Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th Jul 2011 20:47 UTC
Legal Tell 'm like it is, HTC. "HTC is disappointed at Apple's constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market," said HTC general counsel Grace Lei in a statement, "HTC strongly denies all infringement claims raised by Apple in the past and present and reiterates our determination and commitment to protect our intellectual property rights."
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I think I understand your point. I think a big problem with software patents is that it seems the overwhelming majority of existing software patents are for things that are soooo obvious, or that have been assigned even though there is lots of previous art. On top of that, I do think that since the evolution in the software world happens so fast, that the validity of software patents should be much more limited in time: say 1-2 years.

Maybe not all software patents are bad. I think for example about patents for encryption algorithms, or for audio and video encoding algorithms. This kind of algorithms are not obvious. A patent for a button in an application that allows you to buy the full version of a trial application, *is* something obvious. If you can assure that software patents are not given for "obvious" things, and are only given for a limited time, then the whole situation would be completely different.

One cannot deny that in this very moment, software patents are not used in the way they were meant to be used. At this moment, they are used aggressively to compete with other companies when one cannot compete on the quality of their own product. On the other hand, other companies use software patents defensively to protect themselves when they are attacked with software patents. Sometimes they are used by companies that only buy patents, so that they can 'extort' money from other companies at a time that they know that a lot of companies infringe on those patents.

That is why a lot of people say: get rid of software patents. It just seems impossible to "fix" the system the way it has become what it is now.

Aside from that, I think that patents have always been on the side of big companies. Don't forget that applying for a patent (software or not) also costs a lot of money, that smaller companies may not be willing (or able) to invest. And if you've got bad luck, a bigger company comes along, invents the same thing on its own, and gets a patent for it. For a small company, it would just cost too much to prove in court that you had prior art.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:


One of the issues I have with the "obvious" tests, as currently applied, is when things which were non-obvious in the past become obvious in the present.

For example, in an era which predates modern ecommerce, a one click design might very well have been non-obvious in the sense that the whole of ecommerce was in it's infancy and noone thought about it.

Once the infrastructure (online CC processing/consumer dialup/secure web browsers/etc) is in place and online vendors start to crop up, then the one click design really becomes obvious. And not because amazon's patent did such a good job educating everyone, but because it was a natural step in the development of e-commerce.

In the same vein, it's absurd to claim things are novel by combining them in an invention*context matrix. An algorithm/UI element/security feature should not be patentable each time a new type of product is on the market. The product may be novel, but NOT combining it with pre-existing algorithms, that's obvious.

A patent system should not protect obvious solutions to novel problems, even if the solution is inherently novel too.

I still haven't heard anyone give a compelling reason why software should be patentable in the first place.

Edited 2011-07-15 20:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2