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

What you say holds for anything that is constructed out smaller parts. I can construct a new car engine out of parts, but the difference is that it actually does something. A new engine would also be patentable. Computer programs "do" things, a story doesn't "do" anything. In terms of the machine or transformation test, software transforms input into output. Being a software engineer, I think most software patents are bad because they are obvious, trivially extending on prior work. However, I could be persuaded of their utility if I saw one that represented significant ingenuity on the author's part.


A new engine isn't patentable unless it is innovative, and uses entirely new methods.

A new model of a gasoline-burning internal combustion engine isn't patentable. Because it uses entirely different principles, a fundamentally new engine design like this might, however, be patentable:

http://www.cyclonepower.com/
http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1023924_cyclone-waste-heat-engin...
http://www.cyclonepower.com/comparison.html

"Cyclone engines do not require a transmission, starter motor, catalytic converter, muffler, radiator or oil pump."

Fundamentally different. Innovative. Arguably, a new invention (even though it is essentially a steam engine!).

Android is a touchscreen-based mobile phone OS, as is Android. Palm OS beat them both to it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treo_650

Neither Android nor iOS are fundamentally new designs. Hence Microsoft should be free to write WP7 if they want to.

Virtually ALL software written today is just "new models" ... a re-telling of a old story using different words, a new arrangement of an old song, a re-make of an old movie.

There is no real innovation here, there are no new inventions, just new bells and whistles. Software should NOT be patentable.

Copyrights ... OK, no problem, people should do their own work. Software patents? no way. Just say no.

Edited 2011-07-19 06:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Logic
by saynte on Tue 19th Jul 2011 06:13 in reply to "RE[6]: Logic"
saynte Member since:
2007-12-10

I agree that most software written isn't new content, just small extensions. However, I wouldn't let that stand in the way of a patent being filed for a real innovation in software.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: Logic
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 06:28 in reply to "RE[7]: Logic"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I agree that most software written isn't new content, just small extensions. However, I wouldn't let that stand in the way of a patent being filed for a real innovation in software.


I can't imagine one. The original maths is cooked up in universities, that is the innovation, and it isn't software.

Example: The concept of something like "modelling" is many decades old (e.g. watch the movie "Apollo 13" to see an early simulator in action). The maths involved is simply orbital mechanics, and is even older. Making the simulator is simply applied mathematics, it isn't "inventing" anything.

Another example: turn-based strategy games, such as Age Of Empires, are pre-dated by this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wargaming

Maths is ancient.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[8]: Logic
by Alfman on Tue 19th Jul 2011 07:15 in reply to "RE[7]: Logic"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

saynte,

"I agree that most software written isn't new content, just small extensions. However, I wouldn't let that stand in the way of a patent being filed for a real innovation in software."

Can you provide an example?

If not, you can borrow mine:

Quantum computing. A practical quantum computer would be innovative/novel in countless ways, with far reaching implications. The hardware for such a machine is no doubt innovative by just about everyone's standards.


Now we turn our attention to quantum computer software, and again we end up resorting to mathematics to lead the way. One of us developers will *happen* to be the first to write a quantum algorithm to do X. The act of being the first is "novel", but this is no indication that the algorithm isn't "obvious" to typical quantum developers, it's merely an indication that no one has ever tried before. It could very well be an inevitable algorithm which any quantum developer will be able to derive once practical quantum computers become relevant.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[8]: Logic
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 10:34 in reply to "RE[7]: Logic"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I agree that most software written isn't new content, just small extensions. However, I wouldn't let that stand in the way of a patent being filed for a real innovation in software.


I've had a re-think. Perhaps new, original algorithms are in fact useful in a patent context, and are "invented" by people from time to time.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=s2tc_s3tc_fix&nu...

"In the past, there have been individuals that have chimed in with their own thoughts on how to workaround the S3TC patent situation for open-source drivers, but none of them have been viable in legal terms. This new possible "solution" is a brand new texture compression algorithm that is simpler than S3TC and should not be infringing upon the S3 Texture Compression intellectual property."

http://www.phoronix.com/image-viewer.php?id=s2tc_s3tc_fix&image=s3t...

In a "way to avoid someone's silly, harmful software patent" context that is.

https://github.com/divVerent/s2tc/wiki/WhyS2TC

"The compressor and decompressor here are licensed under a license that gives you all freedoms you will ever need (namely, the MIT license). In particular, the MIT license allows you to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense or sell the software, provided you keep copyright notices intact.

In the unlikely case you need freedoms not covered by the MIT license, feel free to send me a message, and we can negotiate something.

Furthermore, you are free to reimplement S2TC on your own, and can use the format specification on this site as a guide."


Edited 2011-07-19 10:47 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2