Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 11th Jul 2011 21:34 UTC, submitted by sb56637
Legal Blah blah Apple whines about a bunch of software patents again. Go cry in a corner, Jobs. Either find a strategy that counters the rise of Android, or just suck it up and be a man about it. Oh, HTC is the target this time around. Again. Whatever.
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RE: Getting old
by vodoomoth on Tue 12th Jul 2011 08:36 UTC in reply to "Getting old"
vodoomoth
Member since:
2010-03-30

No you're not. Though, we might be for different reasons: I am still waiting for a valid reason why James Watt's separating of the condensation chamber from the piston in steam engines was patentable, why pharmaceutical molecules extracted from the bark of tropical trees are patentable, why changing the proportion of cement in concrete is a valid basis for a legitimate patent but anything software is not patentable. Maybe that there's been a patent granted for the pad that serves as a brake on strollers. Why are these patentable and software isn't, I haven't been able to figure it out.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Getting old
by BiPolar on Tue 12th Jul 2011 12:41 in reply to "RE: Getting old"
BiPolar Member since:
2007-07-06

why pharmaceutical molecules extracted from the bark of tropical trees are patentable


IMO, they should not, along with DNA sequences, but I digress.

Why are these patentable and software isn't, I haven't been able to figure it out.


One reasonable argument:

http://paulspontifications.blogspot.com/2011/04/patent-5893120-redu...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Getting old
by vodoomoth on Tue 12th Jul 2011 14:28 in reply to "RE[2]: Getting old"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

I didn't read the entire linked content but I wholly agree that algorithms are nothing more than math formulas. I even taught program correctness using Hoare's logic.

However, and this is why I posted the previous examples of patentable things, especially the James Watt example, many patented "things", be they methods, appliances, or "items" (if I can put it that way), are just as trivial as in software. Note that some things aren't trivial by nature, and the light bulb is one example of genuine inventions that comes to mind.

Someone on this site once posted an example of a patent about linked lists... I agree, it is shocking! Someone else also gave this reason for software to not be patentable: "it's math and math is in the nature, it's not invented, it's only discovered"... not sure I would agree if I were Andrew Wiles. So is any non-totally-artificial molecule. In that respect, Aspartame is patentable, quinine isn't (more correctly, should have never been - if it ever was-). After all, quinine is found in the bark of a tropical tree.

Now if we could list all patented molecules, I'm sure we would find that many of them (e.g. ephedrine) can be found in the nature. So why are pharmaceutical companies patenting molecules left and right?

My argument for the patentability of software is that we shouldn't remove software from the realm of patents "just" because there are instances of granted software patents that are downright stupid patent granting, like the linked list one. That kind of quirks also exist in other fields, including ones where things are not really "invented" in the strictest sense, but "discovered". The changing of the size of gravel in concrete is one of those trivial things. Watt's moving the condenser away from the piston to avoid heat loss is another.

But in the end, I agree with Thom's argument I've read a few days ago that one can't patent ideas, only implementations and as such, software always being an implementation of (an) idea(s), it is already covered by copyright. That, despite ignoring the economic side of patents, is a true argument, which other args aren't to me.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Getting old
by JAlexoid on Tue 12th Jul 2011 21:51 in reply to "RE: Getting old"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

why pharmaceutical molecules extracted from the bark of tropical trees are patentable

Because the actual molecules are not patentable, maybe? The process of extraction or synthesis is patentable though. But if they are, it's as stupid as allowing a patent on DNA.

why changing the proportion of cement in concrete is a valid basis for a legitimate patent but anything software is not patentable. Maybe that there's been a patent granted for the pad that serves as a brake on strollers.


Oh! I got a better one! Why can't the amalgamation of folklore by JRRTolkien be patented? Or Why can't JKRowling patent the idea behind Harry Potter?
Or one even better: Why can't mathematical, chemical and physics formulas/equasions/processes be patented?

Why are these patentable and software isn't, I haven't been able to figure it out.

When you'll need to license the right to type on your keyboard or vibrate the air molecules with frequencies detectable by the human ear, then you'll understand...

Reply Parent Score: 2