Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Jul 2012 23:08 UTC
Google Apparently, this is a major victory of the patent system. This, this right here, this is what the patent system has come to. This is the destructive effect it's having on this once beautiful industry. Thanks to trolls like Apple and Microsoft, basic, elemental functionality is being removed from devices people already own.
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Member since:

I disagree with your argument that money/profit is the unique value unit people use to measure a product worth, a trademark, etc.

Really? You don't think people pay more for a better product or service, or less for something worse?

I didn't saw the sign saying "it's my way or the highway."

It's not that I don't mind conversing with you. It's just I want to know what you believe rather than where you disagree with me.

For instance, you feel the United States patent system doesn't work, but you don't say exactly what the problems are, or how to fix it.

I don't always agree with the patent decisions handed down, but I understand the effect the system has on the economy. It evens the playing field by making sure small companies don't get their ideas stolen by larger companies they could never compete with.

And it makes sure that large companies truly invest in innovation rather than using whatever innovations another company invested in without just compensation.

Our laws (FRAND) also makes sure that companies don't block out other companies by not allowing them to license their technology under fair and reasonable terms.

I feel the system works well, but we're watching a battle for extremely thin profit margins, with companies in do or die situations.

Apple and Samsung are doing great, but Motorola, HTC, Nokia, etc. are all fighting for a small pie. Likewise these companies have all taken turns being the big dogs once.

The effect: What sector of the economy is growing anywhere near the pace of mobile technology?

Reply Parent Score: 0

Alfman Member since:


"For instance, you feel the United States patent system doesn't work, but you don't say exactly what the problems are, or how to fix it."

I understand the theory behind patents, and why they could be good, however the primary benefits of patents as an incentive are only had when society is stuck in a rut of non-innovation. That does not describe this period with software. The monopolising forces of patents have held us back rather than pushed us forward. Software developers like myself have to write infringing code every week because it's unavoidable. When there are a million developers world-wide solving many of the same problems, we will statistically come up with many "infringing" ideas. That's not "theft", there are only so many "good" solutions to a problem. We're incredibly lucky that patents are so poorly enforced because otherwise the whole software industry would come to a grinding halt.

Secondly, patents are not supposed to exist to be profitable. Capitalism sorts that out itself. Patents exist as an incentive to make proprietary information public, this was their core selling point - the widespread dissemination of practical knowledge. There are two factors today that make patents much less meaningful in serving it's intended purpose: 1) they're unintelligible, and deliberately so. 2) the internet has brought an information revolution - one can find detailed & useful information on everything without the need to look up patents. Both of these facts mean that if the collective knowledge documented in patents dropped off the face of the earth, I doubt a single software developer would bat an eye, that's how useless they are for us.

People talk about "fixing" software patents, like making them last a shorter period and imposing licensing schemes, which is good in so far as it renders them less effective. But to me it sounds like an implicit acknowledgement of the negative cost/benefit ratio for the software field. A natural question to ask is why we should have them at all. Maybe patents are more useful in the field of drug research, for example, but they're a bad idea for software.

Edited 2012-07-07 14:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

lilsim89 Member since:

Patents on software haven't held the industry back, which is extremely obvious given the enormous amount of new technology from both large and small tech. companies coming out every day.

Also, I can hardly think of any patents on software that most developers have to deal with, of which I'm also a Java developer. Because enforcing a patent on nearly any scale except for larger companies is greatly unpractical.

If software patents didn't exist, we would be undeniably looking at a large stagnation of innovation.

For instance, some extremely useful software apparatuses are codecs. We both know how patent encombered they are, but they're so vital to growth in computing today that the investments required to make them better absolutely dictates the need for patents.

Should we expect the great number of mathematicians and developers who create these products work for free, since they would essentially make zero dollars in your software patent-free world?

Reply Parent Score: 1