Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th Oct 2012 09:24 UTC
Legal The failing US patent system is getting ever more mainstream - The New York Times is running a long and details piece on the failings of the system, especially in relation to the technology industry most of us hold so dearly. Most of the stuff in there isn't new to us - but there's two things in the article I want to highlight.
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RE[5]: My two cents
by Alfman on Tue 9th Oct 2012 15:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: My two cents"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

JoshuaS,

"For example, medicins take a lot of investment, but they are very cheap to reverse-engieer."

"By abolishing the patent system entirely, many industries will stagnate because of the mear cost of innovation and small, innovatng bussinesses crushed by multi-nationals, because of their shear resources."

For the record, most software engineers are not calling for the general abolishment of the patent system in other fields like medicine, we're just saying that it shouldn't be applied to software, which is routinely derived simultaneously when multiple developers are given the same task to solve. Or when we're pressured to adopt a specific patented solution to be compatible with a defacto standard even though we'd really like to use non-infringing alternatives.

Edited 2012-10-09 15:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: My two cents
by JoshuaS on Tue 9th Oct 2012 20:10 in reply to "RE[5]: My two cents"
JoshuaS Member since:
2011-09-15

The main problem with software patents is that unknowledgable civil servants don't know they already had an algorithm for solving a square root in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. The civil servants should be more knowledgable, that's all.

Suppose such a thing as an interface that could suit both the traditional desktop/laptop and tablet existed. That's not an obvious idea ( look at Windows 8 ) and requires you to hire a batch of creative developers. A software patent would have use here, because you're inventing a new software product, and not just telling your computer how to do things mathematicians have been doing for decades.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: My two cents
by Alfman on Wed 10th Oct 2012 04:14 in reply to "RE[6]: My two cents"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

JoshuaS,

"The main problem with software patents is that unknowledgable civil servants don't know they already had an algorithm for solving a square root in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. The civil servants should be more knowledgable, that's all."

Sure, patent workers may not have sufficient training and resources, but that isn't at all what I was trying to convey by my comment. To reuse your specific example, I wouldn't care whether anyone had an algorithm for solving a square root prior to me or not, every developer who is capable of deriving such an algorithm should be entitled to use it. Is it ok to step in and claim ownership of the algorithms that are the product of our own thought processes? Subsequent devs may even be more talented than the first one, their only fault by the patent system is that they weren't earlier. I say the "first" guy deserves a creditworthy mention in computer science journals, etc, but neither he nor his employer should own software algorithms at the exclusion of others who have a similar thought process. There's no reason to treat software algorithms like physical property since they aren't a limited resource needing to be managed through governance nor economics.

Reply Parent Score: 3