or in any other industry), they should be few enough and clear enough that a smart entrepreneur can figure out in advance, without the help of a lawyer, which patents he needs to license. If our current patent system isn't living up to that standard, the solution isn't to come up with ever-more-complex legal doctrines trying to separate the "good" vague patents from the bad ones. Rather, the solution is to restrict patenting to those fields where it's possible to make things clear and predictable. If that's not possible in some industry (and I suspect it's not in software), then that's a sign that patents aren't an effective way to promote innovation in that industry.



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    Michael Goodfellow, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 7:31pm

    Is it even possible to obey patent law?

    Sitting at my desk writing software, is it even possible for me to know in practice that I'm breaking the law? I can't research every thought that occurs to me against a patent database. An engineer can't read a lot of patents anyway -- they've been recast in legalese and are amazingly broad and vague. Not to mention you'd never have time to do any work.

    And even if you did magically look at all patents and all claims and know in your heart that you had a new idea, there's no way you could be sure the legal system would reach the same conclusion. It's not as if we are talking about something clear-cut like shooting someone. Without any idea what a judge will decide, you'd have to steer well clear of all the vague, broad patents to be safe.

    In other words, don't even try!

     

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      eleete, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 7:39pm

      Re: Is it even possible to obey patent law?

      Compound that further by releasing said project on the internet and worry about violating Other country's patents or patents that are pending approval or decline and it gets quite ridiculous.

       

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    Overcast, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 7:56pm

    Obviously, the idea now is for only corporations to innovate anything.

     

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      oldtroll, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 8:28am

      Re:

      A long time ago someone reworded the Golden Rule.
      It now seems to to be, "HE WHO HAS THE GOLD, MAKES THE RULES"
      We let it happen then, and are continuing to let it happen.
      One person standing alone, will be run over. Many people standing together, form a wall that can not be run over, or ignored.

       

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      nasch, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 10:40am

      Re:

      It's tempting to say this is a case of the little guy getting shut out by big companies, but really it's a case of innovators of any size being hampered by a system that rewards patent trolls. The current patent system 1) is often not good for innovation from any source, whether it be garages or corporate R&D labs and 2) is not intended to protect inventors/innovators, but rather to promote progress. The protection is a means, not an end.

       

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    AMusingFool (profile), Jan 16th, 2009 @ 7:58pm

    Slight correction

    I definitely agree with you in principle. And software is, at best, a minefield for patents.

    I just thought I'd point out, though, that if you've bought property, you've dealt with a lawyer. That was the person handling your closing. They don't do a whole lot in front of you, but they are lawyers.

     

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      nasch, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 10:41am

      Re: Slight correction

      I have bought property, but there were no lawyers there. There were real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and title agents, but no lawyers. Unless the title company person was a lawyer and didn't say so.

       

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        Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 7:05am

        Re: Re: Slight correction

        Lawyers likely were not "there," but some of the forms you signed were created by lawyers.

         

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    Cathy, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 8:29pm

    A word from a lawyer

    I just wanted to speak up, as a lawyer, and say that there are some of us who indeed see an unfortunate disconnect between law and technology...

    http://www.cathygellis.com/soi/2009/01/law-and-technology-the-disconn.html

    (And personally I hope to do something about it.)

     

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    wopr, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 8:59pm

    Do You Want to Play a Game ?

    "I didn't need to hire a property lawyer to tell me who owns the apartment I'm living in"

    The property would be uninhabitable if you had to be concerned about who owned the front door, who owned the hinges and who owned the door knob. Certainly every time you entered or exited the premises you would have to pay a fee for the use of their property. Imagine if everything were like that ..... maybe someone will create a game like monopoly but call it Intellectual Property.

     

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    KitKat, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 9:01pm

    your a lawyer????

    Mr "lawyer" please stop giving out your silly assertions about a disconnect between the law and technology.

    Software patents are bad period because not only are they all mathmatical formulae , but all software is made of an entirely limited set of commands which when used come out to be exactly the same set of logic ie commands used, to do one thing no matter how the program looks or what order the program executes.

    take a memory swap algorithm for example,

    mov eax, var1
    mov ebx, var2
    mov ecx, var1
    mov eax, var2
    mov ebx, eax

    no matter if you move into a higher level programming language it comes down to this syntax for swapping memory variables. Even the newer processors have high level commands built in that do this in circuitry as well. So no innovations are possible so why can this be pateneted ?

    make no mistake but this is the state of the software patenting sytem for about a million patents that patent some form of physical process.

    You simply cannot program around this because that is the only way possible to do that process. Its not innovation its called blocking.

    so you see thats why lawyers dont know when it comes to software patents.

    Regards Kitkat.

     

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    KitKat, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 9:01pm

    your a lawyer????

    Mr "lawyer" please stop giving out your silly assertions about a disconnect between the law and technology.

    Software patents are bad period because not only are they all mathmatical formulae , but all software is made of an entirely limited set of commands which when used come out to be exactly the same set of logic ie commands used, to do one thing no matter how the program looks or what order the program executes.

    take a memory swap algorithm for example,

    mov eax, var1
    mov ebx, var2
    mov ecx, var1
    mov eax, var2
    mov ebx, eax

    no matter if you move into a higher level programming language it comes down to this syntax for swapping memory variables. Even the newer processors have high level commands built in that do this in circuitry as well. So no innovations are possible so why can this be pateneted ?

    make no mistake but this is the state of the software patenting sytem for about a million patents that patent some form of physical process.

    You simply cannot program around this because that is the only way possible to do that process. Its not innovation its called blocking.

    so you see thats why lawyers dont know when it comes to software patents.

    Regards Kitkat.

     

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    Michael Goodfellow, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 1:23am

    taking the other side for a moment

    It could just be that computer programming is an immature field of work, and software patents are too recent. After 30 years of land grabs, all the basic techniques will enter the public domain again. Then we'll be on a par with other types of engineering. No one thinks to patent gears, because they've been around forever. When all the basic business process and algorithm patents have come and gone, the field will be normal again.

    I still hate patents, but you could make this argument with a straight face.

     

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      Art Prior, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 8:32am

      Re: taking the other side for a moment

      "No one thinks to patent gears, because they've been around forever."

      No, I'm sure someone has thought of it.
      The reason is referred to as Prior Art.

      There was a story some time ago of a bloke down under who attempted a patent on the wheel. Predictibly, it failed due to prior art.

      Also, why should anyone have to endure 30 yrs of bs ?

       

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    shaman, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 1:47am

    Intellectual Property?

    I currently own a piece of industrial real estate (real property). It has been in the family for 80 years, undeveloped - no structures or infrastructure. 20 years ago, I began developing said property, using my own vision and execution (intellectual property) and my own money (hard cash, no bank loans). I personally paid the utilities sizeable fees for gas pipes and electric wires, both available within 500 yards, for the honor of paying them monthly, in perpetuity. It is blatantly obvious that this real and intellectual property is mine.

    My current tennant of 12 years, who is intimately familiar with this property, and I reached an agreement 11 months ago regarding his purchase of this property, and signed a contract to this effect.

    HOWEVER ...

    We have since BOTH had to retain several lawyers each, pay them fees, and WAIT!!!

    In order that we might consummate a business deal that both parties agreed to, that I might realize a profit from my intellectual property.

    It seems to me that the main business of law, is to keep lawyers employed.

    Cathy, I checked your link and homepage, this is not a personal attack, and I applaud your thoughts on this issue, as well as your efforts in this very murky area.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 8:40am

      Re: Intellectual Property?

      Shaman,

      Ok, so you develop some land and claim you own some IP.
      1) Did you patent something related to the dev ?
      2) Do you claim copyright on the way it was designed ?
      3) Is there a trademark you would like to protect ?

      I'm easily confused, but curious. What are you talking about ?

       

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        shaman, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 10:41pm

        Re: Re: Intellectual Property?

        I was merely trying to link intellectual property with real property, and highlight the fact that neither one can be traded or sold easily, between two parties that AGREE 100% on the terms, without engaging several members of the legal community. I have oversimplified this to be sure, but have missed several lucrative business opportunities, due to the fact that I have waited almost 1 year to sell something I obviously have the rights to, and own free and clear.

         

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    Patent Man, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 5:03am

    Patents are bad, huh? How many people here think that the major life saving pharmaceuticals would be the current landscape without patents?

    Here's a hint...not even close. Just because the system isn't perfect doesn't mean that it should be tossed away. Wake up people.

     

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      Bad Pharma, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      Patent Man,

      You are delusional, for many reasons
      1) The physiological benefit of chemical compounds and their development does not depend upon the existence of a patent system. For example, the active chemical compound which gives asprin its pain relief qualities has a long history which precedes the introduction of patents, by a very long time.
      2) The pharma industry attempts to extract maximum profits from their products at the expense of the livelihood of others. This has led to tensions between countries around the world. I don't think I need to provide any examples, it has been in the news, a lot. You talk of life saving drugs, but too bad if you don't have the cash.
      3) Many of those life saving drugs to which you refer are actually less effective than their predecessor whose patent has expired. Pharma makes a small change and calls it something new just so that they can maintain the patent. They then convince the health orgs to apply pressure upon doctors to prescribe the new product over the old.

       

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    kitkat, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 5:43am

    Pharma patents ??? come on

    Ask any qualified doctor what he thinks of alternative treatments for people, or even if he thinks we should research alternative treatments. The answer will be no because he has been indoctrinated by the medical board that there is no other way than with pharma. This is because this field of medicine is so lucrative now that there are pharma patents.

    Pharma is only now being credited with killing people and an awful loss of life that could have been saved if people hadnt been so greedy and moved into other medical areas because it now seems that to move forward in medical advances we have to restore the balance in medicine and get the entire field up to where only pharma is now.

    This is how patents are killing people and slowly killing innovation in the medical field where we are directy being held for ransom in an out of control patent world where only money and monopolys count.

    Bring back the balance and open up new opportunitys by outlawing all patents everywere. Its our only hope people.

    Money is evil.

     

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      an MD, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 1:02pm

      Re: Pharma patents ??? come on

      KITKAT said

      "Ask any qualified doctor what he thinks of alternative treatments for people, or even if he thinks we should research alternative treatments. The answer will be no because he has been indoctrinated..."

      That's NONSENSE

      If you do the research, and can prove that something is an effective treatment, I'll use it. Unfortunately, there are those who want to sell something "alternative", but not bother to make the effort to prove it works, or is safe. Pharma actually tries (or is required to try) to prove that what they sell is both safe and effective. Let's not forget however, that the goal of both Pharma and the folks hawking snake-oil "alternative" treatments is exactly the same -- PROFIT.

      I don't agree with Pharma's priorities many times, and Pharma does have a record of aggressive protection of their patents. This can be exasperating and often not helpful for patient care. It doesn't mean however that Pharma hasn't made very useful contributions to quality of life, productivity and life-expectancy.

      If you don't believe that, then it's obvious you don't have any first-hand knowledge of what goes on in medicine every day.

       

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      nasch, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 10:49am

      Re: Pharma patents ??? come on

      Money is evil.

      As opposed to what, the barter system? Because if I'm not mistaken, there are only three possibilities: 1) no trade of any kind - everyone produces all their own stuff*, 2) barter, 3) money. What's your favorite? Personally I like money.

      * It's not clear what this would mean for land ownership. How would one come to own land? Then once owned it could never be traded or sold. Perhaps it could be passed on after death though.

       

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    Jerry Leichter, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 6:00am

    Different timelines

    You're highlighting a fundamental difference between the views of technologists - and, frankly, most non-lawyers - and lawyers: Their views of time.

    The legal system has a very long perspective on time. The fundamental concepts that govern legal systems are very old. Law students study cases that go back hundreds of years. Courts regularly cite cases and laws from the nineteenth century. Predictability implies *lack* of change, and is one of the fundamental precepts of the system. Yes, lawyers say "the system works" when courts correct mistakes after years because, from the long historical view, that's exactly what they see. A hundred years from now, a twenty year gap between a bad trend and its correction will be completely lost - the corrected precedent will be what lawyers learn, and only historians will even be aware that there was ever a controversy.

    Yes, predictability in the patent system - or any other part of the law - is important. One thing to realize is that patent lawyers generally feel that the system *is* predictable - to *them*, on most matters they deal with. The father of a friend, an IP lawyer with many years of experience, jokingly commented - when the US modified its copyright system back in the late 1970's to match the Berne Convention - that for him, the "simplifications" made things much more complicated: All the things he just understood "in his bones" needed to be re-examined in light of the new law.

    Don't take any of this as a *justification* for the sad state of patents and the software industry. Just realize that legal - and, more broadly, the political systems - are inherently unable to deal with fast-moving areas. Decisions made in haste in a changing world are rarely optimal - but its exactly in a changing world that they *have to be* made in haste - and then *changed* in haste. But then what happens to "predictability"?

    The poster who wryly commented that the problems will solve themselves within 30 years or so as most of these patents simply age out of the system is right. Our children won't even be aware that these issues ever existed. The question is: Can we find a principled way to get there faster?

     

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      Tim Lee, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:13am

      Re: Different timelines

      The problem isn't that the law is changing too slowly, but that it changed too fast. Had the courts stuck with the "no software patents" rule that reigned from the dawn of the software industry until the 1980s, many of the problems we're seeing now would not have occurred. The problem is precisely that an activist Federal Circuit took it upon themselves to dramatically expand the scope of patentable subject matter during the 1990s,

      We're now seeing the courts realize how big of a mistake that is and walk it back. And I suppose it's probably true that 100 years from now non-historians won't remember that there was even a problem. But that doesn't change the fact that in the meantime, the patent system is doing a lot of damage.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 11:04am

        Re: Re: Different timelines

        To call the CAFC "activist" borders on the absurd. To say it expanded the scope of patentable subject matter ignores Supreme Court precedent pertaining to 35 USC 101.

         

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          Tim Lee, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Different timelines

          Alappat and State Street were clearly departures from Benson, Flook, and Diehr.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 2:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Different timelines

            Alappat and State Street were clearly departures from Benson, Flook, and Diehr.

            Hardly, but if you want to believe this go right ahead.

             

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        mike ip, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 11:40am

        Re: Re: Different timelines

        So people were trying to obtain patents on software how long ago? You've entirely missed the reasoning of the parent post - there was no reason to grant or deny software patents until the last half or third of the 20th century. Once the idea came to fruition, however, an application had to be written, filed, examined, appealed, and further appealed to the courts above the BPAI - all the way to the USSC. That takes a long time! Whether the resulting patents that have been granted were properly granted is the entire crux of the issue. If they were obvious enough that someone with pad and pen could do the same thing, you're all correct that no patent should have been allowed.

         

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    Cathy, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    @Shaman

    It seems to me that the main business of law, is to keep lawyers employed.

    I agree that there's a lot of inertia against changing things once self-interest gets involved, but I'm not quite sure that's the problem.

    There are people who truly believe that innovation doesn't happen without this sort of law to shelter it. And the thing is, they're probably right. At least to some extent. If you look at the history of IP law, it was developed as a means of stimulating innovation. But while a little bit of law may be good, a lot becomes a chokehold, and somehow we've missed the dividing line between the two. Of course it's hardly clear where to draw it, but I think we can and must do better.

     

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    :Lobo Santo, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Mass Kill?

    If all doctors died today; the world would be in chaos.

    If all lawyers died today, it's like "who cares, back to work."

    Any legal system so goddamned complex it requires an expert to do anything is TOO complex, and should be replaced.

     

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      oldtroll, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:58am

      Re: Mass Kill?

      Lawyers and members of government are identical, they both wrap themselves up in terms and phrases that only THEY CAN UNDERSTAND.
      I do not see why it should take an interpreter and hundreds, of "billable hours" just to say, "this new and there isn't another one just like it out there.
      We should be able to go to the patent office and say "this new and there isn't another one just like it out there, and here is the research to back it up.
      Let's just take it back to basics, and tell them all HEY ! You work for US ! Disband your secret code club, and do your job or you are fired. Quit trying to play the end around game, just so you and your fellow club members can make more money.
      Something is either, NEW or it isn't. It is that simple.

       

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      mike ip, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 11:44am

      Re: Mass Kill?

      Sounds like you just couldn't hack it in law school and probably went to get an MBA or some other worthless degree. It actually says quite a bit about you that you did crash and burn in law school because law school is anything but hard.

       

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    gene_cavanaugh, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Dealing with Bad Patents

    As a patent attorney, I basically agree with Michael, but once again, the answer is not "pegging" at one extreme or the other - the truth, as usual, is in the middle, where it is hard to get at (in a sense you can "corner" something at the extremes! The truth is "hard to catch" in the middle, but that is where it usually is!).
    Let's use Michael's example - you don't need a "property lawyer". Well, in the simplest possible cases, true - but the experts; realtors, lenders, etc., universally recognize the need for "property lawyers", and only partly because of bad laws, many times the need comes from good laws that protect you from the unscrupulous!

     

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    gene_cavanaugh, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 10:13am

    Bad Patents again

    Michael says: "the system is predictable enough that you can tell in advance what the law requires, without hiring a patent lawyer."
    Our system depends on heavily on predictability, so we use "stare decisis". The previous opinions on what the laws mean clarifies (and sometimes arguably changes) what the black letter law says.
    So, if you are willing to spend four years (as I did) or, if you DIY, 10-20 years learning WHAT the courts said, and HOW to find it, fine; you don't need a patent attorney - just hope you got it right! No one that I know of has, yet, but maybe you will be the first! Or you can hire a specialist to fix your car, help you buy a house, help you obtain a patent .....

     

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    Nelson Cruz, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 10:47am

    Pharmaceuticals vs Software

    Patent Man does have a point. There wouldn't be so many pharmaceuticals without patents. Not with private funding anyway. They would have to be developed entirely with government funding. So patents do play an important part there. Sure there are some problems. Pharma companies still get plenty of subsidies to help develop drugs, and them keep all the rights to them, set the prices by themselves and keep all the profits. And this patent system only provides incentives to develop drugs for rich people. Developing erection drugs for old rich western men is a great business. Developing malaria drugs to save poor dying African kids, not so much.

    But in software, patents work very differently than in pharma. Phama patents protect end products (even if some companies are trying to game the system and extend protection by later patenting metabolic intermediates). In the phama sector patents don't cover the EFFECTS or FUNCTIONS of a drug, only the exact formula of the drug, leaving others free to develop competing drugs. I.E. they behave like copyright! They cover the equivalent of source code, but not the ideas/methods used in it.

    The patent for Viagra covers only the specific compound used, not the idea of a pill for erectile dysfunction! A "software Viagra patent" would!

    Copyright already gives (free and much longer) protection to software similar to what pharmaceuticals and mechanics get by patents, and I don't see people in those fields claiming they need more protection.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 10:55am

      Re: Pharmaceuticals vs Software

      "There wouldn't be so many pharmaceuticals without patents."

      I agree. Because there would be no need to slightly change your formula every twenty years.

       

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    no name given, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    Bullocks

    Why should I need to consult with a patent attorney prior to using a particular algorithm in code being developed for the commercial market ?

    An algorithm should not be subject to patent, copyright, or trademark restrictions.

    And yet, that is what is being done. They are very careful to not include the word "algorithm" in their application, instead it is called a "system and method".

    Can I use Dijkstra's algorithm ? What about quicksort ? etc etc

     

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    Phil, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

    define the "legal system"

    We should not just identify the "legal system" as being the courts and lawyers. Our legal system also includes those who make the laws. We can't just wait around for courts to sort out all the unforeseen consequences of poorly written or ill-thought-out laws.

    Law-makers who write bad law, including such steaming heaps like the DCMA, should become part of the solution when problems are apparent. The law needs to be revised. Those of use who hire the law-makers... yes that's YOU, citizen, need to prod them to do so, and vote accordingly.

     

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    dinnerbell, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 4:35pm

    competent

    re Bilsky, how do you know it was a ‘particularly egregious "business method" patent’? Are you a patent attorney? Have you ever filed a patent application or prosecuted one?

    As to the blackberry case, the NTP patents are still in limbo. Final determination has not been made. What makes you competent to assess it’s validity anyway?

    It appears to me that your publication had more credibility problems than the patent system.

     

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      DOH, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 5:24pm

      Re: competent

      I was unaware that one needed to be an expert in the field in order to have an opinion regarding an item in said field.
      Thank you for the most enlightening insight.

       

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        mike ip, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re: competent

        No, it's not necessary to be an expert. But you won't be taken seriously without some actual reasoning besides "lawyers suck." That seems to be the dominant feeling in the comments here.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:06pm

    It is you, Bad Pharma, that is off your rocker.

    I know you probably like to paint all things related to capitalism and industry as evil because you have this false belief that you can find a sense of purpose by doing so. Get real and get in touch with people in the industry - and I don't mean go read some politically/socially motivated journal with beliefs already in line with your own.

    1. R&D in the pharmaceutical industry is a HUGE investment - patents are a very good means of protecting that investment. Regardless of compounds having their inherent physiological properties, these compounds first need to be discovered and this is done by people at a cost.

    2. There are some examples of pharmaceutical exploits, however there are many many more examples of commercial interests being aligned with that of society. Do you have any idea how many more years on average a person suffering HIV can live today, and how much better the quality of life is than without patent protected drugs? It is up to governments and citizens world wide to assist others and make sure that we all get the medical care we need, not companies. Companies are here to make money. There can be harmony. Perhaps you should adopt a "think globally, act locally attitude" yourself.

    3. Regarding your third "point," your are talking complete nonsense in an area you know extremely little about.

    Oh, but maybe like another person who posted here you think that money is evil...if so, don't even bother reading what I wrote b/c it will not do you any good.

    Have a nice day.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Bad Pharma, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 8:55pm

      Re:

      Patent Man,

      Thank you for your thoughtful response, however your attempt to address the points of my prior post have fallen short.

      1) The physiological benefits of acetylsalicylic acid have been known to the human race for thousands of years. But how could this have happened without patents to protect the "discovery" ?
      2) At least you admit that there are cases where people have behaved poorly. I think you need to read more international news.
      3) Nonsense ? Really. Your response just makes you look like an industry stooge. There have been many studies done in this area, I suggest you go read one.

       

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        identicon
        Patent Man, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 5:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Dear Bad Pharma,

        First, at best, you provide more off-base comments than "points".

        Aspirin? What is your point about patenting aspirin? You find it hard to believe that you can patent an "isolated form" of a natural product that is found in tree bark? Do you find it hard to believe that some years after the analgesic properties were known that one could patent its use for reducing heart attacks? You obviously know nada about scientific research.

        You have no points! You just go blah blah blah evil capitalism blah blah blah i don't have skills that fit into a capitalistic society blah blah blah therefore let's screw it up for others blah blah blah.

        Get a clue, and have a nice extended weekend.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Bad Pharma, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Patent Man,

          I said that? - evil capitalism - huh.
          Let me review this for a sec ......
          Ummm, I do not see where I made any such statement.
          Please elucidate.

          You think there is no point because you refuse to recognise it.

          I do not have any skills ... please, lets try and be grownups here - ok? And just what am I screwing up?

           

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

  •  
    identicon
    Brian Flanagan, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    I say yea

    Yes, the lumbering beast ought to be put out to pasture and replaced by a lean machine.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Reality, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    The fact is

    If you want to do business you MUST pay all of the people that are usual and customary for the business. That includes Uncle Sam, the state, the city, the water and sewer, the utilities, internet, inventory, cleaning people, maintenance workers, assistants, consultants, insurance, managers, rent, and yes even lawyers. If you can't afford at least these basic necessities then you shouldn't be trying to "innovate". A lone ranger will not make a impact with his supposed "innovation" without all of this in place to support the enterprise. Innovation is highly over rated and mostly outdated in our modern world, most of what we truly need has already been created. Corporations are working hard and investing heavily to create the additional things we truly need, and in a much more efficient manner than one can do on their own. We all want a greener world and the efficiencies of corporate "innovation" can create what we need in a much more efficient manner than a small company or some guy in his garage. IP protection is the foundation that allows commerce to flourish today and it is critical that we aggressively protect that property just as you would your home and family.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Not Again, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

      Re: The fact is

      Reality -> "most of what we truly need has already been created"

      Are you serious? This statement is laughable at best.

      Although it is in dispute, the U.S. Patent Commissioner in 1899 was supposed to have said something similar.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      oldtroll, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 1:33pm

      Re: The fact is

      Every single thing that we have or use today is due to some kind of invention or innovation by someone in the past, weather it was 1 year ago or 100 years ago.

      Big Business and the MONEYMONGERS, have you just where they want you (as a puppet) by saying things like that.
      You and your string pulling masters, are dead wrong !!!!!!
      Even on the last day of earths death throws, there will still be a need for inventions and innovations. So despite what you and they think, WE WILL STILL continue to try and make things better through invention and innovation.
      Case in point, the wheel was made better wasn't it?

       

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    •  
      identicon
      nasch, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 10:59am

      Re: The fact is

      This is a troll, right? Nicely done. :-)

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Debunker, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 2:22am

    Acetylsalicilic acid

    Bad Pharma,

    The physiological benefits of acetylsalicylic acid have been known to the human race for thousands of years?

    Erm, no. Not at all, really. The physiological benefits of a certain tree bark were known. It took a chemist's hard work to isolate salicylic acid from that tree bark, and identify its role. Trouble was, salicylic acid is quite hard on your stomach. So it took several chemists' hard work to develop an alternative (acetylsalicylic acid) that was more tolerable to human stomachs.

    You know, it is perhaps a good thing to inform yourself before posting ignorant nonsense.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Bad Pharma,

    Here's the deal. You first raised the issue of not "having the cash" regarding my post to patents and pharma. Also, you make very little sense and you trash a fantastic aspect of our country that facilitates amazing innovation. You take certain instances where there are problems and paint a broader distorted picture of what the reality is. Instead of discussing solutions to certain problems within the big picture, you imply that patents are effectively a tool for improper operation by pharma. Therefore, one can only assume that you are a capitalism-be-damned sort of person. Maybe if you could detail a position a little better about the issue of patents I wouldn't have to assume so much.

    And the reality is that hard working people in the pharma industry have produced monoclonal antibodies for fighting cancer, numbers of HIV therapies, vaccines, etc...that provide a quality of life experienced only by this generation. None of these treatments would have actually been delivered to the public if patent protection was not there. But then again, maybe you think that monoclonal antibodies specific for cancer antigens have been known for thousands of years too. Oh, but just to let you know, these antibodies don't come from tree bark or even occur naturally.

    Have a nice day and get a healthy dose of vitamin C.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Debunker, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 1:20am

    Acetylsalicylic acid

    The world has now suffered eight years of a US president with a penchant for "oversimplifying". Do I need any additional evidence as to how pernicious that can be?

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Bad Pharma, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 5:12am

      Re: Acetylsalicylic acid

      Debunker,

      Your feable attempt has obvious flaws.

      Reference to the layman term (acetylsalicylic acid) rather than a genus of plant is not even similar to that which you refer.

      It is sad that you think this has caused you damage.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Debunker, Jan 21st, 2009 @ 1:27am

        Re: Re: Acetylsalicylic acid

        "Layman term"? "Genus of a plant"? You can't really even make the difference between botany and chemistry, can you?

        Let me explain this a bit more in detail for you: the medicinal properties of the bark of the willow tree were indeed known for centuries. By the nineteen century, one chemical compound within it, salicylic acid (not a "layman's term", but a chemical term) was identified as responsible for many of these properties.

        However, salicylic acid is very hard on people's stomachs, so quite a few chemists started researching what to do to this salicylic acid to make it more tolerable. Several chemists seem to have thought at more or less the same time to acetylate this salicylic acid, obtaining thus acetylsalicylic acid. Bayer company researchers found out that this *new compound* retained the medicinal properties of salicylic acid, while being more tolerable to human stomachs. They filed for and obtained patents worldwide for this use of acetylsalicylic acid. It must be noted, however, that the patents were disputed, and most of them invalidated, as there was some dispute as to who had first described the medical advantages of acetylated salicylic acid...

        In short, this whole saga involved, beyond the willow tree bark, at least one discovery (salicylic acid) and one invention (acetylsalicylic acid). Hardly "trivial", thus.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 6:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Acetylsalicylic acid

          Debunker,

          Your wikipedia abilities are outstanding!!!
          You get a gold star for the day !

          How in the world was this bark discovered without the benefit of patents? Certainly it must be a fluke.

           

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


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