Debate On Software Patents Fails To Convince Silicon Valley That Patents Increase Innovation

from the not-a-surprise dept

Yesterday, I went to the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley for a lunchtime debate on software patents. It was one of those things where an official "motion" was put forth, and then people voted before and after to see if the debate changed anyone's mind. In this case, the motion was simple: "software patents encourage innovation." Arguing for the motion was Bob Zeidman, a consultant/writer who sells software for... analyzing intellectual property. Arguing against the motion was Edward Lee, a Berkeley CS professor. The audience, as is (unfortunately) typical at the Computer History Museum definitely skewed "older." I ended up at a table with some guys who worked at IBM many decades ago. There were also a fair number of patent lawyers in attendance.

There's this view outside of Silicon Valley that folks here love patents, but in my experience, most people don't seem to like patents at all. They get in the way of actually innovating -- as we've shown time and time again -- and the thing that Silicon Valley folks like more than just about anything else is building something cool. The idea that someone else can sue you for building something cool just seems incomprehensible.

Before the debate, the vote was already against the motion: 64 people voted for the motion (35.7%). 89 people voted against (49.7%). Another 26 didn't vote at all.

The debate itself struck me as rather tame. Niether side really made as strong an argument as they could. Obviously, given what I write about here, and the rather staggering evidence that's out there that the patent system tends to do a lot more harm than good, I was inclined to support Lee "against the motion." But even there, it felt like he could have made much stronger arguments. For the most part, he just repeated claims from James Bessen and Michael Meurer's book Patent Failure. It's an excellent book and completely worth reading, in large part because it cites dozens of studies to show how the costs of the patent system greatly outweigh its benefits. It's definitely a good starting point, but there's a lot more out there that let's you take their argument further, and I was a bit disappointed that Lee didn't do so (though the debate format is a tough one). For example, Lee repeated a few key claims from Patent Failure, such as the idea that patents don't work well as property, because the reason "property" works is because there are clear boundaries. But, with patents, the boundaries are (often intentionally) unclear, meaning more and more litigation. Good property rules should mean less litigation.

But all that presumes that property rights make sense around ideas. And there's a strong argument that they don't. I also would have liked at least some more discussion about the fact that so many patent lawsuits involve work that was independently invented. Lee mentioned it in passing, but it's a key point in this debate, and it wasn't highlighted nearly enough.

Lee did get in a few good one-liners, though, which the crowd appreciated. He noted that in Silicon Valley today, if you actually do something well, you're guaranteed to get sued for patent infringement. Separately, he argued that patents tend to encourage more patents, rather than innovation. The one point he "conceded" was that patents did seem to encourage "innovation" in one area: Zeidman's arena of writing software to analyze patents.

The one point he made that struck me as compelling and not discussed nearly enough was his response to the common claim that patents are all about "disclosure," and without patents everything would be kept as a trade secret. There are a bunch of good responses to this that we've discussed in the past, but he noted (1) that patents don't seem to disclose much that is useful to a software developer and (2) that the real purpose of "disclosure" is education, and there are better ways to educate software developers. I hadn't made that connection between disclosure and education before, and it's a good point.

As for Zeidman, not surprisingly, I found his arguments completely uncompelling. He kicked off with an attempt to play to the ego of the crowd, asking them how many had programmed stuff, and how many of those people felt that "just anyone could do that." He was a little surprised that some people said, yes, just about anyone could program what they programmed, and accused the audience of being too modest. But, really, this argument is a total non-starter. He used it to claim that creating software is a "creative skill." That's true, but it's meaningless. The patent system has nothing to do with encouraging creativity. And, more importantly, the very crux of this particular debate for many people is that software is already covered by copyright. And the whole "creative" part is the part that copyright covers. So what does that have to do with patents? I submitted that as a question, but the moderator didn't ask it. The whole argument made no sense in the framework of what was actually being debated.

The other thing that caught my attention was that Zeidman tried to brush off the argument of patent trolls suing the companies who actually innovate, by suggesting it's not really a big problem. He specifically stated that "less than 2%" of patent lawsuits involve patent trolls. That number struck me as ridiculously low, so I first asked folks on Twitter if that could be possible, and received back a few responses, including from Mark Lemley, who said the real number is between 25 and 40% depending on how you count. Separately, a few folks pointed me to a research paper by Colleen Chien, which suggests the number has been growing recently, and agrees with Lemley's basic range. For example, from 2006 to 2008, defendants sued by trolls represented 36% of all defendants sued.

After the event I went over to ask Zeidman about the 2% number, and he claimed that he actually thinks that estimate is too high. He mentioned that he cited the source in the Wall Street Journal, but the only citation I can find that seems to match is a claim that "roughly 2%" of patents end up in court. Perhaps he means that he used the 2% number from the Wall Street Journal somewhere else, but the fact that only 2% of patents end up in court (which seems ridiculously high, actually) has nothing to do with how frequently trolls are suing companies.

Anyway, after an hour-long debate, another vote was taken, and since a bunch of folks showed up in the middle, the numbers were higher across the board: 70 people were for the motion that software patents are good for innovation, 112 were against and 42 didn't vote. On a percentage basis, those supporting software patents dropped to 31.3% and those against rose marginally to 50%. Given the fact that there were a fair number of patent lawyers in attendance (one sitting at my table mocked the whole debate because no one defined software patents, and then argued that Professor Lee was probably a hypocrite, because while he contributed to open source software, he probably wanted to get paid for his book), and they seemed to be the most vocal in supporting software patents, it seems likely that of the actual developers in the audience, well more than 50% were against patents for software.


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  1.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 5:36am

    Troll Bait

    Cue id10t troll railing against Mike's "facts" in...
    3...2...1...

     

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  2.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 5:50am

    As a programmer

    I highly dislike the idea of software patents. Especially with the way patents seem to be so broad these days. For pete's sake Apple patented a rectangle and is suing Samsung over it. How the heck did that even manage to get through anywhere?

    This is also barring the fact that for programming, while you can probably program a solution a near infinite number of ways between all of the programming languages available, there are only a limited number of methods that can be used if you want to program it efficiently (this number grows as the program becomes more complex).

    I have used plenty of code found on the internet to work around code I was having problems with, and have submitted code to a few open source programs and as small bits meant to help on support forums. I think as a programmer you almost have to tend to lean towards the sharing mentality. Programming would be hard to teach yourself from scratch, and impossible to master without getting ideas from others. Chances are you are doing more than just reading a book if you are learning to program. That's just how it is if you want to be good. You can't lock yourself away from other ideas to expand your mind. Really, this applies to learning just about anything.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:01am

    Do software patents encourage innovation?

    Sure, if you define "encouraging innovation" to mean locking up mental processes.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    Re: As a programmer

    "Apple patented a rectangle"

    A rectangle with rounded corners!

     

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    ScytheNoire, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:10am

    Can we move past the fact that software and idea patents don't work to the fact that all patents don't work. From the very beginning it's been all about holding a monopoly and preventing innovation.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:20am

    Gotta go by what you know.

    I can't really speak to patents in other disciplines. However, there are specific examples from software that I can cite as being things that I could personally re-invent as an undergrad having only ever been exposed to the specification for the device.

    Of course this leads to the inevitable idea that what I know about software and patents may be a more general rule. However this is a bit of a guess.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Mike, have you considered the the opposite question:

    "patents discourage innovation"

    likely would have been voted down as well? Have you considered that most people think of software patents as a sort of neutral thing, with pluses and minuses?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Re:

    I should also add that, considering the audience was "self selecting", and that there is no way to know if the people participating were a balanced group or basically a collection of anti-patent shills, it's hard to take the vote seriously.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:44am

    Someone go patent the concepts of Input and Output - then software's pretty well done for.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re:

    anti-patent shills

    What? Are you being serious? Do you know what the word shill means? Who would be paying the "shills" to be anti-patent?

    I'm guessing you think this whole thing is some type of conspiracy by Google to end software patents so that they can finally rule the world. You're a loon.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:56am

    Well...

    If all patents suits are by trolls, then roughly 2% of all patents are used by trolls

     

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    Dan (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 6:59am

    tame?

    >> The debate itself struck me as rather tame.

    You mean lame. I was incredibly disappointed that I wasted my lunch time. Wasn't much of a debate - I was really hoping for more.

     

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    Robert Doyle (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 7:00am

    What is interesting to me

    I find it particularly interesting that there are laws that promote competition and then there are laws that stifle it.

    And I find it ridiculous that you can patent what amounts to a 'way of thinking.' To me it is like patenting physiotherapy and requiring all practitioners to either pay to use a certain method of rehabilitation or come up with their own. I just don't get it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    Re:

    Irrelevant.

    If patents don't increase innovation, then they are a deadweight, because their stated purpose it to promote progress.

    Any other questions are futile. If patents are a "neutral thing", then that means that they can be safely removed without affecting anything - they don't improve innovation and don't damage innovation, so what are they good for?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I would say that if Mike invited 10 of his friends to join him, that would be a group of shills.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re:

    Exactly, but it is doubtful they they are neutral.

    More importantly, you are missing the point. The situation was set up to make a straw vote against software patents, and that is what they got. It's soft of like astroturfing, only on a much smaller scale.

    It's sort of like asking venture capitalists about software patents. They don't like them because they want in fast and out fast and make a ton of money. True long term investors like patents, they help to secure their investments.

    Follow the money, and you will always find the answer.

     

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    CommonSense (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 7:27am

    A better representation

    Would have been if you could have excluded patent lawyers from the vote altogether. Their livelihood depends on them, so of course they are going to vote in favor of patents in any and every way they can, regardless of the question. They are so biased it's not even funny, not to mention the fact that they think, because they went through law school and passed a test, that they are smarter than everyone else on the planet...

     

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    Atkray (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The shill sees the world through his own distorted lens. Since he is paid to promote an agenda he naturally assumes that those who oppose him are likewise compensated, the concept of someone actually believing in something is foreign to him.

     

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 7:32am

    Re: A better representation

    Would have been if you could have excluded patent lawyers from the vote altogether. Their livelihood depends on them, so of course they are going to vote in favor of patents

    Not true. I know of at least one patent lawyer who has appeared in the comments on this very site who doesn't believe in patents, but does the job to help companies defend themselves from offensive patents.

     

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    Trails (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Re:

    And you base all this on what exactly?

    I mean other than your illustrious for-hire opinion.

     

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    Trails (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's soft[sic] of like astroturfing


    The irony there is thick enough to walk on.

     

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    jilocasin, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    Patents may no longer work, but I think once upon a time they did.

    If you came up with a new drug, a new bullet transport mechanism for a hand gun, a way to better separate the cotton seeds from the cotton fibers it was worth it to have your specify _exactly_ how you did it. In that way others could repeat/improve upon it. In exchange the government gave you the sole legal ability to control that technology for a couple of years. Sure beat having to constantly 'reinvent the wheel'.

    This is why you couldn't patent; nature, math, ideas.

    It had to be truly novel to someone _skilled_in_the_field_. No sense letting someone patent something that people would come up with anyway.

    It had to be described it in sufficient detail for someone skilled in the art to build it, using _just_the_patent_application_. No sense giving patent protection to something that wasn't detailed or complete enough for say another gun manufacturer to build.

    Combine that with the fact that technology progressed _very_slowly_, it wasn't that bad of a trade.

    Unfortunately many things have combined to make them more trouble then what they're worth.

    Technology progresses _much_ faster than it used to.

    Patents are allowed for 'ideas' rather than specific implementations. (i.e. 'using a computer...' to do anything we already do without one.)

    Patents are allowed for; nature (i.e. gene/existing plants), math (i.e using a particular sorting algorithm).

    Patents are allowed for things that are obvious or a natural progression to someone skilled in the field (pretty much anything that suffers from multiple simultaneous invention).

    And most damming, patents are awarded for things that purposely written so ambiguously that it's completely useless for the express purpose of allowing someone skilled in the field to replicate and build off of.

    Of course that makes it perfect for suing other over.

    As an example here's a portion of Oracle's '507 patent that it's using to sue Google over android.

    Claim 20:
    A method for acquiring and reviewing a body of information, wherein the body of information includes a plurality of segments, each segment representing a defined set of information in the body of information, the method comprising the steps of: acquiring data representing the body of information; generating a display of a first segment of the body of information from data that is part of the stored data; comparing data representing a segment of the body of information to data representing a different segment of the body of information to determine whether, according to one or more predetermined criteria, the compared segments are related; and generating a display of a portion of, or a representation of, a second segment of the body of information from data that is part of the stored data, wherein the display of the portion or representation of the second segment is generated in response to the display of a first segment to which the second segment is related.


    Tell me that's clear enough so that someone skilled in the art can replicate the _exact_ invention that the patent was granted for. This isn't a claim to advance the state of progress, it's one to retard the state of progress, while unjustly enriching lawyers.

     

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    CommonSense (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: A better representation

    Good point. I must have gotten up on the cynical side of the bed today...

    So, an even better representation would have been to have two votes, one for the patent lawyers and one for everyone else.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re:

    a balanced group or basically a collection of anti-patent shills

    Dammit, I thought we were the shills. Aren't we being paid to say things like 'This is a Friday post!' and 'FREETARD'? Someone needs to send me a memo if we're going to switch and start calling them shills instead.

     

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:39am

    Sharing is Necessary

    I am not a computer programmer anyway. Some background, I worked for organizations large and small. I helped to develop, and taught in an apprenticeship program (industry related). In that endeavor my specialty was management and supervision. I also used knowledge and experience gained from my work, supervising multi-departmental, multi-unit operations. This is a service industry, so people (customer, employee, and other stakeholder intensive).
    Many of the ideals highlighted in the educational experience related strongly to successes in the operational experience. Thus, a major lesson learned was that my job as a leader meant that my success depended upon my teaching, training, encouraging and otherwise enabling the rest of the organization to succeed (up, down, and sideways). This often meant not only sharing my knowledge, training, and experience, but researching and developing new things to share, rarely a new idea, but one 'stolen' from reading and compiling. Sometimes that meant that in order to get agreement, I needed the organization to 'create' 'my' idea. I worked out a method for holding a meeting around the issue, laid out known and unknown information and opened and 'directed' the discussion until someone 'out there' had the idea we needed to move forward. I then gave that person credit, and often reward, even though I had written the agenda and minutes of the meeting at the same time, in advance. This not only worked, but since the 'idea' came from the organization, not above, there was strong motivation for support. If sharing had not taken place, the organization would not have gotten it as quickly. Even this method was not new to me, but learned.
    This is the way organizations grow, whether management actually encourages the ideals or not. If patents are looked at as an organism, each new patent a new cell in some sub-organ of the whole, then software and business model patents should be viewed as festering tumors, as they absolutely break the concept of teaching and sharing ones knowledge. Continued growth of patents kills learning, and because of new competitive stresses, kills the sharing of ideas.
    I am reminded of a Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence http://www.tompeters.com/) piece from a cassette tape by him. He was a new assistant professor of marketing at a community college, and on his first day he was handing out the final exam. A full professor passing by saw this and questioned it. Peters' answer was that not only was he passing out the final test, but for the rest of the semester, he was going to be giving them the ANSWERS!
    Sharing is an organic part of human growth, think of not only how babies learn, but what we do to them, educationally, over the next 20 years or so. Any sharing there? Overly strong, long, broad, inappropriate patents stymie organic growth. I can also see an analogy to the growth of the tumor being greater than the whole, because that is the way destructive organisms work.

     

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    Stephan Kinsella (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:57am

    Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    "Patents may no longer work, but I think once upon a time they did." Why? Anything more than a hunch? Of course they "work"--for those who get them. And they harm others who are their victims. Socialist welfare benefits like social security "work" for the recipients, but at the expense of victims.

     

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    Stephan Kinsella (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    Re: A better representation

    As a patent lawyer, I can support your comment. Patent attorneys are absolutely horrible, dishonest, biased, on this whole issue. They are basically state bureaucrats.

     

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    Prashanth (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:59am

    "one sitting at my table mocked the whole debate because no one defined software patents, and then argued that Professor Lee was probably a hypocrite, because while he contributed to open source software, he probably wanted to get paid for his book"
    It's a common fallacy among such laypeople (and yes, I'm calling that patent lawyer a layperson in such matters) that open source software = $0 (and the argument is extended to that man's book, which has nothing to do directly with being open source in and of itself). The problem comes not when people have a certain expectation of what to be paid for their work, but when they forget all about the demand side of the equation and essentially extort their customers (who will likely not remain customers for very long).

     

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    Rekrul, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 9:04am

    Here's an idea to better get the point across;

    Hold another such debate, but add one little wrinkle. Make them all sign a legally binding contract agreeing to the following; When it's each person's turn to speak, they can "patent" one word, and then nobody else at the debate is allowed to use that word without paying them a very real $100 license fee. Anyone who violates one of these "patents" will be fined $1000 per use of the word. See how well the patent supporters can make their case without the use of words like "patent", or "the". Maybe that would drive home the problem that patents cause.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 9:11am

    " so I first asked folks on Twitter if that could possible"
    ...does this read weird to anyone else, or do I just need more coffee than usual this morning?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Rather than using the term "creative skill", the point would have been better made by use of "inventive skill".

    As a sidenote, what is protected under copyright law for "software" is not the same thing as what is protected under patent law. The two bodies of law address materially diffent and unrelated things.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: As a programmer

    What does a design patent secured by Apple have to do with securing utility patents on "software", the subject of this article?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: A better representation

    This is an incredibly condescending remark that experience informs me is off the mark. I would have thought you knew better.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    Patents may no longer work, but I think once upon a time they did.

    Technology progresses _much_ faster than it used to.
    Have you ever considered that technology can progress so much faster once patents expire. I wonder where we might be had there never been patents in the first place.

    It's like a roller coaster going down hill. Sure it's fast now, so they tell us not to complain that they have the brake on. But how much faster could we have been going if the brake hadn't been applied from the beginning?

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    They don't like them because they want in fast and out fast and make a ton of money. True long term investors like patents, they help to secure their investments.
    And yet we just had an article not long ago that patents harm the long term success of a company. It's the fast in, fast out guys that want patents so they have something to sell off if the company doesn't become an overnight sensation. Work hard for a long time? Heck no. Amazon wasn't profitable until 2001, but had the one-click patent in 1999. True long term investors were happy with Amazon and couldn't care less about patents. Patent supports would have dismantled the company and sold off the one click patent for the quick bucks.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: As a programmer

    I am very thankful that Apple created the rounded corner. Without them I would still be hurting myself on the sharp corners of desk I am sitting at when I go to stand up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    ´The idea that someone else can sue you for building something cool just seems incomprehensible.´

    The pure essence of the problem, the future its very dark indeed... unless the snake die on their own poison

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: As a programmer

    Their patent does not directly relate to software. However, reading the sentence I type right before that, it is a perfect example of why patents are just too darn broad these days and cannot be trusted.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Re: Sharing is Necessary

    I believe your post here is also just as applicable to why non-disclosure agreements are bad. Except, they hold back individuals just as much so, if not more than, the companies they work for.

    Locking up ideas long term just plain hurts everyone involved.

     

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    Capt. Patent, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Re: Sharing is Necessary

    nice post.

    ++;

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    "Patents may no longer work, but I think once upon a time they did." .... So did slavery.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are wrong if you think I am getting paid. Post some proof or get the fuck off of it already.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Yes, the claims of some patents certainly give the appearance that they are too broad to support their being allowed and passed to issue in a patent. There are many facets to why this may be the case. One, a claim is measured by the art in existence at the time an invention was made. Two, both the applicant and the examiner have a specific set of prior art between them by which to determine patentability. Obviously, the prior art must meet some sort of an evidentiary standard, as is the case in any legal proceeding. Nevertheless, it is clear that one can never be sure that all art before them is representative of the entire body of potentially applicable art. Thus, I am not prepared to automatically slam applicants and examiners on the basis "What were they thinking?"

    Where I will slam applicants and examiners, and particularly the latter, is under what is known as an "enabling disclosure", a requirement set forth in 35 USC 112. An applicant does have to disclose an invention in sufficient detail that one having ordinary skill in the art can come up with a working embodiment without undue experimentation. It is here where many of the incredibly broad claims, in my opinion, fall short of the mark. Part of the quid pro quo for a patent is a complete teaching of what one has invented. Failing to do so, an application maturing into an issued patent is of dubious validity.

    Unfortunately, so much effort is expended on what the prior art teaches that what is oftentimes overlooked is what does the patent teach? Fortunately, Section 112 is coming to the fore, and it, in combination with some recent cases concerning subject matter eligible for a patent, may serve to force more complete disclosures and, hence, much more limited claims.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 11:35am

    Re:

    Have you considered that if most people think of software patents as a sort of neutral thing, with pluses and minuses, we should really get rid of them right away? A lot of people are spending a lot of time, effort, and money on something with no net benefits if that's the case.

     

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  45.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Drat, I'm a hypocrite too

    "...argued that Professor Lee was probably a hypocrite, because while he contributed to open source software, he probably wanted to get paid for his book..."

    I've contributed (an admittedly minuscule amount) to open source myself, and plan to contribute more, but for some reason I expect to be paid in my day job (which is writing proprietary software and firmware).

    It's astonishingly hypocritical of me and I'm deeply ashamed at taking advantage of my talents to pay the rent and feed my family instead of starving to death in a noisome gutter somewhere.

     

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  46.  
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    Jose_X, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    >> In exchange the government gave you the sole legal ability to control that technology for a couple of years.

    Did you mistype "couple of decades"?

    >> It had to be truly novel to someone _skilled_in_the_field_

    In other words, it had to be "non-obvious" to someone of "ordinary" skill in the art. Sure. Patent law does have what resembles a little hurdle you have to get over in terms of novelty.

    >> Combine that with the fact that technology progressed _very_slowly_

    Well, the Internet, more modern financing, computers, and a great bunch of other stuff has really affected the time scale as you suggest.

    Also, we can contrast traditional products with software/information/(processes using conventional items):

    -- manufacturing and distribution is more time consuming marginally (sw can be near instantaneous)
    -- manufacturing overhead setup is more time consuming (the compile/build cycle following a change in sw product can also be near instantaneous).

    Yes, the 20 year monopoly cycle is extra harmful to progress today.

    [We can also note that the very high speed of sw changes/development and the virtual nature of it ("information") means that sw can be much more complex than a material product -- making "sw patent" much more likely to affect products that go way beyond what is covered in that patent.]

     

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  47.  
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    Jose_X, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    >> Socialist welfare benefits like social security "work" for the recipients, but at the expense of victims.

    This question can really get us off-topic, but let me ask it at least, and I'd be willing to follow a link and read if it will be relatively specific to addressing this question (and I have not been convinced by the one or two mises.org articles on private armies that I have read in the past).

    If you don't like the state at all (presumably including any democratic version of it where the will of the majority might stipulate the legal use of force under x or y circumstances), what do you propose as a means of conflict resolution that you think you can get a majority of people to back? I think people want to look at specifics and judge the shades of gray. Asking that everyone simply fend for themselves (eg, prostitute yourself against your wishes if you believe that will curry favor among those around you so that less harm will come to you) is probably not going to ever be that popular.

    A strong and wise culture might develop where its members decide against any form of government, let's assume, but if so then what difference would it make to have a state up to that point (if most people want that) and from that point onward the use of force by the state would be outlawed?

    I think libertarians or anarchists are leaving the details of too much up in the air. I don't think it will be that convincing to too many people to switch with this lack of detail in place, especially in light of all the societies that exist today with less democracy, where the "law of the jungle" appears to reign to a greater degree than in the US and where that includes lots of murdering.

    BTW, I really like the experience and also many specific arguments you bring to the table as concerns things like patents. But the conclusion against "the state" in general is not something I have seen supported well (and I don't pretend that I have read all of that much specifically by you or even by anyone else).

     

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  48.  
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    Jose_X, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    Let me add that I eventually will put together a website and business to promote a "sharing of trade secrets" approach to business as a way for small folks to gain greater independence and leverage in the world of business and making a living. Along with this, I also look at laws and democracy. I care about this subject and think the economics and governance are important components you can't ignore, but I have not come to the conclusion that less government is better. A better represented government IS what we want, but not generally less government is better. We have rules of the game that favor the concentration of wealth (where gains become even easier and easier.. to some saturation point). While I would like to improve the constitution and individual rights, I want to do so with an eye towards the success of a society with individuals treated fairly and not simply to focus on the most liberties for individuals without concern for what this might do to a collection of people where some bad apples might exist. Also, in the interim, some imperfect laws help: eg, progressive tax system so that more people ultimately have a practical opportunity to be independent. [The website can be followed mostly for the sake of the open approach to business on a volunteer basis while ignoring the other major aspect, the passing or promoting of laws that might make certain things more practical.]

     

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  49.  
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    Jose_X, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think there is confusion in this thread over whether a "shill" is someone that has to be paid or not.

     

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  50.  
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    Jose_X, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    >> True long term investors like patents, they help to secure their investments.

    I can see how the logic of monopoly protection would play a role regardless of the costs to society in any given case;

    However, if "patents" in that industry (software) are more likely to do harm than help, eg, because of how most products are complex and fast-evolving (developed largely in the last 20 years) so likely to include many parts that have been patented by *someone else*, then the logic for this industry would suggest that patents as a whole are making investments in *producing* companies more *risky*.

    Software patents may promote investments in patent companies, but how does investing in litigation in lieu of investing in producing help society?

    [To keep reply short, I don't consider what many software developers and researchers believe (but patent attorneys perhaps don't), that software patents do not promote the progress. The contrast above is simply between investing in litigating entities v. in software producing entities]

     

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  51.  
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    Stephan Kinsella (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    There's a lot out there. The Market for Liberty by the Tannehills, online at mises.org I think; Rothbard's For A New Liberty; some of the stuff by Hoppe at www.hanshoppe.com on private defense etc. Hoppe has a good bibliography on anarcho-capitalism at http://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe5.html

    But as I argue in What It Means To Be an Anarcho-Capitalist, the anarchist-libertarian does not primarily argue that X would work better than Y and here's why. Rather, we simply point out that (a) we are opposed to aggression on principle, and (b) the state necessarily commits aggression. The burden is not on me to show why a system with no aggression "would work better" than one with aggression. It would be on you to justify the aggression inherent in the state you say is justified. As an example, you are no doubt opposed to private crimes like murder, even though we do not and never will live in a murder-free world. You oppose murder beause it is wrong. You oppose it even if it will continue to be committed. Right? Same with anarchy. I simply am consistent and oppose not only private crime, but crime committed publicly, by an institution.

     

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  52.  
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    Willton, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 9:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: A better representation

    He doesn't, sadly. And ironically, it shows that Kinsella is just as biased as he claims his fellow patent attorneys are.

     

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  53.  
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    Jose_X, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    I want to suggest that believing private property is a valid concept and grounds, for a defensive reaction (I'm assuming you agree with this view) appears to be a violent view for you cannot know all the people who insist they have a claim to something so as to get each and every one of them to agree to give you "ownership" rights over it for some determined time period. Hence I don't see how anyone can feel justified that any particular object will ever be their own private property. [By induction, this lack of ownership would apply to "gifts" and to derivative products such as something you build from the earth.]

    I think libertarians believe in private property. I am assuming so do anarcho-capitalists.

    I think almost everyone will accept some "loophole" that will justify violence in their minds under certain scenarios and that this won't be limited purely to someone putting their hands on you physically. Fact is that property and a number of other things (opportunity, basic freedoms) are viewed as too important to life for people generally not to find some degree of force justified rather than to commit to a life of slavery or always dealing from a position of disadvantage in negotiations with others.

    I don't want to engage in a long discussion on this here (or now), so I am trying to be selective in what I say.

     

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  54.  
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    Jose_X, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    I would like to see a future where for example:
    -- businesses would hire many sorts of people even if not ideal from perspective of maximizing profits. [thinking of people before profits]
    -- businesses would pay higher tax rates if they did better. Essentially teasing as friends, "I kicked your arse this year, bud, and that's 4 years running. When we start 'afresh' next year, let's see if you have learned anything."
    -- Consumers would reward the above two business behaviors with purchases, offer suggestions for improvements, etc, while being much more likely than not to shun the few businesses who take their eyes off the ball and over-seek profits, (play hard-ball, be socially irresponsible, etc, as judged by the particular consumer).
    -- Have many more businesses offer democratic voting (eg, to give competing management plans and their backers power or lack of it and vote on the managers themselves), profit sharing and salaries in fairly equal measures, and donate to various community/national efforts (reduction in tax "obligation" of course).
    -- Have firms share trade secrets, although (like with any friendly contest), not necessarily right away.

    Overall, this will make people everywhere happier and more productive (this includes the could-have-been-much-wealthier individuals as well).

    In this world, technically anyone can do what they want, but the consumers are well informed and work together to make sure such people/businesses have a hard time (without violence, etc). Businesses also can place a check on consumers by rewarding those who are socially responsible. Commerce becomes much more of a social affair with friendly competition and sharing.

    Hopefully as well, this "community" extends internationally since otherwise you are likely to have areas around the world where fear/lack-of-appreciation/etc can turn into hatred, greed, violence... so a full solution would be of international scope. The world would have to be your extended family.

    Anyway, this little discussion here actually helped me set the above first 3 points as topics to focus on: promote responsibility of consumer-worker-citizen to shun the easy "tasty" path in order to think of fellow consumer-worker-citizens and reward or not select business enterprises.. as well as promoting __volunteer__ "tax" or charity payments by enterprises that have a winning year.

     

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  55.  
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    Jose_X, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patents served a purpose.... once (Re: ))

    Volunteer taxes?

    I haven't thought too much about this. Presumably this is a contribution to fund "referees" and other watchdog efforts that otherwise would have to be voluntary and unpaid. Or it might be to save for a rainy day (meteor hits earth). In any case, it seems the gov would be significantly smaller than today as citizens pick up the slack.

    Taxes not paid as per social norms; services not accessible by rest of society:

    Here is one approach that may not be the most enlightened but shows one way society can demonstrate its teeth to those who don't play by some widely accepted norms: A court (private or public) very well would not recognize some assets of those who cuts corners with taxes (in the extreme case not paying any taxes at all). If you don't pay taxes, it's as if you are saying you don't want any help resolving or protecting claims (which might mount to thousands of claims if society cooperates). We might even generally replace income taxes with wealth taxes (wealth is more directly proportional than income to most people's explicit or implicit use of the many government services in protecting existing assets (including business contracts of all sorts).

    Private property -- sort of.

    Also, we'd have to continue with a practical approach to private property, but never forgetting that you can enjoy control because others choose to relinquish their claims so that you can enjoy that freedom for yourself (you "earned" it somehow). And we wouldn't have this massive gifting/willing of such exclusive privileges to just anyone you want, since people generally would not yield their claims to anyone but you (although they may trust your gifting judgement and so respect it).

     

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  56.  
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    Vic Kley, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 9:09pm

    Mike comes to my neighborhood to witness the corruption of a CS Professor

    Mike when are you going to be at another event in the Bay Area?

    As regards Lee against has he ever made a living creating truly new software (with the tremendous burden such creation entails in time and energy) it is not clear the answer is yes. And only a yes answer qualified him to speak for or against the existence of software patents.

    It would seem that Zeidman is also un qualified , as a salesman of software in fact he has no direct experience of novel code or crap code.

    By the way Mike thanks for telling us you are not only a shill for the fat cats but an ageist too. This is too much! MIKE SAYS

    "The audience, as is (unfortunately) typical at the Computer History Museum definitely skewed "older." I ended up at a table with some guys who worked at IBM many decades ago."

    Well Mike you are lucky! After all they left you untouched.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    staff, Aug 27th, 2011 @ 6:37am

    another biased article

    "Debate On Software Patents Fails To Convince Silicon Valley That Patents Increase Innovation"

    Sure, if the debate is between two large infringers.

    The Constitution says “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”. Therefore, if an invention is useful and promotes science, it should be patentable. It’s that simple.

    In Federalist No. 43, James Madison wrote regarding constitutional rights of inventors, "The utility of the clause will scarcely be questioned. The copyright of authors has been solemnly adjudged, in Great Britain, to be a right of common law. The right to useful inventions seems with equal reason to belong to the inventors. The public good fully coincides in both cases with the claims of the individuals."

    “Patent troll”

    Call it what you will...patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to pay”. This is just dissembling by large infringers to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft.

    Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

    For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html#pt.

     

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  58.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 27th, 2011 @ 8:20am

    Programmers

    "basically a collection of anti-patent shills, it's hard to take the vote seriously"

    Like Mike Masnick?

    Inventors are and always will be a minority in every art area. Where software is concerned it is going to be an even smaller minority.

    Most programmers do not have any engineering background. They do not have higher level math training. This is one reason why they cannot grasp how hardware and software are often interchangeable.

    I have both hardware and software background from coding in raw machine language to many higher level languages (about 45 years worth). I also have extensive hardware background including analog and digital. This is not common which is why most programmers are not capable of seeing how hardware and software are interchangeable.

    I have hired many engineers and programmers in the course of my career. I have found that most programmers have rigid thought processes, a trait which is good for being a drone who cranks out endless code with marginally different goals. It is not conducive to their ability to invent.

    These people's egos get in the way of their understanding the difference between their contribution and that of others whose skill set makes them inventors.

    In my opinion Mike Masnick suffers from the same problems I have seen in lower level programmers.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  59.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 27th, 2011 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: As a programmer

    Design patents are not broad, they only over what something looks like. They do not cover function.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  60.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 27th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re: As a programmer

    Even a programmer should be able to understand how narrow a design patent is. But then again, some are idiot savants.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  61.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 27th, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Re: Sharing is Necessary

    This post nicely demonstrates how managers usually lack the ability to create new solutions but are good at combining others solutions (inventions). This is typical of programmers and also large companies. Both groups love to talk about being innovators. The problem is that they rarely actually invent anything and when they do the inventions are usually minor incremental improvements. Just copying others inventions does not make these people and companies innovators.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  62.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 27th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Re: Troll Bait

    1) Mike Masnick cites other stooges material as "facts".

    2) Mike Masnick is very selective in what facts he tries to push, lying by omission.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Sharing is Necessary

    So, you believe that all people are born and raised in a vacuum, and therefore are not influenced by anything that preceded them?
    One of my points was that all innovation is based upon previous knowledge, and that the sharing of all knowledge is the best way to grow organically. Stop the sharing, slow the growth.
    Infecting the sharing with a tumor is slowing growth. More sharing begets more growth. Less patents begets more sharing. It is circular, and I believe accumulative. The growth can become exponential in either direction. Which direction do you want it to go?
    BTW, I noted that I worked for organizations large and small. Only some of them were short on innovation (related to their industry), and it wasn't necessarily related to size. Solutions often came out of the blue, but not out of a vacuum.

     

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  64.  
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    teka, Aug 28th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Programmers

    In other words, You are the only Real inventor.

    Sure, other people may create things, but they do not compare to your legacy of incredible thoughts and inventions based on your total understanding of all technology.

    Its good to see that you "INVENTORS" are a special class above mere creators, inventors and innovators. Don't let those peons and drones drag you down, right?

    Tek'a L. Rain
    Executive Director of things that I run from my basement.
    Senior Person of My Club
    Inventor of just as many licensed and produced products as RJR
    Washington, DC

     

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  65.  
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    teka, Aug 28th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Troll Bait

    Thanks for playing along, Ronnie

     

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  66.  
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    teka, Aug 28th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As a programmer

    How does being able to claim patent protection on the concept of a rectangle with rounded corners that fits in your hand "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts"?

     

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  67.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 28th, 2011 @ 4:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As a programmer

    A design patent is for appearance, not utility. A design patent is inherently very limited in scope. A utility patent covers the underlying process.

    Isn't it long past time that people on TechDIRT actually invest a bit of time into understanding what they comment on?

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  68.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 28th, 2011 @ 6:37pm

    Re: Re: Programmers

    "In other words, You are the only Real inventor."

    No, there are probably less than a million active inventors in the US at this time.

    "Sure, other people may create things"

    There is a huge difference between copying something and being the first to conceive it.

    Its good to see that you "INVENTORS" are a special class above mere creators, inventors and innovators."

    The people you are calling "creators, inventors and innovators." may create something, as in a product but they sure as hell are not inventing and they have no business calling themselves innovators.

    "Don't let those peons and drones drag you down, right?"

    Most professions have their drones but some have more, such as programmers. There are programmers who rise to the level of being inventors, but not many. The skills which it takes to be a good programmer are very different than what it takes to be an inventor. Some people have both characteristics but not many. Think of it as the difference between being a paramedic and an emergency room doctor. Clearly the paramedic has skills, but not anywhere what the e-room doctor has.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  69.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 28th, 2011 @ 6:47pm

    Re:

    Mike Masnick walks and talks like a thinly veiled PR hack. I don't think he ever considers anything which is not inline with an agenda. It sure is strange how his writings promote the agenda of big corporate patent pirates. I am sure that this is just an unfortunate coincidence.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  70.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 28th, 2011 @ 7:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Sharing is Necessary

    A patent is given in exchange for sharing knowledge. I was inventing long before I filed the first patent. The reason I did not file earlier is that big business owned several venues where the courts always condoned theft of inventions.

    For over a decade I always preserved my inventions as trade secrets. When I built products I went to great lengths to hide the essence of the invention. The end result was that I was not teaching the invention.

    One reason that technology has advanced at an ever increasing rate is that inventions are taught via patents.

    If the incentive to publish is taken away most inventors will put their efforts into developing technology which lends itself to trade secret protection. Investment capital will flow to those areas.

    Everyone needs to understand that existing companies are quite happy to have less disruptive markets, slower advances. Look at telephone companies before the Carterphone decision or at Honeywell cash cow thermostat which did not change for decades until Mike Levine started MagicStat.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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

  71.  
    icon
    Stephan Kinsella (profile), Aug 28th, 2011 @ 8:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sharing is Necessary

    One reason that technology has advanced at an ever increasing rate is that inventions are taught via patents.


    Pure assertion. There is no evidence of this.

    If the incentive to publish is taken away most inventors will put their efforts into developing technology which lends itself to trade secret protection. Investment capital will flow to those areas.


    Most technology cannot be protected by trade secret. The act of marketing and selling a given product reveals information to the world. How horrible that people learn from, emulate, and compete with others!

     

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

  72.  
    identicon
    teka, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As a programmer

    I know that there are differences between a design patent and a utility patent.

    The question that you did not care to answer was "How does being able to claim patent protection on the concept of a rectangle with rounded corners that fits in your hand 'promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts'?"

    It should be a simple question to answer for someone with your long and respected history, or at least your long list of titles tacked on to your posts.

    this is above and beyond other silly concerns and questions, like the thought that the shape may be dictated primarily by functionality (not something to be covered by a design patent) or possibly not Original enough, both of which are being or will be litigated soon iirc

     

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

  73.  
    identicon
    teka, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Programmers

    Understood, Mr.. I mean, Doctor President Riley Sir.

    Someone should really send that list of Real inventors, like yourself, over to the Patent office so they can start invalidating the claims of all these fake inventors who clog up the system with their foolishness.

     

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

  74.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 31st, 2011 @ 9:39am

    List of Real Inventors

    There is a list of real inventors in the patent database on www.USPTO.gov. While you are looking at real inventors be sure to study as many patents as possible. There is a gold mine of knowledge in the patent database. I don't want to hear any whining about your not understanding or seeing any value in what you read. Keep trying until you succeed, it will transform you and your world view.

    It is time to stop wallowing in ignorance.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    teka, Aug 31st, 2011 @ 11:22pm

    Re: List of Real Inventors

    http://1.usa.gov/pFKVQq

    I don't know what "mine" you have been digging in, but those nuggets are not gold.

    It is time to stop wallowing in ignorance.


    Thank goodness!
    What career are you planning to employ your talents in next?

     

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

  76.  
    identicon
    Clarence Boddicker, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:17pm

    Riley / Hot Air

    Hey Riley,

    Can you come down off of your throne and help me over here?

    I have a hot air balloon and it's not filled up. Seems like you have no shortage of hot air, can I borrow some from you?

    I'll pay you back with royalties I get from my software, which unlike your puke, is bringing in real revenue.

    You're a dinosaur and you're bitter about it. If you're so creative and clever, how about if we duke it out in a programming contest? I've designed the microcode in processors, and I've written large-scale simulations in C++, and everything in between.

    I hereby challenge you, your beard and your ill-fitting polyester suit to a challenge. Someone will post a programming program, and whoever writes the best-performing (fastest) code gets all of your patents. I can use them to wallpaper my son's room.

    By the way, you share a first name with a certain clown who peddles greasy burgers and nutritionless crap. I see an easy joke here...

     

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


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