Linked by jrincayc on Fri 15th Jul 2011 17:14 UTC
Legal Patent term calculation is complicated in the US because there are essentially two different systems and quite a few corner cases. Even with a list of patents, it can be tricky to determine when the patents are all expired. Since I am a computer programmer (and not a lawyer), I created a program to try and automate this. This paper discusses how patent term calculation works, and some results from a combination of hand and automatic term calculation for MP3, MPEG-2 and H.264.
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by Kalessin on Fri 15th Jul 2011 18:35 UTC
Member since:

I think that my head just exploded.

That's some great info, but it's a bit of a brain overload. I'm very glad that I'm not a patent lawyer.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Ouch
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 15th Jul 2011 22:05 in reply to "Ouch"
UltraZelda64 Member since:

Yeah... definitely.

It's a bunch of bullshit that just should not be a problem in the first place the way I see it.

Edited 2011-07-15 22:05 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Ouch
by jrincayc on Fri 15th Jul 2011 22:56 in reply to "RE: Ouch"
jrincayc Member since:

I agree that it was way too much work. Here are some of my opinions:

I have never seen a decent justification of why software patents should last 20+ years. I can see why things like medications should last 20 years, since FDA testing lasts so long, but software is quick to think up and quick to test (and quick for someone else to think up as well). I also think that software could get along fine without patents. If we are going to have software patents, they should last less than 5 years.

Software patents should have pseudo code or source code. Lack of this makes it far to hard to figure out what the patent actually covers.

There were far too many ways to game the system before 1995, allowing patents to last much longer than 20 years. If that wasn't the case, MP3 would be patent free by the end of 2012 at the latest.

The US patent office should calculate a maximum patent term and put it in with the other patent information. Having to parse through English to figure out how long a patent lasts is ridiculous (My program uses several regular expressions to try and find out some of the information needed, and it fails for some of the more weird ways it is done).

There should be some way to mandate that patents that are essential for a standard are discovered. Right now, it is over 20 years since the MPEG-1 draft standard was created, and there is still enough uncertainty about MPEG-1 video to keep ppmtompeg out of distributions like OpenSUSE and Fedora. If something has been an ISO standard for five years, and you haven't added your patent to the ISO patent database, it should be too late to sue.

Reply Parent Score: 4