Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 19th Jul 2011 17:09 UTC
Google For the first time, Google has opened its mouth against the patent trolling by Apple (and by proxy, Microsoft) against Android manufacturers. By way of Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, the company took stand against the legal actions, and stated they aren't too worried. If need be, Google will ensure HTC doesn't lose the patent case against Apple.
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RE[3]: How can this be fixed?
by organgtool on Tue 19th Jul 2011 20:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: How can this be fixed?"
organgtool
Member since:
2010-02-25

If software is only covered under copyright

Just to be clear, software is currently covered under copyright and patents. I am suggesting that copyright protection alone is more than adequate protection.
One could easily reverse engineer the software then change the code (variable names, language, interface, etc.) and then just release the software as their own.

This has happened numerous times before, especially with companies infringing on code from open source projects. There are several ways to prove your case against these companies. One way is to use analytical software that compares the compiled binaries of your software and the alleged infringing software. For the amount of work it would take to fool the analysis software, it would take less effort to write your own software. Another way to prove their code was copied is to demonstrate obscure bugs in your software that also occur in the infringing software. While this is circumstantial evidence, several common bugs would be all it takes to convince a judge that the code infringes. At that point, you are entitled up to $150,000 per copy that the infringing party distributed.
This is a situation where I feel patents would protect my investment. So I do feel that just saying there should be no software patents is a lazy excuse.

In your scenario, someone else who attempted to write the same kind of software from scratch, using none of your code and incurring all of their own development costs, would be found to infringe on your patent. That is not fair to other developers who are not in the game of copying code. They should be free to spend their own time and money developing a competing product. The trick is to protect the implementation without granting a monopoly on the concept itself and that is what copyright protection does.

Reply Parent Score: 6

cranfordio Member since:
2005-11-10

Thank you for this answer. It definitely helps me understand this better.

Reply Parent Score: 1

organgtool Member since:
2010-02-25

You're welcome. One down, approximately 300 million more to go.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: How can this be fixed?
by Not2Sure on Tue 19th Jul 2011 22:05 in reply to "RE[3]: How can this be fixed?"
Not2Sure Member since:
2009-12-07

Copyright protection of source code affords you absolutely no protection in actual litigation scenarios.

If you believe the construction of software is just the creation of source code artifacts and that is the only value, then you are correct. Copyright is all you would need.

But it seems to me you have so seriously devalued your own contribution that you are expendable. Not every absurd social network website or web 2.0 (no wait 3.0!) deserves patent protection. They all deserve copyright protection.

Then again, just about anyone can produce an absurd social network website too.

There is a class of software deserving of patent protection in order to recoup the costs of its construction. All of the costs not just the cost of you typing it down.

Reply Parent Score: 1

organgtool Member since:
2010-02-25

Copyright protection of source code affords you absolutely no protection in actual litigation scenarios.

Care to elaborate?

If you believe the construction of software is just the creation of source code artifacts and that is the only value, then you are correct. Copyright is all you would need.

I never said that software development is simply sitting down and thrashing out code. However, the code is the final product of all of the planning, requirements, design, and testing. It is the sum total of all that work and is much more valuable than the overly-broad garbage contained in a software patent.

But it seems to me you have so seriously devalued your own contribution that you are expendable.

The numerous promotions I have received recently tell a different story.

Not every absurd social network website or web 2.0 (no wait 3.0!) deserves patent protection. They all deserve copyright protection.

Your guess of my occupation is nowhere near on-target. Let's just put it this way: it's not web-based and it requires years of planning before a single line of code can be written.

There is a class of software deserving of patent protection in order to recoup the costs of its construction. All of the costs not just the cost of you typing it down.

Again, the code is the end result of all of the planning that went into the project. Just because a project takes a lot of planning and a long time to produce results doesn't mean that you should be able to prevent other people from doing all of their own work to produce their own implementation.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: How can this be fixed?
by galvanash on Wed 20th Jul 2011 06:43 in reply to "RE[4]: How can this be fixed?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Copyright protection of source code affords you absolutely no protection in actual litigation scenarios.


There are numerous examples of case law showing that to be an untrue statement... Many people have succesfully sued over software copyright infringement - orders of magnitude more have settled out of court.

If you believe the construction of software is just the creation of source code artifacts and that is the only value, then you are correct. Copyright is all you would need.


Counterpoint: Show me a software product that is heavily protected by still active patents (to the point that making a clone is very difficult) that is BOTH poorly written AND successful? There are examples, and they fail into the "we use it because we have no choice" category. As soon as the patents expire or get worked around though one of two things happens - the software gets ALOT better... or the product dies.

I would content that the industry as a whole benefits more from the absence of such products... They only exist because of patents. Removing patent protection from the software industry would immediately increase the quality of the products. No one would "have no choice". My contention is that poor software quality is a MUCH bigger problem in the industry than lack of ideas...

But it seems to me you have so seriously devalued your own contribution that you are expendable. SNIP... Then again, just about anyone can produce an absurd social network website too.


Try making a slow, buggy social network website and see how that turns out for you. If anything removing patent protection from software adds value to the act of writing code... The reason that badly written products can fly in today's market is at least partly because if your ideas are patented you don't have to care much about quality - you can just threaten your competitors to keep them off your back.

There is a class of software deserving of patent protection in order to recoup the costs of its construction. All of the costs not just the cost of you typing it down.


Thats exactly it. Hardly any of the costs are just typing it down. Neither are any of the costs coming up with what to type down. Ideas are cheap, so is code. Good ideas are even cheap, but good code is definitely NOT cheap, and there is WAY more to it than just the idea it expresses.

Developer's don't like patents because it devalues their work, not the other way around...

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: How can this be fixed?
by galvanash on Wed 20th Jul 2011 06:24 in reply to "RE[3]: How can this be fixed?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Good answer ;) I'd mod you up but I can't (already posted).

Reply Parent Score: 2