Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Jul 2011 22:12 UTC
Microsoft "One of Microsoft's hottest new profit centers is a smartphone platform you've definitely heard of: Android. Google's Linux-based mobile operating system is a favorite target for Microsoft's patent attorneys, who are suing numerous Android vendors and just today announced that another manufacturer has agreed to write checks to Microsoft every time it ships an Android device. Microsoft's latest target is Wistron Corp., which has signed a patent agreement 'that provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for Wistron's tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome platform', Microsoft announced." That's the reality we live in, folks. This is at least as criminal - if not more so - than Microsoft's monopoly abuse late last century. After the Nortel crap, it's completely left the black helicopter camp for me: Microsoft, Apple, and several others are working together to fight Android the only way they know how: with underhand mafia tactics. Absolutely sickening. Hey Anonymous, are you listening? YES I WENT THERE.
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RE[2]: Patents are patents
by MollyC on Wed 6th Jul 2011 04:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Patents are patents"
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

I happen to be against software patents. They are pure evil. Software is properly protected by copyright. Patenting math is criminal.


I take issue with the notion that software ideas/methods are nothing more than "math". Maybe the precise implementation of an idea/method is "math" (which I also question), in that the implementation is a sequence of 0s and 1s. But, as you said, the precise implementation is a copyright issue, not a patent issue.

As far as inventions of software ideas go, they aren't "math". And if the argument is that any idea or algorithm that can be described (note the word "described" rather than "implemented") as 0's and 1's is "math", then all ideas are math. All ideas can be described with natural language words and diagrams (at least, in order to be patentable at all), and those words and diagrams can be represented as a sequence of 0s and 1s, so all ideas can be represented as "math", whether those ideas describe digital things or tangible things made of atoms.

My stance on software patents (and any other kind of patent, for that matter) has always been that I have no problem with them as long as the patent holder offers licences to others to use the ideas covered by the patent for a reasonable fee. I don't approve of patent holders using their patents to block competing products from the market altogether, and I don't approve of patent holders asking for outrageous fees, and I don't approve of patent holders sitting on their patents and allowing some product that infringes on the patent to become huge in the marketplace and only THEN demanding that the product maker license the patent at extortion prices. Additionally, I'd reform patent law to say that if a patent holder doesn't make a good faith effort to produce and market a product that uses the patented tech in question, then the duration of the patent is cut in half.

Bottom line: if someone spends millions of dollars developing something then someone else simply copies it and sells it at a lower price or gives it away, then the original inventor deserves some compensation.

--------------------
Now to delve more into philosophy or metaphysics:
You assert "patenting math is criminal". As I said, I don't buy the idea that software ideas are "math", but even if I did, patenting such is clearly not "criminal", according to law.

And besides that, you provide nothing to back up or explain your assertion as to why it would be criminal or even wrong.

Let's move away from software ideas and methods, and let's take your assertion literally. Let's say some company did invent a new "math" (like Isaac Newton invented calculus, because the math at the time was insufficient for his purposes in dealing with physics). Let's say it took billions of dollars of research to invent (or even "discover", if that's the word you want to use) this new math, but once it was invented, that new math allowed the company to create breakthroughs in energy, artificial intelligence, medicine, and whatnot, and they created products that took advantage of those advancements and made healthy profits in the process. Is it really wrong to patent the math for a number of years, during which they could license the math to others for a reasonable fee? Or should others that did nothing be allowed to simply copy the new math and create competing products that undercut the company that spent billions of dollars to invent (or "discover") the new math in the first place? I don't see how allowing the inventor to license the math for a fee is wrong in any way.

As I said before, I wouldn't approve of the inventor blocking other company's products by refusing to liecense the patent. And I'd want the patent to expire after a number of years. But as long as the inventor is offering the patent for licensing by others (and doing so in good faith (i.e. not asking an impossible price)), then it's fine with me. More than fine, actually, it's GOOD.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Patents are patents
by lemur2 on Wed 6th Jul 2011 05:26 in reply to "RE[2]: Patents are patents"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I take issue with the notion that software ideas/methods are nothing more than "math".


And if the argument is that any idea or algorithm that can be described (note the word "described" rather than "implemented") as 0's and 1's is "math", then all ideas are math.


You are arguing against the wrong concept.

A CPU (which runs the software) comprises and ALU (arithmetic and logic unit) and control circuits.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arithmetic_logic_unit
"In computing, an arithmetic logic unit (ALU) is a digital circuit that performs arithmetic and logical operations. The ALU is a fundamental building block of the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer"

All an ALU can do is math (since Boolean logic is also math). The ALU, and hence the CPU, can do nothing else. Thats it ... that is all a general purpose computer can do. Math. Therefore, software is math.

There is a branch of computer science (which itself is a sub-branch of mathematics) which is all about this precise matter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computability

"Computability is the ability to solve a problem in an effective manner. It is a key topic of the field of computability theory within mathematical logic and the theory of computation within computer science. The computability of a problem is closely linked to the existence of an algorithm to solve the problem."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computability_theory
"Computability theory, also called recursion theory, is a branch of mathematical logic that originated in the 1930s with the study of computable functions and Turing degrees. The field has grown to include the study of generalized computability and definability. In these areas, recursion theory overlaps with proof theory and effective descriptive set theory.

The basic questions addressed by recursion theory are "What does it mean for a function from the natural numbers to themselves to be computable?" and "How can noncomputable functions be classified into a hierarchy based on their level of noncomputability?". The answers to these questions have led to a rich theory that is still being actively researched."


Computability theory is the branch of mathematics that works out if a given function/problem/invention can, or cannot, be implemented in software.

Ergo, software is mathematics.

More here:
http://perlstalker.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-software-is-not-patenta...

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110426051819346
"This article provides a detailed factual explanation of why software is mathematics, complete with the references in mathematical and computer science literature."

It seems the software experts and the mathematicians disagree with you, Molly.

Bottom line: if someone spends millions of dollars developing something then someone else simply copies it and sells it at a lower price or gives it away, then the original inventor deserves some compensation.


Fox spent millions making (developing) the movie "Avatar". If "someone else simply copies it and sells it at a lower price or gives it away" then indeed, Fox do deserve some compensation. Absolutely, no question. This is, however, covered by copyright law, not patent law.

There is no reason why someone else shouldn't make another movie about an uprising of nine-foot blue aliens, however. They are perfectly entitled to do so, as long as they do their own work.

This is the reason why no-one takes any notice of things like this:
http://www.slashfilm.com/is-james-camerons-avatar-actually-an-uncre...
http://thenextweb.com/shareables/2010/01/05/pocahontas-avatar/

There is no doubt that the movie Avatar is an original work, even if parts of the story line are very reminiscent of older works. Copyright does not cover ideas, it covers literal copies.

Edited 2011-07-06 05:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Patents are patents
by lemur2 on Wed 6th Jul 2011 06:27 in reply to "RE[2]: Patents are patents"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Let's move away from software ideas and methods, and let's take your assertion literally. Let's say some company did invent a new "math" (like Isaac Newton invented calculus, because the math at the time was insufficient for his purposes in dealing with physics). Let's say it took billions of dollars of research to invent (or even "discover", if that's the word you want to use) this new math, but once it was invented, that new math allowed the company to create breakthroughs in energy, artificial intelligence, medicine, and whatnot, and they created products that took advantage of those advancements and made healthy profits in the process. Is it really wrong to patent the math for a number of years, during which they could license the math to others for a reasonable fee? Or should others that did nothing be allowed to simply copy the new math and create competing products that undercut the company that spent billions of dollars to invent (or "discover") the new math in the first place? I don't see how allowing the inventor to license the math for a fee is wrong in any way.

As I said before, I wouldn't approve of the inventor blocking other company's products by refusing to liecense the patent. And I'd want the patent to expire after a number of years. But as long as the inventor is offering the patent for licensing by others (and doing so in good faith (i.e. not asking an impossible price)), then it's fine with me. More than fine, actually, it's GOOD.


There are essentially two huge problems with this argument.

The first objection is that every other field allows a different implementation of an "invention" that achieves some desired end. Take for example "headache tablets". The fact that one company invents, and then patents, the formula for paracetemol, shouldn't disbar another company from inventing ibuprofen. This is especially the case when you consider that both of these headache tablet formulae were pre-dated by aspirin. New implementations of an idea are NOT prevented by patents, as patents do not cover ideas, they cover "methods". Invetion of a new method is most definitely allowed under patent law, even if it does implement the same desired end function.

The second objection is more simple ... software patents are not being used in the manner you describe. Microsoft did not invent Android, nor did they write any of the code. There is a vast quantity of prior art in mobile phones, smartphones and Java language subsets on mobile phones via which to implement "apps". Where do Microsoft get off claiming that they "invented" any part of Android?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Patents are patents
by Not2Sure on Wed 6th Jul 2011 07:47 in reply to "RE[3]: Patents are patents"
Not2Sure Member since:
2009-12-07

The second objection is more simple ... software patents are not being used in the manner you describe. Microsoft did not invent Android, nor did they write any of the code. There is a vast quantity of prior art in mobile phones, smartphones and Java language subsets on mobile phones via which to implement "apps". Where do Microsoft get off claiming that they "invented" any part of Android?


Do you have some knowledge the rest of us do not of what it is Microsft is claiming or are you just pulling a Holwerda and alleging some bullshit in order to justify your commentary? Do you have copies of demand letters made by Microsoft on Wistron Corp? Can you give us a link so we can read them and decide for ourselves?

Because as far as I can tell, a manufacturer looking at putting a product using software components it did not create into the marketplace using Android saw some legal risk and sought indemnification. NEWSFLASH: Google offers, none, zero, nada, and that should tell you exactly how much Google legal really believes Android is unencumbered.

What a company's evangelists and PR hacks say is alot different than the actions taken by that corporation as a legal entity. If Google really believed as you do that Android sprang from the wells of creativity untapped and unencumbered by any legal entanglement then it would offer indemnification to the manufacturers. The don't and they most likely never will.

Microsoft/Wistron have formed a business arrangement. It is neither extortion nor criminal no matter what kind FUD bullshit the author of thread would like to color it with (his personal adolescent view of US law and the world notwithstanding). It's the same calculus that HTC used and boy, that sure has really screwd up their Android product lines hasn't it? It's really hard to believe how they even sell a single device given that consumers everywhere must cringe knowing they are paying extortion money isn't it?

Whatever.

Is it just me or is OSNews quickly sliding into the toilet bowl of tech erudition that is /.

Reply Parent Score: -1

Software patents are evil
by frajo on Wed 6th Jul 2011 07:53 in reply to "RE[2]: Patents are patents"
frajo Member since:
2007-06-29

Let's say some company did invent a new "math" (like Isaac Newton invented calculus, because the math at the time was insufficient for his purposes in dealing with physics). Let's say it took billions of dollars of research to invent (or even "discover", if that's the word you want to use) this new math, but once it was invented, that new math allowed the company to create breakthroughs in energy, artificial intelligence, medicine, and whatnot, and they created products that took advantage of those advancements and made healthy profits in the process. Is it really wrong to patent the math for a number of years, during which they could license the math to others for a reasonable fee? Or should others that did nothing be allowed to simply copy the new math and create competing products that undercut the company that spent billions of dollars to invent (or "discover") the new math in the first place?

Unfortunately you forgot to consider history:
These ideas were systematized into a true calculus of infinitesimals by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who was originally accused of plagiarism by Newton. He is now regarded as an independent inventor of and contributor to calculus.
[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculus ]

Should Leibniz have been punished, imprisoned, or executed?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Patents are patents
by andydread on Wed 6th Jul 2011 12:22 in reply to "RE[2]: Patents are patents"
andydread Member since:
2009-02-02

I like your Idea. If I spend Millions of dollars researching a book about wars in space. Lots of dollars researching and talking to experts about space and weapons etc and what is physically posible etc. Then I produce this book which is already protected by copyright I should be able to Patent it also and then charge a reasonable license fee to anyone who writes a book about space wars regardless of the exact content? right? Nice idea. One should be able to file patents on copyrighted material. Maybe the Music people should get into the game too. How about a song about life in the ghetto. Maybe that can be patented so that I can charge anyone that makes a song about life in the ghetto a "reasonable licence fee" to use the idea of a song about life in the ghetto. THis is exactly what is happening with software patents. Stand alone sofware that is not married to a specific device should not be patented. It is already covered by copyright.

After this I won't be recommending Windows Phone to anymore of my customers. We recommended windows phone 7 to a few of our customers (10) of them bought Windows Phone. We won't be doing that anymore. We cannot in good faith support this type of extortion.

Reply Parent Score: 3