Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Jul 2013 15:31 UTC
Legal Joel Spolsky killed a Microsoft patent application in just a few minutes - he found prior art and submitted it, and the USPTO examiner rejected the patent because of it. "Micah showed me a document from the USPTO confirming that they had rejected the patent application, and the rejection relied very heavily on the document I found. This was, in fact, the first 'confirmed kill' of Ask Patents, and it was really surprisingly easy. I didn't have to do the hard work of studying everything in the patent application and carefully proving that it was all prior art: the examiner did that for me." This is all under the umbrella of 'Ask Patents'.
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Why
by JLF65 on Mon 22nd Jul 2013 16:32 UTC
JLF65
Member since:
2005-07-06

The main reason why devs don't try to invalidate more patents is their company won't let them. To invalidate a patent, you have to read it. If you read a patent and CANNOT invalidate it, you may now be in willful infringement, which triples the damages. So companies enact rules for devs, the main one being DON'T READ ANY PATENTS, EVER!! They recognize that any substantial program violates thousands of patents, and willful infringement could put them out of business.

Reply Score: 12

RE: Why
by Soulbender on Mon 22nd Jul 2013 17:04 UTC in reply to "Why"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

To invalidate a patent, you have to read it. If you read a patent and CANNOT invalidate it, you may now be in willful infringement, which triples the damages.


That's just...fucking INSANE. Please, for the love of all that is holy, that can not be how it works. Did the devil design the patent system? Ok, that's perfectly possible that he did but that's still crazy even for the devil.

Reply Score: 10

RE[2]: Why
by Carewolf on Mon 22nd Jul 2013 18:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Why"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

No, it is not true. It more than triples the damages. Being in good faith by never reading patents EVER is much more valuable than that. Remember if you did a patent search and did not find the patent, you have to prove you didn't find it (not so easy). So it is better never to do a patent search at all.

Reply Score: 8

RE[3]: Why
by Kochise on Tue 23rd Jul 2013 09:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

I don't quite well understand the under"lying" problem : you mean that when you "invent" something, you mustn't do a prior art or already patented research and just rely on depositing your own patent and leave the system handle the rest (at your own cost) or just sell you product, jeopardizing a future patent infringement ?

It leaves me quite puzzled. Patent system explained by Dolph Lundgren :

"-I come in peace...
-You'll leave in pieces !"

Kochise

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Why
by kwan_e on Tue 23rd Jul 2013 11:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I don't quite well understand the under"lying" problem : you mean that when you "invent" something, you mustn't do a prior art or already patented research and just rely on depositing your own patent and leave the system handle the rest (at your own cost) or just sell you product, jeopardizing a future patent infringement ?


Devs aren't recommended to read patents for prior art search. Lawyers can though, I'd think. So the companies that can afford to have lawyers on hand have an advantage over those that don't.

The system keeps lawyers employed, keeping them out of political life for a while. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Why
by JLF65 on Tue 23rd Jul 2013 18:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

This craziness is why patents don't fit the software industry. Most devs NEVER look for or at patents in their field at the behest of their company, so they routinely "reinvent" the solutions every day. If so many people can reinvent something without access to the patents, the things they cover shouldn't be patent-worthy. Some people may point to things like MP3 as complex software deserving of a patent, then I'll point to a reinvention in the same complexity, not violating the patents, and unpatented itself - Ogg-Vorbis. Programmers will make the most complex software you can imagine for reasons that have nothing to do with patent protection, fully aware that the lifespan of their invention may be as small as six months. That's why big software houses have patent lawyers filing for patents instead of the engineers.

Reply Score: 8

RE[4]: Why
by Kochise on Tue 23rd Jul 2013 20:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Yeap, either it's just an application of mathematics and/or common sense. So in fact patents are just rewarding the first who filled the patent and de facto providing him with a monopolistic position. Thankfully, there is a twist to the patent system, what is called "fair use", you know, the stuff that allows a third party to "license" the technology at a bargain price.

There is patents, and copyrights. The later the worst. Disney characters should soon fall into the public domain ? Not so fast, let's trick the system, make new laws being voted, extend the copyright duration, etc... Even already public domain stuffs has been recently re-copyrighted due to these "extensions" that do not benefit the author's grandchilds, just the majors (music, books, ...)

Kochise

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Why
by Kochise on Wed 24th Jul 2013 11:47 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Why"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Replying to myself :

What if Einstein patented/copyrighted E=m.c² or Marie Curie the Radium (X-ray and such) ?

Some kind on patent litigation on these would have been so much fun for the "benefit/experience of the consumers" (c) iDiot

Kochise

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Why
by kwan_e on Tue 23rd Jul 2013 03:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Why"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Did the devil design the patent system?


Even worse: it was designed by committee.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Why
by orfanum on Tue 23rd Jul 2013 11:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

The committee members being Satan, Beelzebub and Baphomet, chaired by Mammon.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Why
by shmerl on Mon 22nd Jul 2013 18:01 UTC in reply to "Why"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

It's easy solvable by delegating the invalidation to neutral third party who doesn't develop anything (which removes the risk). The same method which patent trolls use to attack, can be turned against patent aggressors themselves.

Edited 2013-07-22 18:03 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Why
by tylerdurden on Mon 22nd Jul 2013 19:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Why"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

There are no "neutral" 3rd parties when money is involved...

Reply Score: 7

Not surprised it was Joel.
by lucas_maximus on Mon 22nd Jul 2013 22:12 UTC
lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

Joel is one of my heroes in the software development community. Everything he says is pretty much spot on and he backs everyone up with sound arguments.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Not surprised it was Joel.
by Soulbender on Tue 23rd Jul 2013 05:18 UTC in reply to "Not surprised it was Joel."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Yeah, Joel's pretty great. I don't always agree with him but he always makes a good argument.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Wed 24th Jul 2013 00:58 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

It boggles my mind that every patent aren't registered in a single database and searchable free of charge online as easily as one can with a telephone book. Honestly, I would have though such a requirement was a logical requirement as to to ensure that there is transparency in the patent process - that patent holders have a public record and new comers to the marketplace are able to check their product against patents that they could be potentially infringing upon. The lack of such a setup makes me wonder wether patent holders and lawyers like the fact that it is next to impossible to check off ones own product in development against existing patents in a home of trapping a company in a trap of 'paying up or going out of business'.

Reply Score: 5