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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RE[4]: Ouch
by FishB8 on Sun 17th Jul 2011 05:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Ouch"
FishB8
Member since:
2006-01-16

The purpose of patents is to ensure that companies / individuals get a return on investment in research and development. Without patents, there is no motivation to invest in research and development if somebody else can take the results (without contributing to the cost of the R&D) and beat you to market with a competing product.

This makes sense when applied to physical products. When applied to things like software, genetics, business methods, etc. like it has been, it is no longer beneficial to the community as a whole, and simply turns into government sanctioned thuggery. I have no doubt that there should be protections in these areas as well, but they need to be separate from patent law, with different rules, limitations and means of litigation that are tailored to the specific fields and result in a the best positive and balanced outcome for both the companies and communities as a whole.

Or, to be more direct for the sake of brevity: patent trolls should strung up by their nuts.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Ouch
by Luminair on Sun 17th Jul 2011 18:04 in reply to "RE[4]: Ouch"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

> The purpose of patents is to ensure that companies / individuals get a return on investment in research and development.

Maybe. I think I get that. It might just be greed though. I'm not sure government needs to get involved in this.

> Without patents, there is no motivation to invest in research and development if somebody else can take the results

A patent proponent might say that, but then you'd say "pick any open source business to disprove that." There is implicit benefit in being the innovator. Red Hat gives their code away, but Red Hat is still the expert of their code, and they are paid a premium for the business they build around that. So a counterexample. You don't necessarily need patents to make money off new inventions. I'm left unsure of patents. Sanctioned thuggery is an interesting term.

Reply Parent Score: 4