Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 17th Jul 2011 20:58 UTC, submitted by fran
Linux It's strange. Microsoft has been patent trolling the heck out of the Linux kernel for a long time now, and is still using these patents against Android today in its protection money scheme. However, as LWN.net illustrates, Microsoft makes quite a few contributions to the Linux kernel. Shouldn't this invalidate their patent claims?
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RE[5]: Logic
by saynte on Tue 19th Jul 2011 05:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Logic"
saynte
Member since:
2007-12-10

Software is an arrangement of 0s and 1s; a car is just an arrangement of metal and rubber. I think the question should be: was the arrangement found, or built?

Proper mathematics is found, but software is most definitely built.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Logic
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 06:05 in reply to "RE[5]: Logic"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Software is an arrangement of 0s and 1s; a car is just an arrangement of metal and rubber. I think the question should be: was the arrangement found, or built? Proper mathematics is found, but software is most definitely built.


Anything which requires an author or other type of artisan is "built". Why on earth should software alone be patentable, just because it uses math as its working medium?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Logic
by saynte on Tue 19th Jul 2011 06:12 in reply to "RE[6]: Logic"
saynte Member since:
2007-12-10

Software is NOT alone in being patentable, many things are patentable.

I could argue the same way in the opposite direction: why should software NOT be patentable just because it uses math as its working medium, not metal and rubber?

My point here is that it should be on some property other than the "material" with which something is built that the decision of patentability is made.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Logic
by Alfman on Tue 19th Jul 2011 06:23 in reply to "RE[5]: Logic"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

saynte,

"Software is an arrangement of 0s and 1s; a car is just an arrangement of metal and rubber. I think the question should be: was the arrangement found, or built? Proper mathematics is found, but software is most definitely built."

I don't agree with your distinction.

You may not be aware of this, but in computer science discrete mathematics courses, we do study how to apply mathematical concepts like induction towards computer algorithms.

If an algorithm is patented, and a developer can prove that the algorithm is mathematically derivable, then would you say the algorithm patent should be invalidated? It is sort of a trick question, since every algorithm is mathematically derivable, given adequate specification.

I'd go as far as to say a genuine distinction between mathematical and computer algorithms is blurred to the point of non-existence seeing as one can clearly be translated to the other (within physical constraints of the machine).

Could you elaborate on a fundamental difference?


Given the same problem, many developers will come up with overlapping algorithms. You may say "oh just use a different algorithm", but now developers are wasting their time in search for algorithms with less desirable properties in order to satisfy a patent holder's monopoly. Considering that many patent holders deliberately file dozens of variations on the same idea to deliberately block other implementations, it's no wonder honest developers are pissed off with software patents.

Edited 2011-07-19 06:24 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[7]: Logic
by saynte on Tue 19th Jul 2011 11:46 in reply to "RE[6]: Logic"
saynte Member since:
2007-12-10

A trick question indeed ;) I'm aware that programs can be proven with techniques like induction, axiomatic semantics, etc. Then again, I can also prove properties of physics using mathematics, and physics are at the heart of many "solid" inventions.


I will dodge your question slightly with my motivation for such an underlying "feeling": I have some discomfort with the notion that if I write down an algorithm in software it's not patentable, but if I write it down in VHDL and drop it onto a circuit, it is.

An analogue filter using resistors and wires may be patented (let's assume), but a software based one cannot? To me, this would seem to be a rather arbitrary distinction, the key innovations are in the clever arrangements!

I don't have an answer for you about the fundamental difference, unfortunately, but maybe if I thought on it a while longer ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1