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[7]: Logic
by saynte on Tue 19th Jul 2011 11:46 UTC 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

RE[8]: Logic
by Alfman on Tue 19th Jul 2011 19:48 in reply to "RE[7]: Logic"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

saynte,

"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..."

Really? I'm still under the impression that no single mathematical model has ever addressed all observable phenomena. A hypothesis on the properties of physics lives or dies by whether or not it stands up to physical evidence, not whether or not it's mathematically correct.

For example, newtonian physics is mathematically sound, but it doesn't fit the physical world at the extremes.

But maybe I'm wrong and I missed some big new developments in the theory of everything, in which case I'd certainly appreciate a link to more information.

Let me know if I misinterpreted what you were trying to say.

"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."

I can understand that.

"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 would have expected that any R/C network patents have long passed their expiration dates, but it is not really my domain at all. I don't know how much work it is to establish a fabrication plant, or the effort required to minimize interference and leakage between components, etc... I'm just not comfortable making claims about electronic patents.


The reason I focus on software patents is because that's my expertise. People sometimes read into it too much.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: Logic
by saynte on Wed 20th Jul 2011 04:17 in reply to "RE[8]: Logic"
saynte Member since:
2007-12-10

Well, I would say it depends on what model of physics you need. If you know you will not encounter extreme cases, then you can apply it as required. A Hoare-logic proof of a program doesn't cover me pulling out the power on the computer, but we make the assumption that this case is far enough out-of-bounds that it doesn't matter.

As in my previous post, I try to come at this from the point of view that much of the ingenuity that goes into software, is the same "effort" that goes into many other types of patents.

I would also be happy for now if all software patents were thrown out until reasonable standards could be put in place to make it not such a haven for crap. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1