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[5]: Ouch
by Luminair on Sun 17th Jul 2011 18:04 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Ouch"
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> 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.

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