Linked by David Adams on Tue 2nd Aug 2011 21:56 UTC, submitted by _txf_
Legal Now that these kind of issues are starting to be mentioned by The Economist, NPR, The Guardian, and Forbes, are we at last at the point where the myth that patents universally encourage innovation finally being dispelled?
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RE[2]: The wrong question ...
by avih on Wed 3rd Aug 2011 02:43 UTC in reply to "RE: The wrong question ..."
avih
Member since:
2006-03-16

...
Another problem is that good ideas in software often is quite simple to grasp or explain. The really hard thing is to implement them, so even if you license a software patent you may need to do a lot of work yourself, even though you paid for using the idea.


I don't think that is the case. The hard part about ideas, whether in software or other fields, is conceiving them. Once you thought of a new paradigm, then explaining, implementing or copying it (if you're exposed to the idea) is relatively simple, give or take.

The problems with patents now-days, IMO, are:

1. Where to draw the line between trivial ideas (Amazon's one click purchase patent comes to mind) which shouldn't be patentable, and real innovative concepts/processes which should be protectable.

2. The extent of protection granted by current laws over "IP" in general (controversial term).

3. The fact that these days, patents are collected, traded and mostly used as bargaining chips or simply as a way to hurt competitors, regardless if the patent owners have real products which implement the patented system (esp. together with point 1 above)

And, as a result,

4. The fact that at the current patents landscape, it's practically impossible to develop something new without stepping over existing patents (see previous points), which will only reveal themselves after the developer/s feel they've established a profitable business, and even if the product was developed independently.

And this makes any development which isn't backed by a massive financial entity, an extremely risky business.

It's point 4 which really sucks and really hurts innovation by non corporate entities (read: small businesses).

PS.
This new DVDto50M codec? probably infringes dozens of patents, and probably much more...

Edited 2011-08-03 02:50 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

The hard part about ideas, whether in software or other fields, is conceiving them. Once you thought of a new paradigm, then explaining, implementing or copying it (if you're exposed to the idea) is relatively simple, give or take.


Tell that to a civil or mechanical engineer and they will laugh in your face.

Many things are exceptionally easy to conceive yet essentially impossible to implement (eg glass submarines). Mechanical clocks and watches have had very little increase in accuracy in the last 100 years despite thousands of highly creative patents by absolutely brilliant engineers and watchmakers.

Reply Parent Score: 3

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

In the case of bridges and other large structures the trickiest part is usually not designing the structure but working out the best way to build it.

The Sydney Opera House is a worthy case study into the sometimes extreme difficulties of converting a very simple design into a functional building. [Basically it proved to be a leaky, massively over-budget construction nightmare with appalling acoustics.]

Reply Parent Score: 2