Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 19th Jun 2014 23:59 UTC
Legal

The US Supreme Court has made it ever so slightly harder to patent software.

The patent claimed a method of hedging against counter-party risk, which is a fancy word for the risk that you make a deal with someone and later he doesn't uphold his end of the bargain. The Supreme Court unanimously held that you can't patent an abstract concept like this merely by stating that the hedging should be done on a computer. This kind of abstract patent is depressingly common in the software industry, and the CLS ruling will cause lower courts to take a harder look at them.

It's a small victory, but hey, I take whatever I can. Sadly, the SCOTUS also states that "many computer-implemented claims" are still eligible for patent protection, without actually explaining which claims. So, while appending "on a computer" to an obvious abstract concept does not make it patentable, the actual concept of patenting software is still very much allowed.

Even if the SCOTUS had completely abolished software patents, however, we still would have to deal with them for more than a decade - existing software patents would not magically vanish, and would still require lengthy and expensive court cases to be invalidated. Something bullies like Microsoft and Apple can afford easily, while many others cannot.

Sorry for not putting a smile on your face, but reality is reality. Sadly.

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RE[5]: Well ...
by Alfman on Fri 20th Jun 2014 18:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Well ..."
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

Why? If I go through the trouble of creating a format that is used by millions of people, and you come along and piggyback off my hard work, then I want a small cut of whatever you're making (royalties). If you're doing it for non-commercial purposes, I might let you use it for $0. Otherwise? Pay up, bitch... or build your own damn format. There ain't no free lunch ;)



This is non-sequitur, it's not piggybacking of your hard work at all. Third party developers still need to dedicate their own hard work to achieve compatibility with popular formats. All developers should be free to access whatever file formats they want to using their own code implementations to read/write the format. It doesn't make logical sense to deny us this right.

You may object to third parties piggybacking off of your popularity, but nobody should feel entitled to a legal monopoly on popularity. And frankly if a defacto standard is going to exist, you should be so lucky that it's yours and not someone else's ;)


You did not respond to this paragraph, so did you agree that the patent system can deprave some developers of their own hard work?

Thus, it's often the "infringing" party who is being denied the fruits of their labor and the patent holder who's collecting royalties for someone else's hard work.


Edited 2014-06-20 18:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Well ...
by WorknMan on Fri 20th Jun 2014 19:40 in reply to "RE[5]: Well ..."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

All developers should be free to access whatever file formats they want to using their own code implementations to read/write the format.


Okay, fine. Then I should be free to use whatever GPL'd code I want in my proprietary projects, and never give the source code back. I mean, if you as a developer are going to make up arbitrary rules about what you're allowed to do with other people's file formats, protocols, codecs, etc, then two can play this game ;)

You did not respond to this paragraph, so did you agree that the patent system can deprave some developers of their own hard work?


With the software patent system being so out of whack as it is now, sure. That's why I'm talking about reform here.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Well ...
by Alfman on Fri 20th Jun 2014 19:58 in reply to "RE[6]: Well ..."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

Okay, fine. Then I should be free to use whatever GPL'd code I want in my proprietary projects, and never give the source code back. I mean, if you as a developer are going to make up arbitrary rules about what you're allowed to do with other people's file formats, protocols, codecs, etc, then two can play this game ;)



Let's not conflate copyright and patents, they're very different and I can agree with one while disagreeing with the other. To keep the example "apples to apples", then you as a proprietary developer are free to re-implement the GPL project functionality in your own software, but you'd have to write your own source code.


With the software patent system being so out of whack as it is now, sure. That's why I'm talking about reform here.


But mutual exclusivity is one of the fundamental underpinnings of a patent system, is it not? How would you reconcile one developer's right to independently develop something with another developer's right to own a monopoly on it? I don't believe this is fixable, but I'm curious to hear what you have to say.

Edited 2014-06-20 20:03 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3