Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 4th Aug 2011 21:38 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y The Google-Microsoft patent war of words is continuing. Yesterday, Google (rightfully so, in my book) accused Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle partaking in an organised patent attack against Android, instead of competing on merit, claiming that they bought up Novell's and Nortel's patents solely to attack Android and its device makers. Microsoft struck back, claiming Google was offered to join in on the bids for the Novell patents, but rejected the offer. Google has now responded to this accusation - and to make matters even more confusing, Microsoft responded back. A public shouting match between two powerful parties? Count me in!
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Aim of my post is to gain more understanding into patents & copyright.... Isn't a patent provided to cover the idea, process of execution & its applicability? As I understand, copyright can protect my code but not the idea & its implementation process. So, without a patent somebody can take my idea & execution procedure (unique in combination) but use their own logic (code) to the achieve the same. How will a copyright protect my idea & execution procedure? I'm OK if somebody takes my idea but uses a different execution approach to solve the problem. But, I don't want somebody copying my idea & execution procedure without me getting any benefit out of it. This is specifically true for cases where a company invests millions of $$ in R&D, just to find that somebody copied their idea & execution approach into their product to get the feature for free. In any case, patents should have a stringent expiry clauses (not exceeding 5yrs) without possible extensions. Modification of original patent by adding a new approach must not be considered as a new patent. I personally feel 5yrs is more than enough for companies to benefit from their patent. Further, government must stop trading of patents between companies as assets. Ideally, a company's patents must be released to public domain if the company is taken over by another.

As far as I know, patents do not protect ideas, they protect implementations of ideas, aka "inventions".

I liken this to a simple concept that people can picture easily:

- A person can invent a new type of water pump, and perhaps get a patent on it, but they cannot get a patent on the idea of pumping water. Another person later on can invent yet another new type of water pump, and they too can perhaps get a patent for it.

- Both inventors have invented water pumps, the two pumps in question just work differently. Neither inventor has a patent on the idea itself of pumping water.

AFAIK, this is how patents work.

Examples with pictures ... there are a number of different steam engines on this page:

Double acting stationary steam engine, double piston stroke, oscillating cylinder, triple expansion, uniflow and turbine are shown. AFAIK there are still other types, pistonless rotary engine, Wankel engine, Rankine cycle and Schoelle cycle?

All of these confrom to the idea of a steam engine, but they are all different "inventions", they are all different implementations of that idea of a steam engine.

Edited 2011-08-05 07:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

deppbv78 Member since:

Exactly my point... Patent covers idea & a specific execution approach not just an idea.

Then, what is exactly wrong with software patents? Why shouldn't execution approach for implementing an idea be protected?

Reply Parent Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:

Then, what is exactly wrong with software patents? Why shouldn't execution approach for implementing an idea be protected?

Because code is protected by copyright. Software patents would be akin to plot patents - patents on the detective novel, the romance novel, the scifi novel, etc.

Reply Parent Score: 1