Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th Nov 2013 10:04 UTC, submitted by mbpark
Microsoft

Microsoft is generating $2 billion per year in revenue from Android patent royalties, says Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund in a new note on the company.

He estimates that the Android revenue has a 95% margin, so it's pretty much all profit.

This money, says Sherlund, helps Microsoft hide the fact that its mobile and Xbox groups are burning serious cash.

Microsoft has not written a single line of Android code, yet rakes in the profits through scummy software patents. Crime does pay.

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majipoor
Member since:
2009-01-22

That is because techies know how trivial those patents are. Non techies think it is really difficult to 'invent' bounce back scrolling.


I don't know how techies who don't even know what patents we are talking about (in this case as nobody actually know hat patents are involved in the MS deal) could decide whether the patent is valid.

Moreover, in order to be valid, a patent do not have to be difficult to invent. The velcro was not difficult to invent: it was just a very smart idea.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Moreover, in order to be valid, a patent do not have to be difficult to invent. The velcro was not difficult to invent: it was just a very smart idea.

Velcro is a physical invention. It started out as an idea. But anybody can have an idea. The patent was for actually making something.

Imagine that years before the invention of Velcro somebody had the idea of Velcro and patented it. Somebody else really made it but now has to pay Velcro because he patented the idea.

Idea patents are stupid and bad for everybody but big established corporations. And they really don't need any extra help to make billions.

Reply Parent Score: 6

majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

Imagine that years before the invention of Velcro somebody had the idea of Velcro and patented it. Somebody else really made it but now has to pay Velcro because he patented the idea.

Idea patents are stupid and bad for everybody but big established corporations. And they really don't need any extra help to make billions.


I agree, but you are talking about patent trolls here and neither Microsoft nor Apple are patent trolls because they do actually use their patents in products.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

"Moreover, in order to be valid, a patent do not have to be difficult to invent. The velcro was not difficult to invent: it was just a very smart idea.

Velcro is a physical invention. It started out as an idea. But anybody can have an idea. The patent was for actually making something.

Imagine that years before the invention of Velcro somebody had the idea of Velcro and patented it. Somebody else really made it but now has to pay Velcro because he patented the idea.

Idea patents are stupid and bad for everybody but big established corporations. And they really don't need any extra help to make billions.
"
Nope, read back the story of the velcro, the guy 'invented' nothing, he just copied nature :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velcro#History

People copying nature, patenting the genome, shouldn't be allowed to patent anything, since there is obvious prior art and anybody could have made it too.

The manufacturing process of making velcro might yet be patented.

Kochise

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

majipoor,

"I don't know how techies who don't even know what patents we are talking about (in this case as nobody actually know hat patents are involved in the MS deal) could decide whether the patent is valid."


You've highlighted one prime reason enforcing software patents is absurd: merely identifying patent infringement is an intractable problem. There are hundreds / thousands of new patents being issued on any given day, with a backlog of millions - a large proportion of those have been issued for software. The truth of the matter is that it's impossible for individuals to keep up, much less identify which patents we've inadvertently infringed upon in our software.

Microsoft is merely exploiting the inherent problem of identifying patents. There was a popular example back in the day: IBM's lawyers paid Sun Microsystems a visit with demands for patent license fees over 7 patents. Sun indicated that they could fight those patents. IBM rebutted "Maybe you don’t infringe these seven patents. But we have 10,000 U.S. patents. Do you really want us to go back to Armonk and find seven patents you do infringe?"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/09/24/large-...


Writing software is in and of itself an inventive process. The problem with respect to patents is that in the course of doing our everyday jobs of solving software problems, we will infringe patents without even knowing it. We worked hard and solved a problem. So when someone sues us over infringement, our own rights to our own work is in jeopardy. Our final product might even be better than the patent holder's, but none of that matters since the patent system granted them a legal monopoly over the software methods we are using.


"Moreover, in order to be valid, a patent do not have to be difficult to invent. The velcro was not difficult to invent: it was just a very smart idea."


That's another problem with software methods, it's all too easy to solve a problem the same way as someone else already has. In nature "ideas" aren't a limited resource, the more you have, the better. Under the contrived patent system however, ideas have become a land grab, usually sold to the biggest corps with the intention of charging license fees over everyone else's use of ideas. The vast majority of software developers feel the way I do, software patents are very bad for our field and have had the effect of rewarding the use of court system to block competitors rather than spurring innovation.

Reply Parent Score: 6

majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

majipoor,
...


I mostly agree with all your points but I don't see why they should apply only to software patents and not "hardware" patents.

The Velcro is a good example, because it is a hardware patent which is just a smart idea that mimics nature. On the other side, software patents may be actually very clever and complex algorithms requiring a lot of research (for example compression algorithms or audio/video codecs).

So my point is not that all software patents should be granted, but that some are actually more patentable than many obvious hardware patents.

The "software patents are Evil" thing is thus mostly a dogmatic point-of-view for me from people considering that "software are just maths" which is not more correct than saying hardware is just physics.

I am myself a software engineer, designer and solution architect and I know that engineering a clever piece of software cannot be summarized as a mathematical equation.

Reply Parent Score: 3