Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Aug 2012 23:54 UTC

And just like that, within a matter of days, the jury has reached a verdict in Apple vs. Samsung. The basic gist is simple: Apple's software patents are valid, and many Samsung devices infringe upon them. Apple's iPhone 3G trade dress is valid, and Samsung's Galaxy S line infringes, but other devices did not. Samsung did not infringe Apple's iPad design patent. Apple did not infringe any of Samsung's patents. Apple is awarded a little over $1 billion in damages. Competition lost today, and developers in the United States should really start to get worried - software patents got validated big time today.

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Member since:

2006-07-04

Code is written, writing is protected by copyright.

Code in many ways is really just mathematics, and math is not patentable.

I am not a lawyer, but can't you only patent methods and implementations? Not ideas? Correct me if I am wrong.

Software code is not "math".

Take Excel, for example. How was it created? It was constructed. It wasn't derived like a math formula. Nor is Excel some mathematical equation that existed in the abstract, just waiting to be discovered by a mathematical genius. Excel is a machine that was put together like any machine, only it's made out of bytes rather than steel/wood/plastics/etc. And machines (that is, the ideas behind them) certainly ARE patentable.

P.S.

What is the "you can't patent math" thing based on anyway? Why, for instance, would one be able to patent a chemical formula but not a mathematical one? Is it just because math is totally abstract and doesn't exist in "nature", but only exists in the minds of intelligent beings, and therefore nothing mathematical can be considered to be created/invented, but only discovered?

I ask because it seems that much the same could be said of chemical formulas. Chemistry, unlike math, does indeed concretely exist in nature, but I could see where one might argue that all chemical formulas already exist in the abstract, just waiting to be discovered, therefore chemical formlas can't be patented since they're discoverd rather than created/invented.

Seems arbitrary to say that math can't be patented, and I've not heard anyone actually rigoursly argue that proposition; I've merely heard the proposition asserted as an axiom as if there's no need to back it up at all.

Anyway, as I said above, I don't think the "math can't be patented" argument applies to software to begin with, since I don't see software as "math", but I do wonder about the whole "you can't patent math" thing to begin with. Seems like begging questions to me.

I only care from a philisophical standpoint. I don't really care in a real/practical sense. However, if a company spent billions of dollars on math research and discovered some mathematical formula that solved the world's energy problems, maybe that company would be justified in getting a time-limited patent to reap some return on their investment. Though it's likely that the discovery would be more along the lines of physics rather than purely absctract math. Maybe

appliedmath should be patentable, but not purely useless abstract math? Or maybe math can't be patented, but the way one might apply it is patentable? :p