Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 1st Nov 2011 19:02 UTC
Legal So, the White House has this site where American citizens can set up petitions, and once they've gained enough support in the form of signatures, the White House will respond. One of the very first petitions added to the site called for the abolition of software patents - both issued and for the future. The petition gained enough support, so the White House has responded. Hit read more for a summary of the respons.
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by Hiev on Tue 1st Nov 2011 19:22 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

The petition spins around open source, but software patents not only affects open source, so I fail yo undertastand.

Edited 2011-11-01 19:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Exactly...
by galvanash on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 00:08 UTC in reply to "..."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

...a full 20% or so of the white house response attempts to address the concerns of the open source community - even though there is no mention of open source at all in the petition.

The reality is that software patents are much less of a problem for open source developers than for commercial developers. There are hundreds if not thousands of thriving open source projects that either directly or indirectly infringe on existing patents. For the most part no one cares and no one ever will - unless the open source project is monetized it isn't of much concern to patent holders.

I'm not saying patents are not a problem for OSS, but the whitehouse painting the problem in terms of OSS is disheartening at best and deceitful at worse. My only explanation for them doing so is so they can spin it to sound like the petition was being backed by all the "communist crazies" (but really, we like you crazy guys ;) ... It overall sounded very insulting to me.

The people really getting hurt are small commercial software developers which operate with the constant threat of patent lawsuits hanging over their heads. No OSS involved.

That said, I think Thom's summery manages to sum it up perfectly... I never had any notion that this whitehouse petition crap would amount to anything useful.

Reply Score: 6

Economically Centred Gov't
by fadingdust on Tue 1st Nov 2011 19:29 UTC
fadingdust
Member since:
2009-11-05

Please tell me somewhere there's a less money-bag-centric national government..

I'm honestly asking, I could use some hope

Reply Score: 3

RE: Economically Centred Gov't
by cmchittom on Tue 1st Nov 2011 19:36 UTC in reply to "Economically Centred Gov't"
cmchittom Member since:
2011-03-18

Please tell me somewhere there's a less money-bag-centric national government..

I'm honestly asking, I could use some hope


You could try Oceania or Eastasia. They've got their problems, but being money-bag-centric isn't one of them.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Economically Centred Gov't
by zima on Tue 1st Nov 2011 20:25 UTC in reply to "Economically Centred Gov't"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Please tell me somewhere there's a less money-bag-centric national government..

I'm honestly asking, I could use some hope

Bhutan, possibly? ;) At least judging from one curiosity which came from them... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_national_happiness (Bhutan does seem "strangely" high on, linked in that art, Satisfaction with Life Index)

Maybe there is something to it...
http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/ratrace.html
[...]
America in the 1950s was a middle-class society in a way that America in the 1990s is not. That is, it had a much flatter income distribution, so that people had much more sense of sharing a common national lifestyle. And people in that relatively equal America felt good about their lives, even though by modern standards, they were poor--poorer, if Boskin is correct, than we previously thought. Doesn't this mean, then, that having a more or less equal distribution of income makes for a happier society, even if it does not raise anyone's material standard of living? That is, you can use the fact that people did not feel poor in the 1950s as an argument for a more radical egalitarianism than even most leftists would be willing to espouse.

You could even argue that American society in the 1990s is an engine that maximizes consumption yet minimizes satisfaction.
[...]

Alas, people think they want what will make them more happy, and so their govs more or less reflect such desires; people like their myths (hilariously, the myth of "good old times half a century ago" seems, to me, to be much more widespread among those who are, in (very) short, anti-socialist/anti-evil ;) )

Edited 2011-11-01 20:28 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Economically Centred Gov't
by fretinator on Tue 1st Nov 2011 20:42 UTC in reply to "Economically Centred Gov't"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Please tell me somewhere there's a less money-bag-centric national government..

I'm honestly asking, I could use some hope


01. Xanadu
02. Valhalla
03. Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan
04. Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
05. Narnia
06. Quahog
07. Netherlands (of course)
08. Ubuntia
09. Mountain View - where noevil beans are grown
10. Greece - it's all gone!

Edited 2011-11-01 20:44 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

07. Netherlands (of course)


Considering my government's nose has traditionally been lodged firmly in US president du jour's ass, I don't think we should be on that list.

Reply Score: 2

fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Considering my government's nose has traditionally been lodged firmly in US president du jour's ass, I don't think we should be on that list.


I'll take them off, but I am leaving Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan. They have caused no problems lately.

Reply Score: 3

adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

Oh, stop blaming America for all your problems. Your government represents you. If they have their nose stuck up anything, you have only yourselves to blame.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Economically Centred Gov't
by helf on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 20:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Economically Centred Gov't"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

Thank you.

But you have to realize you and I are in the minority on the internet when it comes to this thought process :p

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Economically Centred Gov't
by zima on Sun 6th Nov 2011 20:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Economically Centred Gov't"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh, stop blaming America for all your problems. Your government represents you. If they have their nose stuck up anything, you have only yourselves to blame.

I'm the first to argue that govs are, ultimately, reflections of their societies.

But, you know, the point such as yours would generally come much better across if you would NOT be talking specifically about a major superpower, a major influencing force of the last few decades ;) (so on a time scales where the world very much still lives with the consequences, very actively feels the results)

Abut one which, say, also has its share of coup d'etat events, is at least one of the biggest supporters of such (beware, if you're a small country which doesn't has its nose stuck up the right place & you're not alligned with some other bully; well, and if you're a country of "lesser" people ...~Caucasians are of more concern to the world, it seems)
Or even of dubiously legal wars. And with among the most active intelligence agencies, also within Europe (pdf warning http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML... ). Or allied - again, within still very relevant historical background - with (often installed) regimes which are kept in power via violence, also extreme; systematically supporting such as long as they are on "the good side" (with noses stuck in the right ass)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Economically Centred Gov't
by Hussein on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 04:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Economically Centred Gov't"
Hussein Member since:
2008-11-22

Best comment I've read all day.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Economically Centred Gov't
by UglyKidBill on Tue 1st Nov 2011 23:59 UTC in reply to "Economically Centred Gov't"
UglyKidBill Member since:
2005-07-27

Brasil !!!

They actually took real, effective massures to benefit their citizens. Even the poor ones!

He probably made some mistakes (I'm not aware of any important one though...) but I would definetively vote for Lula if there was a "President of the Earth" position ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Economically Centred Gov't
by timosa on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 05:37 UTC in reply to "Economically Centred Gov't"
timosa Member since:
2005-07-06

Recently I saw this thoughtful article in Spiegel and somehow it fits in this setting so well...

Has America Become an Oligarchy?
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,793896,00.html

Reply Score: 2

mistersoft
Member since:
2011-01-05

As quoteth Ice Cube:
You can do it, (if you (all)) put your back(s) in to it(!)
I can do it, Put your ass into it
Put your back into it
Put your ass into it
----------------
slightly off topic there, but until the
median opinion is that this stuff matters, and that our policy makers REALLY really really aren't on the take and that that matters too, we're pretty stuffed.

so we're gonna be stuffed for a long time..

Maybe the most reasonable people should just ignore the silliest of the IP laws, maybe!
works in china, or does it

Reply Score: 3

gregorlowski
Member since:
2006-03-20

I'm a US citizen. I just created a whitehouse.gov account to sign this petition, but it seems that it is impossible to sign a petition once there has been an official response. If I'm wrong and I simply cannot find the link/button then please correct me.

Otherwise, nice strategy politicians. Make a site that allows citizens to voice their opinions, and monitor how many people express support for an opinion that the establishment/lobbies/etc would never support. Then write an official response explaining how the the government sympathizes and takes steps that show that they care (even though these steps do nothing to address the demand). Then lock the petition so nobody else can sign.

So 14K people responded to this within the course of a few weeks but any further support is silenced, and if people look back on it in the future, it seems as if only 14K people would support this. It's only a tiny fraction of the population. I guess the position is not popular at all. The overwhelming majority must love software patents, and that's why the US government will continue to issue them -- because they support the position of the 99%.

Reply Score: 7

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Otherwise, nice strategy politicians. Make a site that allows citizens to voice their opinions, and monitor how many people express support for an opinion that the establishment/lobbies/etc would never support. Then write an official response explaining how the the government sympathizes and takes steps that show that they care (even though these steps do nothing to address the demand). Then lock the petition so nobody else can sign.


LOL, are you really surprised though? I've already told Thom the deal (and of course got modded down for speaking the truth):

http://www.osnews.com/permalink?494526

So NOW do you believe it, Thom? All your little rants and petitions don't mean a goddamn thing, because the people you are pleading to do NOT work for you; they work for somebody else. And in this system, it's going to be damn near impossible to elect people in charge who aren't bought and paid for already.

Thus, if you want to make any sort of REAL change, you've got two options:

1. Pool your money together and pay the government more than the corporations do
2. Take over by force

So, if you haven't gotten the message yet, the government does NOT give a shit about you, and probably never will.

Reply Score: 4

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

So NOW do you believe it, Thom?


Wait - I think I must have missed the part where I actually disagreed with you.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

Though I agree changes are more likely to happen with greater money and force, what exactly is the problem with putting these things out in the open for all of us to talk about? Would you have all of us shut up and not talk about things which are wrong with the world because those who are in charge don't want it to change? Would that make the world any better? Why shouldn't we talk about these things?

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Though I agree changes are more likely to happen with greater money and force, what exactly is the problem with putting these things out in the open for all of us to talk about? Would you have all of us shut up and not talk about things which are wrong with the world because those who are in charge don't want it to change?


Aren't the problems already obvious? Have you not clearly defined them? You and I already know that talking about these things is not going to make any sort of changes happen, so what is there left to talk about?

I think we agree that in order to make changes, you either have to buy off the government or take it over by force, and I don't think ya'll have THAT much money, so .... ;) The 'taking over by force' part might seem a little extreme, but if our government was taken over by an invading army, then you would realize that it was the only way. And our government HAS been taken over, though in this case, the people in power just willingly handed it over to the corporations.

So what you REALLY should be doing is exchanging names and addresses of the worst of the corporate CEOs, and deciding who's going to take them out. Because I promise you... these f**kers are not going to care at ALL about anything you have to say, until their rich buddies start showing up in the obituaries, and the government is not going to do anything for you either. Even if you vote them out of office, the corporations will just buy new politicians.

Or, maybe we should just sit around and talk about the problems some more? ;)

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

"Or, maybe we should just sit around and talk about the problems some more?"

So why are you here? Aren't you being a hypocrite?

Reply Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

So why are you here? Aren't you being a hypocrite?


I'm here because I want to read about operating systems and other tech, and not this political bullshit about patents and copyright that Thom keeps throwing up almost on a daily basis.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

"I'm here because I want to read about operating systems and other tech, and not this political bullshit about patents and copyright that Thom keeps throwing up almost on a daily basis."

Yes, but how is your complaining more justifiable than anyone else's? You seem sick of listening to other people complain, but you're doing it too.

What makes your desire to cease software patent discussion more important than someone else's desire to continue talking about it?

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

What makes your desire to cease software patent discussion more important than someone else's desire to continue talking about it?


Haven't I covered this already... at least twice in this thread? The software patent system is broken - you know it, I know it, Thom knows it, the government knows it, and anybody who's read a tech blog in the last 5 years knows it. Hasn't this subject been beaten to death already? What could there possibly be left to discuss? Posting another 5,000 rants about it isn't going to make it more/less true.

Perhaps you wish to talk about it because you want the situation to change, but as we have already discovered, talking and petitions don't equal to change. The government just shut down this petition and told the 14,000 people who already signed it to go f**k themselves, so what does that tell you?

Reply Score: 1

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Aren't the problems already obvious? Have you not clearly defined them? You and I already know that talking about these things is not going to make any sort of changes happen, so what is there left to talk about?


They are not obvious to everyone. And I don't know about you, but in addition to rambling in the forums about software patents some people here actually privately "educate" their "representatives".
Just because you're not in a position to do that doesn't mean everyone else should just shut-up.I

Reply Score: 3

umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

So, if you haven't gotten the message yet, the government does NOT give a shit about you, and probably never will.


Call it a hunch, but i think you get mod'd down because you're a douche.

Reply Score: 3

melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

You are, of course, 1000% correct.

Option 2 is looking very nice to be entirely honest - it is the ONLY way that the people will re-assert some honesty in our "elected"government(s). Sadly, the majority of our population is brainwashed, idiotic, lemming-like creatures who wouldn't get off their asses for the good of society if it hit them on the head.

Dave

Reply Score: 2

abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Thus, if you want to make any sort of REAL change, you've got two options:

1. Pool your money together and pay the government more than the corporations do
2. Take over by force


You're leaving out other options. This IS a democracy. What we need is major campaign finance reform, probably on the level of a constitutional ammendment. Constitutional ammendments are voted on by the states so federal politicians and their corporate cronies have less control over the outcome.

Reply Score: 3

rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

Constitutional ammendments are voted on by the states so federal politicians and their corporate cronies have less control over the outcome.


That is only kinda true. There are two ways for a constitutional amendment to be kicked off. The first is for two thirds of the members in both the House and the Senate passing the amendment. The second is for a Constitutional Convention to be called for by two thirds of the legislatures of the States. Once either of those two things happen the amendment requires ratification by three fourths of the states. However, only first process (amendment going through the House and the Senate) has ever actually been used. So, for all intents and purposes, an amendment requires Federal support first.

Reply Score: 3

abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

That is only kinda true. There are two ways for a constitutional amendment to be kicked off. The first is for two thirds of the members in both the House and the Senate passing the amendment. The second is for a Constitutional Convention to be called for by two thirds of the legislatures of the States. Once either of those two things happen the amendment requires ratification by three fourths of the states. However, only first process (amendment going through the House and the Senate) has ever actually been used. So, for all intents and purposes, an amendment requires Federal support first.


Just because it hasn't been used before doesn't mean it isn't possible. In fact I think this course of action is now the MOST likely way we will see ANY constitutional ammendments. There is much more compromise and sanity on the state level (for the most part) than the federal level. It's obvious that an ammendment will NEVER make it though THIS congress. On the other hand every state is hurting now and congress isn't doing ANYTHING about it. Unlike recent memory, the states have been ahead of the Fed in many regards when it comes to things like equal rights, campaign finance reform, prohibition reform, etc. If anything the states are the MOST LIKELY place an ammendment will originate these days.

Reply Score: 3

rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

"That is only kinda true. There are two ways for a constitutional amendment to be kicked off. The first is for two thirds of the members in both the House and the Senate passing the amendment. The second is for a Constitutional Convention to be called for by two thirds of the legislatures of the States. Once either of those two things happen the amendment requires ratification by three fourths of the states. However, only first process (amendment going through the House and the Senate) has ever actually been used. So, for all intents and purposes, an amendment requires Federal support first.


Just because it hasn't been used before doesn't mean it isn't possible. In fact I think this course of action is now the MOST likely way we will see ANY constitutional ammendments. There is much more compromise and sanity on the state level (for the most part) than the federal level. It's obvious that an ammendment will NEVER make it though THIS congress. On the other hand every state is hurting now and congress isn't doing ANYTHING about it. Unlike recent memory, the states have been ahead of the Fed in many regards when it comes to things like equal rights, campaign finance reform, prohibition reform, etc. If anything the states are the MOST LIKELY place an ammendment will originate these days.
"

That sounds great in theory. The problem is Constitutional Convention as used in the constitution isn't defined. Scholars have questioned what it would look like and how it would work. It could conceivably take years just to decide the framework under which it will operate and even longer to seat members to get to work. it is a highly dubious proposition that any amendments will actually come from the states. On the flip side, it is absolutely true that the tea partiers in the House won't let anyone accomplish anything so depending on what the next election looks like spending several years might be easier.

Reply Score: 3

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


LOL, are you really surprised though? I've already told Thom the deal (and of course got modded down for speaking the truth):

http://www.osnews.com/permalink?494526

You got modded down because you where just moaning about people reporting on the patent situation. Thus this article doesn't prove your point right as your point was that nobody should bother talking about patents - which is completely the wrong attitude (and again, why you got modded down).

/IF/ your point was that we should keep raising awareness and campaigning for change, but that change is unlikely to happen, then you would have been right and you would have been voted up accordingly.

Edited 2011-11-02 12:58 UTC

Reply Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Petition is locked. Start a new petition.

How many times can the same topic be re-worded and supported by "the people" before they start to take more notice than a token page of "Government knows best now shut-up and eat your vegetables"?

Looks like they could do with some help changing the default Droopal icon in the browser tab too.

Reply Score: 4

jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

A new petition on software patents has already been created:
https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/pursue-software-pat...

Reply Score: 1

Nice Recap
by Alfman on Tue 1st Nov 2011 20:45 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

"Nice arguments you got there, but those suits have large bags of money, so... We don't really give a crap about your arguments."

It really captures the spirit of our patent policy alot better than the whitehouse's explaination did!

It looks like they don't allow more signatures, is that right?

Reply Score: 4

Petition to take Petitions seriously
by Alfman on Tue 1st Nov 2011 20:54 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26



I registered at that site the other day specifically to sign that one ;)

Here's another one worth watching:

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/stop-e-parasite-act...

Reply Score: 4

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm but a poor old world sod. Can't sign 'm.

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

These are the responses you get from emailing your congressman : stock responses that let you know (s)he your concerns for our future, while listing things they have already done which do not address the issue. Official policy is not going to be changed, re-examined, or rethought by this petition system

Reply Score: 4

"Innovation"... ugh..
by JacobMunoz on Tue 1st Nov 2011 21:34 UTC
JacobMunoz
Member since:
2006-03-17

You hear this repulsive buzzword from politicians all the time .. "Innovation" .. and they complain businesses and engineers aren't doing it - at the same time they make the patent system even worse. From what I understand of the latest "first-to-file" system is that corporate espionage, theft, and invasion of personal rights will only get worse - and big corporations will receive even more reward for it. Whoever gets through the patent office first wins, so of course a big well-funded IP venture group with lots of lawyers will fly right past REAL individual developers.

I understand there is a need for profit to be returned for the research, but that's what secrecy is for.. you know, that thing nobody pays attention to. All the big corporations skimped on security, got hacked, and are now relying on patents to protect them from their own negligence. And the worst companies buy patents instead of developing the technology - just to go around suing anyone they can. Design copyrights (ART!) will protect your product, but the research behind it is the part you don't release if money is your concern.

I'm currently working on a programming language I would like to open source, but terrified of all this patent bullsh_t - I just want to write my code, without the threat of some scheming lawyers showing up one day. Kill All Patents - copyright law is enough to address real art. To copyright a concept is to steal the rights of others - whether they learned it from you or not, it is totally different from art.

I have no problem whatsoever with someone expanding on my idea with citation of my work IF they're using it. Of course if their work is identical to mine without citation, that is clearly a copyright infringement - but that's different from something that "seems" similar in concept. I can't BAN everyone from competing with my ideas, that's just retarded. It is the epitome of retarded.

Salvador DalĂ­ did not patent melting clocks - he would just laugh at all this.

Reply Score: 4

you have a voice
by stabbyjones on Tue 1st Nov 2011 22:08 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

but no one really cares what you have to say.

Reply Score: 4

blah
by TechGeek on Tue 1st Nov 2011 22:38 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

Most of our politicians need their positions revoked at the end of a gun. Eventually only honest people will run for office.

Reply Score: 1

RE: blah
by testman on Tue 1st Nov 2011 23:41 UTC in reply to "blah"
testman Member since:
2007-10-15

Most of our politicians need their positions revoked at the end of a gun. Eventually only honest people will run for office.

Hahaha! A country run bloodstained, genocidal revolutionaries? But hey, at least they're "honest"!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: blah - read American history?
by jabbotts on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 12:31 UTC in reply to "RE: blah"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

If you've read much American history, you'd find your comment pretty funny.

Reply Score: 2

testman Member since:
2007-10-15

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and admit that I did find my comparison rather amusing. :-)

Edited 2011-11-03 00:04 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

A new petition for eliminating software patents. (Yes it's futile, but at least our level of frustration can be made known)

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/pursue-software-pat...

"The Obama Administration's response to a previous petition shamefully attempted to absolve the President of responsibility and placate us with the toothless America Invents Act. We summarily reject his response and demand immediate action."

Edited 2011-11-02 02:16 UTC

Reply Score: 3

cpuobsessed Member since:
2009-06-09

A new petition for eliminating software patents. (Yes it's futile, but at least our level of frustration can be made known)

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/pursue-software-pat...

"The Obama Administration's response to a previous petition shamefully attempted to absolve the President of responsibility and placate us with the toothless America Invents Act. We summarily reject his response and demand immediate action."


Signed!
Considering the fact that they raised the required number of signatures to 25000, we all need to sign it fast!

Reply Score: 1

If Democracy could change the world...
by axilmar on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 09:28 UTC
axilmar
Member since:
2006-03-20

If Democracy could change the world, it would be illegal.

The only real change will come through the barrel of a shotgun.

Unfortunately, no one has the guts to do it, including me (of course).

Reply Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Revolutions tend to not promote the "best" people, but the most ruthless ones.

And the traditionally reasonably ~democratic places tend to be generally among fairly decent ones.

Reply Score: 2

I think it's great ....
by tomcat on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 17:08 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

... that you're expressing your right of free speech. But the White House doesn't regulate the patent system. It's Congress. Obama doesn't have a lot of pull with Congress these days.

Here's the way that I see it. In a perfect world, software patents would be unnecessary. But we don't live in a perfect world. There is a legitimate need to protect small-time inventors from predatory corporations. If, every time you innovated, there were a Google or an Apple or a Microsoft waiting to essentially duplicate your work, you would have no chance whatsoever. Of course, the flip side is that large corporations can lockout small companies from being able to create technology that many would consider "obvious".

That said, I don't think that the answer is to throw out the system altogether. There are some obvious reforms that could be implemented that could address some of the glaring problems. For example, it seems to me that a patent is only valuable as long as it's protecting an actual product. If a company is merely squatting on a patent without actually offering any kind of product which implements it, then the inventor should lose any kind of patent protection that they had. This would prevent many of the kinds of patent trolls that we see today who buy portfolios of old patents without offering any kind of product -- and then litigate against market leaders for infringement.

Second, I think that the duration of patent protection should be much shorter. Let's reduce it to, say, 4 or 5 years. That seems like a better tradeoff which protects the inventor but also serves the public interest. It also prevents the inventor from milking a technology beyond the bounds of reason.

Third, I think that the process for issuing software patents needs to be revamped. It seems like the USPTO essentially has created a system where patent examiners are incredibly overbooked, they lack the depth to evaluate the righteousness/obviousness of a given application, they put it up for public comment, and then issue the patent, and let the courts actually decide whether the patent should have been issued. That's completely backwards. It seems like we should be able to form industry working groups comprised of people without overt biases to evaluate patents before they're ever issued.

Fourth, I don't think that an inventor should be able to unreasonably refuse to license a patent. It is not in the public interest to prevent others from licensing the invention. The sticking point here is how to value the patent. How much is it worth? How do you determine that? Perhaps an alternate way of looking it would be base the licensing on a royalty system; that is, the more copies of the product that uses the invention are distributed, the more it costs to license it and, similarly, if a hobbyist only distributes 10 copies of his software, the royalty cost is fairly negligible. Again, this serves the public interest and protects the inventor. Obviously, though, this would require some kind of intermediary, and I'm not sure how it could work in a practical sense. Internet distribution of IP isn't exactly easy to track.

(For the record, I've been issued a lot of software patents by the USPTO and, so, I see both sides of the issue pretty clearly. I don't think that my inventions should be stolen by my competitors but, at the same time, I'm sympathetic to the idea that software patents can impede progress within our society; and there shouldn't be absolute protections without some kind of responsibility to give something back).

Reply Score: 3

RE: I think it's great ....
by evangs on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 19:00 UTC in reply to "I think it's great ...."
evangs Member since:
2005-07-07

... that you're expressing your right of free speech. But the White House doesn't regulate the patent system. It's Congress. Obama doesn't have a lot of pull with Congress these days.


So why didn't he do something during the first 2 years of his presidency when there was a Democrat majority in Congress and in the Senate?

Other than that, I agree with everything you've said about software patents.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: I think it's great ....
by tomcat on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 21:00 UTC in reply to "RE: I think it's great ...."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

So why didn't he do something during the first 2 years of his presidency when there was a Democrat majority in Congress and in the Senate?


Obama is a politician and, like most of them, he probably finds it useful to not resolve a particular issue -- and then pimp both sides for campaign donations. I think that's why so little actually gets done in Washington.

Plus, I think that many large organizations that file for patents have a schizophrenic notion of what software patents mean to them. I'm sure that most of them would love to get rid of software patents. But, at the same time, I don't think they fully comprehend the consequences of eliminating software patents. For example, would it make it easier for their competitors to clone their work? How would they replace a portion of their revenue that comes from patent licensing? Is there any way for them to stake out any kind of competitive advantage without patents? These are not easy questions to answer, and they could alter the competitive landscape radically without software patents. Which is why you have so many weird and contradictory opinions on patents coming from these organizations.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I think it's great ....
by Alfman on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 21:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I think it's great ...."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

It's a shame software patents were ever granted in the first place. If only we had averted this mess back before tech companies expected to profit by licensing software patents to their competitors, then we'd be much better off today without all the wasted resources on legal overhead.

As usual, it's the lawyers that win. They're never going to implement any serious fixes which eliminates the overhead (them).

Reply Score: 3

RE: I think it's great ....
by galvanash on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 00:05 UTC in reply to "I think it's great ...."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I won't nitpick what you wrote - while I don't agree with all of it you do have fair points and you sound completely reasonable.

I would point out though that most of the reason I am for the abolition of software patents and not patent reform is we started talking about software patent reform over 20 years ago - virtually everything single thing on your list has been talked to death over the last 20 years, brought up to congress at one point or another using very well though out arguments, and summarily ignored.

In the course of the last 20 years, with lots of well meaning people petitioning for small but substantial changes that would make the process more fair - not a single one of those things have been implemented in any meaningful way. We are FAR worse off then we were when we started. Not only has Congress ignored attempts to make the system better for small developers, they have actually managed to make it worse as time goes by.... Much, much WORSE.

The latest patent reform act doesn't even address any of the problems the software industry has pointed out over the years - it primarily concerns itself with first-to-file issues... Seriously, did ANYONE who wasn't lining their pockets with money using the patent system care about this? If anything, it gives even more advantage to those with money and power - and most importantly it doesn't address anything about software patents at all.

I just wanted to say that, because while I appreciate all of your arguments none of them got us anywhere. I still end up logically landing on the fact that I think the industry as a whole would simply be better off without software patents at all. Since reform has demonstrably not worked, and has in fact backfired by any reasonable measurement, I figure asking for the moon might get me a do-nut if you know what I mean...

Reply Score: 3

RE: I think it's great ....
by JAlexoid on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 11:09 UTC in reply to "I think it's great ...."
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

It seems like the USPTO essentially has created a system where patent examiners are incredibly overbooked, they lack the depth to evaluate the righteousness/obviousness of a given application, they put it up for public comment, and then issue the patent, and let the courts actually decide whether the patent should have been issued.

And the irony of the situation is that the courts rarely decide against the government, simply because the courts are a part of the government.

I would add that any patent that can't be circumvented should be exceptionally limited in power or not granted.
Since if it's not circumventable, it essentially patents the outcome - which should be illegal in itself.
However, if a circumventing method is found, the patent should be extended in validity.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I think it's great ....
by Alfman on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 11:46 UTC in reply to "RE: I think it's great ...."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

JAlexoid,

"I would add that any patent that can't be circumvented should be exceptionally limited in power or not granted.
Since if it's not circumventable, it essentially patents the outcome - which should be illegal in itself.
However, if a circumventing method is found, the patent should be extended in validity."

I agree with your principals here, particularly to fight patent applications which enumerate all the different ways to solve a problem with the intent of making all solutions require a license.

However in practice, I think there's still a lot of grey areas. A patent might contain dozens of claims. Different circumventions may be prevented by different claims of one patent, who would decide which claims are invalidated? What about when a single patent doesn't block circumvention, but a trio of patents in different hands does? Who's patent is invalidated? Would non-circumventable patents be reinstated as older patents which are blocking circumvention expire? What if patents begin deliberately allowing for circumventions which are technically unpalatable?

I don't expect answers, just making a point that it wouldn't be ideal. I still feel very strongly that inadvertent infringement is one of the biggest problems with software patents, and we need to seriously contemplate the merits of software patents before accepting that developers may not be entitled to their own original work because someone else patented the same thing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: I think it's great ....
by JAlexoid on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 13:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I think it's great ...."
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I don't believe that that is even a software patent exclusive topic I touched.

Though I believe that a algorithmic expression of the processes and schematics should be mandatory and main claims representations. That human readable text only complicates things, in addition to being incomprehensible at best.

Edited 2011-11-03 13:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Democracy FAIL
by tuaris on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 02:20 UTC
tuaris
Member since:
2007-08-05

EPIC FAIL

Reply Score: 2

USA is such a great country
by twitterfire on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 13:28 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

I mean it!

Reply Score: 2

Is this the White House View?
by dionicio on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 18:39 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

I know
many people in the White House
can see beyond the exchange paradigm.

I really would like a more
elaborate answer,
if convenient.

Reply Score: 1

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

To the multiple opinions
of the people
More comforting could be
the multiple voices
of this democratic government.

A managed blog, maybe.

This answer looks more like
a surgical scrub
from an external PR firm.

Reply Score: 1