If The Patents Are Substantially The Same, Then Shouldn't They Be Invalid?

from the just-saying dept

Here we go again with patent battles that pretty much hurt everyone. The latest concerns WiFi security methods with two separate companies arguing over patents that both companies applied for. One has been granted a patent that the other says is "substantially the same invention" as a patent they filed earlier, but which has yet to be approved. So, how did the one patent get approved earlier? Apparently because it's a narrower set of claims, even though the other company says the other patent is narrower. If you look through the various patents that have been made public, they certainly seem fairly broad -- which, again, goes against the point of patents. However, much more important is the basic fact that if these two companies were both working independently on "substantially the same invention" and clearly came to very similar end results, neither should be patentable. Patents are only supposed to be granted for inventions that are "non-obvious to those skilled in the art." The fact that multiple groups of people "skilled in the art" came to basically the same conclusion certainly suggests that it was where the state of the art was heading anyway -- and, thus, "obvious" and not deserving of patent protection. There was nothing actually innovative here or a breakthrough. It was simply the natural course of the market driven by demand in the market for better WiFi security. Why should one company get a government-granted monopoly on such a system?
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  • identicon
    Napoleon Dynamite, 28 Feb 2006 @ 11:57am

    Here we go again...

    Idiots!

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

  • identicon
    MissingFrame, 28 Feb 2006 @ 1:05pm

    Two coming to the same conclusion does not mean it

    The argument that an invention is an obvious conclusion can't rely on the fact two companies come up with it around the same time, if indeed it's ONLY TWO companies. Just because someone else is a similar genius doesn't invalidate your genius.

    Example: the integrated circuit

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 28 Feb 2006 @ 1:33pm

      Re: Two coming to the same conclusion does not mea

      The argument that an invention is an obvious conclusion can't rely on the fact two companies come up with it around the same time, if indeed it's ONLY TWO companies. Just because someone else is a similar genius doesn't invalidate your genius.

      It's not invalidating the genius, but it should invalidate the patents. Otherwise how is it fair to grant the monopoly to one and not the other?

      What's wrong with just letting them compete in the marketplace?

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

      • identicon
        Ed, 28 Feb 2006 @ 2:49pm

        Re: Two coming to the same conclusion does not mea

        There's nothing wrong with letting them compete in a marketplace. A patent rewards the first to solve the problem by giving them a patent on THEIR solution. But there is nothing wrong with a competitor finding another solution to do the same thing.

        For example, Ethernet was a great protocol for the LAN, but it's not the only one. 3COM pushed Ethernet, Banyan solved the same solution with Vines, then we get Token Ring, etc etc.

        The problem comes from patents which patent something too broad, which cover things like "using light waves to transmit information" which could be construed to include radio, TV, 802.11, etc. IMHO a patent should be granted to a specific methodology of solving a problem, not to defining all solutions to the problems. Then when Edison invents his light bulb, he can own it and be rewarded for his efforts, but he can also compete with the guys down the street who invented the flourescent tubes. The problem isn't in granting patents, it's that they are too broad.

        Today people file for "Methods of harvesting plant based materials" instead of the more proper "cotton gin".

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

      • identicon
        angry dude, 1 Mar 2006 @ 8:21am

        Some tech education for Mike

        >What's wrong with just letting them compete in the marketplace?< br>Mike, are you a real idiot, or you just pretend to be an idiot here ?
        Have you ever tried to "compete" with e.g. MS ?
        Even with the best products, lots of financing and best people you stand no chance of sirviving...
        Remember what happened to Netscape ?
        Same thing happened to countless other companies trying to "compete" in client-side applications, like web-browsers.
        On the other hand, for server-based applications we've all seen the rise of Google, due to their brilliant search technologu, of course, bit also because of their minimal patent exposure and good trade secret protection for the server-side applications.
        So for some products trade secrets work, but for others they just don't.
        A little tech education for you, my retarded friend...

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2006 @ 9:19am

          Re: Some tech education for Mike

          Silly example. A software patent is not going to give you an edge against any company like MS that stockpiles patents (unless you are a patent troll and aren't actually in the business of making software). IBM, MS, etc. own patents to almost everything you could possibly do on a computer. The little guy's patent is not going to frighten them. They could crush him with theirs.

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

    • identicon
      Sean Smith, 28 Feb 2006 @ 6:37pm

      Re: Two coming to the same conclusion does not mea

      Patents for the telephone where filed on the same day by Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell.

      Bell was first by hours.

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


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