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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Aim of my post is to gain more understanding into patents & copyright....

Isn't a patent provided to cover the idea, process of execution & its applicability? As I understand, copyright can protect my code but not the idea & its implementation process.

With patents, the invention itself can be just a method (meaning that you could get a patent on a process for building a brick if that process was new and non-obvious, even if the brick itself isn't). With bricks, it is safe to assume that all kinds of process having to do with them have been around for a long time, hence is practically impossible to come up with a new one.

The trick with software patents (which are just method patents) is that the field of technology is relatively recent, so that there is not enough prior art to invalidate new patents. Thus, it is much easier to come up with a broad claim.

In any case, patents should have a stringent expiry clauses (not exceeding 5yrs) without possible extensions.

And this is the other problem. Patents have been designed for other fields of technology, where the rate of innovation was much slower. For hydraulic valves, a patent term of 20 years is reasonable. For software, it isn't.

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