Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th Jul 2011 14:00 UTC
Microsoft Well, paint me red and call me a girl scout, I totally did not see this one coming at all. This is so utterly surprising it made my brain explode. Hold on to your panties, because this will rock your world. After pressuring several smaller Android vendors into submission (and yes, HTC is still relatively small compared to other players), Microsoft is now moving on to the big one: Redmond is demanding $15 for every Samsung Android device sold. Samsung's choices are simple: pay up, or face another epic lawsuit.
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Difference between hardware patents
by Yamin on Thu 7th Jul 2011 17:12 UTC
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

Look, I'm not going to debate the validity of software patents. But what I can't understand... I really can't... is the idea that there is something different about software patents as opposed to hardware.

"As I've said before, ideas should not be patentable. A patent should cover an implementation, but since with software the implementation comes in the form of code, the implementation is already protected by copyright. Hence, software patents are not only idiotic, they are simply not needed."

I mean really?
Software implementation comes in the form of code.
Okay, and mechanical implementation comes in the form of blue prints.

What is the difference here?

I personally think the only real difference is the vast majority of people in software don't have any experience in other fields and thus don't see how every field is affected by patents. I have family in both mechanical and chemical engineering... and they face the same issues of patents... obvious... broad patents.

That is the issue with patents. It is hard to classify them. But it's not unique to software.

It only comes up so much as
1. software is the 'new field'
2. The barrier to entry is so low that everyone can enter the market and thus violate patents. This is not as true in say the automotive market. There the established players are used to patents and licensing...

I really don't understand why people think software patents are different.

Reply Score: 4

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Yamin,

"Look, I'm not going to debate the validity of software patents. But what I can't understand... I really can't... is the idea that there is something different about software patents as opposed to hardware...I really don't understand why people think software patents are different."

I'll admit, that I'm against software patents because this is my field and I can see the negative effect for myself.

For software algorithms, it's about logic and math - these are purely intellectual. It is stupid to grant a private monopoly on such things.

Maybe patents are stupid elsewhere too, but I am biased because software is my domain.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Yamin Member since:
2006-01-10

I think most patents are bad.

Most software patents aren't just generic algorithms for the sake of math. That's where the original objection to software patents came in.

Most of them boil down to something the same as hardware patents... a application.

Things like Amazon one-click. That's not a mathematical algorithm... but a specific application. Now it's obvious and silly... but it's just as silly as many mechanical patents.

But is it so silly. Consider the coffee cup sleeve. You know that piece of cardboard that goes around a cup to allow you to hold it without burning yourself. That was patented.

Now from a legal perspective... how are the two different.

Amazon one click VS coffee cup sleeve.

It's actually quite difficult to qualify it legally and precisely.

So I have a lot of sympathy for the patent office.
As long as we have 'hardware' patents it is extremely difficult to deny 'software patents' from a legal basis.

I remember one insane discussion I had with someone that went like this. I think it was in regard to Intel's patents.

They said electrical engineering patents were okay.
Then I followed... okay... so you have crazy circuit which does something innovative.
Now technology allows you to implement that same idea in an FPGA. Is that patentable. He says yes.

- aside... how is FPGA programming different from regular programming from a patent level? Yes it is a bit 'harder'... its not simple sequential programming... but its in regards to patents... its the same.

Now technology allows you to skip the FPGA and implement it in software using a general purpose processor.

Suddenly you throw a fit over it and claim software is non-patentable... yet the 'innovative idea' is the same progressing from the electrical stage through to FPGA through to software.


But yeah, I don't think we disagree. I think there are patent issues in all fields. I just really don't see this crazy logic that says software patents are bad but physical patents are good.

Reply Parent Score: 3