Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th Oct 2012 09:24 UTC
Legal The failing US patent system is getting ever more mainstream - The New York Times is running a long and details piece on the failings of the system, especially in relation to the technology industry most of us hold so dearly. Most of the stuff in there isn't new to us - but there's two things in the article I want to highlight.
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silix
Member since:
2006-03-01

There's a lot of different suggestions out there, most better than what we have now. Here's mine:

http://www.osnews.com/story/26157/How_to_fix_the_patent_mess

in the previous piece you're advocating for the interim abolition of sw patents, thus for engineers in the sw field to become 2nd class citizens when it comes to intellectual property protection...

but suppose that you are intent on developing a product that you hope to sell, based on novel techniques and the application of interesting "new" mathematical theory - and that investigating the involved maths (eg, wavelets) and coming up with a working algorithm (ie inventing the solution for your chosen problem domain) takes you much more time and effort than making a prototype implementation..
now, think you'll agree it would be fair to get a bit of advantage for having done research and design on your own and for being the first to do so...
but copyright protects only the implementation's form and does nothing to stop anyone with a primer in the same maths from reimplementing the same techniques in another product (saving on research time, since you've done most of the job for him)

saying that copyright is enough for sw, you basically say that all research and design effort that goes into a sw product is worth nothing from an IP protection perspective, that it doesnt deserve protection being essentially a "free for everyone" thing, like maths, and that people working for sw houses on innovative solutions (notice, not innovative products) are wasting their time...
this has an interesting implication... now, if i'm working on something i deem innovative and that would be qualified for a patent (dont make the mistake to believe that all patenst are trivial ... there's VERY advanced stuff inside, just it's not newsworthy enough) but i know that what i'm working on won't gain me a competitive lead and won't allow me to control (at least to a certain extent) what my competitor put in their products...
what incentive do i have to come up with it first? what incentive do i have to come up with it at all?
to make significant design effort that my competitors can (and will) exploit to undercut my very product?
why dont i (say) ally with my competitor and agree to each sell owr own version of the same, uninnovative, commoditized algorithms?

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