Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 4th Aug 2011 21:38 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y The Google-Microsoft patent war of words is continuing. Yesterday, Google (rightfully so, in my book) accused Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle partaking in an organised patent attack against Android, instead of competing on merit, claiming that they bought up Novell's and Nortel's patents solely to attack Android and its device makers. Microsoft struck back, claiming Google was offered to join in on the bids for the Novell patents, but rejected the offer. Google has now responded to this accusation - and to make matters even more confusing, Microsoft responded back. A public shouting match between two powerful parties? Count me in!
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RE: Software patents...
by sonnyrao on Fri 5th Aug 2011 03:04 UTC in reply to "Software patents..."
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...are such a grey area.

I am for them, and against them.

If I come up with a super idea that has never been thought of before, I spend a year or two perfecting it, and then release the software, then surely I should have some protection over someone else looking at all my hard work, copying it, and selling it as their own.

But can/should you patent an idea?

On the other hand, competition is a great ways to help move the industry forward and for the consumer to get products at reasonable prices.

I don't know enough about patent laws (and I'm sure a few other people here don't either), but from what I keep reading, the system is flawed. It appears you can patent to such an extent that it's near impossible to write any software anymore without being liable for something from someone.

I check MacSurfer most days. I notice that Apple gets sued as much as they sue, if not more. I am sure this is the same for most of the bigger companies.

I have no problem with a patent on an implementation of an idea however. But I would like to see a time limit placed on it, maybe 2 - 5 years. That way, the "inventor" can have a head start in building a market around the implementation, but can't hold onto that indefinitely. Maybe this is already the case.

I should read more, but to be honest, I just don't have the time. If someone can point me to a "simple" summary of how software patents work, that would be helpful. Others might find that helpful too. (Yes, I could Google "Summary of Software Patents") ;-)

Yeah software patents are really a grey area, I think mostly they point out several problems with the patent system (at least in the US):

1) The fixed length of time granted per patent -- the rapid pace of innovation in the field makes this very questionable
2) The quality of the patents aren't really evaluated or judged when they're filed. This is pretty difficult to do actually, so that one is somewhat understandable.
3) The ability to sell patents to companies which don't produce any actual products (in the relevant field)-- should be abolished

I think there probably are cases where people are innovating and could deserve some protection long enough to get a product out -- which would benefit society. Those who invent something but don't actually produce anything (because they cannot enter a certain field) should be able to sell their idea to a company which would then produce something based on it.

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