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Are most software patents complete b******s?


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Old 13-07-2011, 21:45
alanwarwic
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How can you really describe software as a 'find'?

So should Rod Stewart have got a patent and sued Bonnie Tyler?
I suppose he had no shareholders.
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Old 13-07-2011, 22:01
CrabbitGit
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Software patents, especially under US law are bloody stupid.

How ever that is the way the world currently works,

Companies now take patents as defensive matters as opposed to challenging progress.
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Old 13-07-2011, 22:11
Matt D
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I don't think software patents are anywhere near as ridiculous as gene patents, but that's for another forum...
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Old 13-07-2011, 22:25
CrabbitGit
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Genes are being patented?
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Old 13-07-2011, 22:27
CrabbitGit
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Genes are bening patented? HOW THE **** DOES MY DNA GET PATENTED
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Old 13-07-2011, 22:32
alanwarwic
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Something to do with the stitching in Levis?
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Old 13-07-2011, 22:37
Matt D
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Genes are bening patented? HOW THE **** DOES MY DNA GET PATENTED
Been happening for years...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_patent

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...ssuesexplained

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/201...-gene-patents/


But as I said, probably best for a different forum than Computing
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Old 13-07-2011, 23:21
Lyricalis
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I'm really not in favour of software patents, I don't know many software developers who are. It always seems to be the business people who like them.
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Old 13-07-2011, 23:34
whoever,hey
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Twit podcasts show how mad they are! Sick.
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Old 13-07-2011, 23:56
Roush
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Stop scaremongering. Gene patenting is about protecting modified gene sequences where astronomical amounts of time and money have gone into genetic engineering to achieve specific things. It's no different to innovation in any other field.

From one of your own links:

these patents cannot be applied to the naturally occurring genes in humans or any other naturally occurring organism
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Old 14-07-2011, 00:41
RobinOfLoxley
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Most multi nationals nick each others stuff.

They sue when the Legal Dept takes their finger out.
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Old 14-07-2011, 00:48
Matt D
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Stop scaremongering. Gene patenting is about protecting modified gene sequences where astronomical amounts of time and money have gone into genetic engineering to achieve specific things. It's no different to innovation in any other field.

From one of your own links:
Not just "modified gene sequences where astronomical amounts of time and money have gone into genetic engineering to achieve specific things".

The full quote you posted from my Wikipedia link:
Patents on genes have only been granted on isolated gene sequences with known functions, and these patents cannot be applied to the naturally occurring genes in humans or any other naturally occurring organism.
Gene in natural state: Can't be patented.

Isolated sequence with a known function: Can be patented, without having been "modified" or "genetically engineered", and even though it is not an invention.

From the Grauniad link:

So what living things can be patented?
Naturally-occurring life forms, from plankton to people, cannot. But genetically engineered plants and animals, such as GM maize or lab mice designed to be prone to cancer, can. So can the naturally-occurring chemical codes and substances which allow all plants and animals, including humans, to function on a cellular level - like genes, or hormones - as long as the 'inventor' can specify a use for them.

If someone has patented something which occurs naturally in my body, do I have to pay them?
No. Confusingly, a naturally-occurring gene can be patented as an isolated sequence, but not a gene in its natural state.

See also the Myriad case regarding the BRCA1/BRCA2 patents: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Associa...ademark_Office

Myriad did actually lose, in a surprise ruling, but an appeal is underway...

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Association for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is a lawsuit challenging the legality of patenting human genes in the United States, specifically challenging patents over breast cancer genes BRCA1/2 held by Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah. The ACLU and Public Patent Foundation represent the plaintiffs, and Jones Day represents Myriad. The case was heard in the Southern District of New York.

The declaratory judgment suit was originally filed against the Myriad, the Trustees of the University of Utah, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), but the PTO was severed from the case by the district court.

On March 29, 2010, Judge Robert W. Sweet issued a 156-page decision, which declared the patents invalid.[1] Newsweek declared it a "surprise ruling".[2] Sweet's decision stated: "DNA's existence in an 'isolated' form alters neither this fundamental quality of DNA as it exists in the body nor the information it encodes. Therefore, the patents at issue directed to 'isolated DNA' containing sequences found in nature are unsustainable as a matter of law and are deemed unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. 101." The decision also found that comparisons of DNA sequences involved in these patents are abstract mental processes, therefore also unpatentable.[3] The decision is being appealed.[4][5]

About 2000 human genes have been patented in the United States before this ruling.[4]

Myriad appealed, challenging the court's jurisdiction and its decision. Myriad argued that it had not accused the plaintiffs of infringement, so they lacked standing to file a declaratory judgment suit. Myriad also raised two arguments in favor of patent eligibility. As of February 2011, the matter is pending before the Federal Circuit, and briefing is complete.

I think there is a big difference between patenting a drug (invention) or testing method (invention) versus an actual isolated gene sequence (discovery).
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Old 14-07-2011, 20:01
whoever,hey
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Genes are bening patented? HOW THE **** DOES MY DNA GET PATENTED
Your genes aren't unique to you, so it isn't yours either.
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Old 14-07-2011, 20:24
Brush Master
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I realize the debate isn't new, but I never quite understood why all software patents should be a bad thing. I am sure there are many silly ones, and more silly ones being applied for, just like with any other area of invention.

Suppose you crack a really nice problem. A super-fast super-secure encryption algorithm, the ultimate orthogonal basis for similarity search, the ultimate lotto number prediction algorithm, stuff like that. Surely I'd file for a patent if I see one of two things happening:

(a) my invention is such that someone actually would want to license it, or
(b) somebody else might file the same or similar before my product is ready, so can prevent me from marketing my idea with my own product.

Perfectly valid reasons, I should think. The patent offices' job includes to ensure the invention is actually new and a true invention in the sense of a novelty improvement, etc.
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Old 14-07-2011, 20:58
whoever,hey
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My issue is when they are blindingly obvious solutions.
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Old 15-07-2011, 00:32
pobice
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I realize the debate isn't new, but I never quite understood why all software patents should be a bad thing. I am sure there are many silly ones, and more silly ones being applied for, just like with any other area of invention.

Suppose you crack a really nice problem. A super-fast super-secure encryption algorithm, the ultimate orthogonal basis for similarity search, the ultimate lotto number prediction algorithm, stuff like that. Surely I'd file for a patent if I see one of two things happening:

(a) my invention is such that someone actually would want to license it, or
(b) somebody else might file the same or similar before my product is ready, so can prevent me from marketing my idea with my own product.

Perfectly valid reasons, I should think. The patent offices' job includes to ensure the invention is actually new and a true invention in the sense of a novelty improvement, etc.
Problem isn't it doesn't work like that. We need to find someway of "reseting" things so it does.
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Old 15-07-2011, 12:36
The Rat
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Problem with many software patents is that they barely, if at all, meet the core criteria of patentability. As a result we end up with copious amounts or trivial and basic software concepts patented which has a destructive effect rather than a protective effect for the industry.

Dave
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Old 15-07-2011, 14:10
Brush Master
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Problem with many software patents is that they barely, if at all, meet the core criteria of patentability. As a result we end up with copious amounts or trivial and basic software concepts patented which has a destructive effect rather than a protective effect for the industry.
I understand that. I agree. I don't want the right-click patented either. Rather than blaming software patents with foul-language in umbrella accusations (see OP's chosen subject to this thread), the blame should fall on those filing, and on those approving, any patent application that doesn't meet the core criteria of patentability. Maybe those criteria need reviewing.

I remain convinced that software inventions should be patentable in principle.
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Old 15-07-2011, 14:59
The Rat
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I understand that. I agree. I don't want the right-click patented either. Rather than blaming software patents with foul-language in umbrella accusations (see OP's chosen subject to this thread), the blame should fall on those filing, and on those approving, any patent application that doesn't meet the core criteria of patentability. Maybe those criteria need reviewing.
On that I agree. Unfortunately when people make bad decisions on something, that something gets a bad name to the extent people think it is better to have none than any of it. The views on software patents are certainly a spectrum.

The patentability criteria seems to work perfectly well in many other spheres therefore I don't necessarily think the criteria needs reviewing other than to make the it consistent for a universal and ubiquitously distributed product such as software. My criticism has always been on the application of the existing criteria.

Dave
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Old 15-07-2011, 15:26
evil c
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Thank God Tim Berners-Lee didn't patent the Web or even worse sell it to Microsoft, otherwise we'd all be subject to their restrictive licensing agreements and it'd have a really silly name or number and updates every other day.
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Old 15-07-2011, 19:11
JPB2
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Some are complete rubbish, particularly by the time that the European patent lawyers have had their hands on them .

The biggest single problem with software patents is that most of them originate from US companies and as I understand it the standards for US patents are much less rigorous than for UK or European patents.
In addition to this any patent infringement cases in the US are tried by a jury, not - as in the UK - by expert judges without a jury. This means that the lawyers just need to convince a jury that they have a case - which is much easier than convincing a judge who is expert in the area.
Also, the costs of challenging a patent in the US courts are very high, so it really is only the big companies who can afford to do this.

Having worked in the past for a company who felt obliged to try for patents and which had to worry about whether or not our software infringed patents I have had various meetings with patent lawyers.
In one case the patent lawyers had a watching brief on a European patent application from HP which our software might have breached. That particular one started off claiming a patent on a complex colour matching UI, but by the time the European patent lawyers had challenged it they had reduced it to a patent on the idea of a "default" button... and the last I heard they were still arguing.

BTW: before anyone says that everything has "default" buttons - this particular patent was lodged in about 1995 when they were much less common, although the discussions we had were that we thought the lawyers should have been able to find "prior art" which invalidated that claim too.
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Old 15-07-2011, 20:01
Matt D
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I read this today...

App developers withdraw from US as patent fears reach 'tipping point'

Originally Posted by The Guardian
Charles Arthur
guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 July 2011 19.27 BST

App developers are withdrawing their products for sale from the US versions of Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market for fear of being sued by companies which own software patents - just as a Mumbai-based company has made a wide-ranging claim against Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and a number of other companies over Twitter-style feeds, for which it claims it has applied for a patent.

Software patent owners in the US have latched onto potential revenue streams to be earned from independent developers by suing over perceived infringements of their intellectual property - which can be expensive for developers to defend even if they are successful.

Now developers in Europe are retreating from the US to avoid the expense and concern such "patent trolls" are causing.

Simon Maddox, a UK developer, has removed all his apps from US app stores on both iOS and Android for fear of being sued by Lodsys, a company which has already sued a number of iOS and Android developers which it says infringe its software patent.

(snip)
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Old 17-07-2011, 21:56
alanwarwic
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Here's another one.

"And that's why the patent problem is such a mess"
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/tech...artphones.html

It seems that like Nokia one against Apple, if the target companies has money then its always worth a punt.
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Old 24-07-2011, 17:25
alanwarwic
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Another report on the Lodsys one.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14254744

It's all very surreal with Lodsys also staying fairly silent on the matter. Twilight zone stuff for any author getting sued?
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Old 24-07-2011, 21:39
TheBigM
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The problem is not patents as a concept but in execution things are being given patents that are too generic to be given patents for.

E.g. the technology MS developed in getting translation of movements in the kinect to near instant speed should be patentable IMO but the general concept of motion tracking should not be patentable.

Conceptually, property rights as a reward for undertaking the cost of risky R&D (i.e. patents) are very important. Problem in that china doesn't respect them.
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