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post #81 of 100
Well FWIW she looks Korean, but I agree her heritage isn't an issue. I guess it was brought up because Samsung (a Korean powerhouse) is knee deep with Google and Apple in these IP battles being waged.

I'm hoping Lee raises the bar of what qualifies as a patent so high that companies begin to worry less about suing each other and devote those resources to innovating.

Jim
post #82 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

It’s quite incredible how the anonymous Gatorguy can instantly provide Google talking points on virtually any subject. It's almost like he's being fed what to say by the Samsung-like Google message board police.

...or that I know how to read beyond a "Kasper's Automated Slave" article. Yes, it's incredible.
(What the heck does Samsung-like Google message board police mean?? )

Took note that you didn't say I had the facts wrong either.
Edited by Gatorguy - 12/13/13 at 10:22am
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post #83 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

It’s quite incredible how the anonymous Gatorguy can instantly provide Google talking points on virtually any subject. It's almost like he's being fed what to say by the Samsung-like Google message board police.
How is what he said "Google Talking Points" if what he stated are facts?
post #84 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post


How is what he said "Google Talking Points" if what he stated are facts?
 

Look up the definition of "talking points." 

 

Gatorguy always plays the devil’s advocate, typically where the devil is Google. 

 

That must be valuable enough to cover his expenses involved in sitting in chat rooms all day long doing nothing but disseminating propaganda.

post #85 of 100
Edit: Whatever lol.gif
Edited by Gatorguy - 12/12/13 at 7:00pm
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post #86 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post


And why is that bad? See post 71 above.
@

First off, I never talked about Ms. Lee using her influence to get patents issued to Google. I'm not in that fight. Please make sure who said what before you start ripping, you're a lawyer, I would have expected you would have been more careful about attribution.

Secondly, if you think the USPTO has been run quite well in the last few years by Mr. Kappos, then we probably have quite fundamental disagreements.

Third, I will explain to you why software patents, at least the way they are administered, is a bad thing using the poster boy of bad software patents, Amazon's one-click ordering system. Before e-commerce, you can phone in orders by leaving a message. The vendor basically says "leave your order items and quantities on our answering machine and we'll fill it using the customer info that you already furnished to us to keep in our records". One-click ordering basically automates this process.

Now, in automating this process, did Amazon invent a machine that allowed for this automation? No. Did they invent the programming system (or language) that made this automation possible? No. Did they invent the data and communications network that made the automation possible? No. What did they do to make one-click ordering a reality then? They wrote a set of instructions that made it possible to use previously invented machines, programming systems, and networks to automate a process that used to be done manually.

Most software is like that. They automate or computerize procedures that are either trivial or established manual practices. The manual practices generally involve things like manipulation of a database (i.e. playing around with a card catalog), accounting routines (double entry accounting was invented centuries ago), and notification and conveyance of data or information based on some hierarchy of rules (really, are we going to let someone claim that they invented this concept?).

So basically most software come from "I see something that's being done manually and I've written an app to automate it." That is not innovation, all the heavy lifting in innovation that the patent-seeking software claims was provided by the people who invented the computers, programming systems, and networks. i.e. the infrastructure that allowed a person to write a set of instructions that automated a practice or procedure.

This is the point that the USPTO and a lot of patent lawyers don't seem to get about software. Where is the invention? Automating a process is not inventing it. Now if you invent a device, machine, system, widget or what-have-you that made the automation of manual processes possible, then that is patentable. And those things did get patent protection, from transistors, to ICs, to computers, to networking devices, etc.

So this is all the USPTO or Congress or the courts have to declare and most of the software patent mess goes away: Software that is mere automation or computerization of trivial and/or established manual procedures or practices is not patentable.

Personally, I'd prefer that all software patents (not copyrights) be banned. If I devised a new way of using an existing tool, such as a hammer, it would be ridiculous to grant me a patent. Software is just the means of using an existing tool, the computer. Why would a new way of using a computer be patentable? Which brings us to business process patents which is another can of worms.
Edited by tundraboy - 12/13/13 at 8:07am
post #87 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post
 

Of course most patents cover ideas that a qualified engineer could think of.  If a qualified engineer can't do it, then who can?  Our patent system would be seriously fucked up if we had a standard that only allowed patents for ideas that no qualified engineer could think of.  There would be like 5 patents a year. 

 

The point of the patent system is not to reward people for inventing things that no one else is capable of inventing.  It rewards people for being first to invent.  The goal is to be first, not supernatural. 

 

And it's a damn good system.  It creates risk for entrenched companies.  If an entrenched company doesn't invent themselves or doesn't buy up the inventions of newcomers they will eventually be locked out of the market.  The risk to entrenched market players is the lifeblood of the American innovation engine.  Patents keep companies focused on development rather than bribing politicians or engaging in anti-competitive antics.  Patents are the reason companies like Apple can dethrone RIM.  Patents increase the odds that a startup will succeed. Patents encourage investors to make risky bets on startups. What is there to not like about patents?

 

I am absolutely flabbergasted that an American engineer or scientist would support any propaganda that diminishes our patent system.  What is it that makes people think a patent owner shouldn't be able to sue a big company like Microsoft for patent infringement?  Is Microsoft's desire to add to its 50 Billion dollar cash pile that important to you?  Oh I know, if we kill the patent system, MS will charge us less for their product. Right..../s.  Oh I know, it must be that you think Steve Ballmer is more capable of spending that cash wisely than the entrepreneur who invented the technology and spent the time to get a patent issued.  Oh I know, you must think we need more of the world's wealth concentrated in the few individuals who run big companies.  We wouldn't want that wealth distributed to inventors (who are mostly engineers and scientists).  Or maybe you just don't want money flowing to patent attorneys (again, scientist and engineers).

 

When faced with these questions everyone says, "oh, I support the patent system, but I think we need better patents".  The problem with this attitude is illustrated in ascii's comment above. The only "good patent" is an idea that no qualified engineer can think of.  Your standard of patentability is fucked up.  And yes I'm pissed as hell at the computer science industry because they are the ass holes that started this campaign against the patent system. They think they understand patent law........but they don't. The only thing they've done is created a movement that is seriously damaging the goose that lays the golden egg (as evidenced by the shitty anti-patent legislation that was passed by the House last week).      

I am certainly not against the patent system, and neither are most software developers. Like lawyers, we make our living with our brains and fully understand that what makes that possible is a legal system where ideas can be monitized. Most software developers are also pro-capitalist, pro-US I have noticed. I think the reason for this is that, in the tech industry, the free market functions very well, delivering twice as fast computers for half the price every few years or so. Spending all our time in that environment, we get to thinking, what if education and healthcare was more free market, wouldn't that work better too?

 

But (and here's the but) there really are things that are being patented that just shouldn't be. For example the news article on this forum yesterday (http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/12/12/apple-looks-to-curb-web-browser-ui-spoofing-using-real-time-camera-images) about mixing images from the webcam (something a browser app can't access) in to a GUI to prove to the user that the GUI they are using is being generated by a native app, not some mimicry by a web page. That is a good, non-obvious idea, deserves a patent. 

 

But the example from earlier in this thread (http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/161152/former-head-of-google-patent-strategy-appointed-to-run-u-s-patent-agency#post_2445724) where the lawyer was trying to claim that using someone else's bounds checking function was an IP violation, it isn't, as the judge, who was an experienced programmer, explained to him. Because IP protection should apply to ideas, and this is not a case of using someone else's idea. It's more like using someone else's spoon to stir your coffee. I suppose some time long ago in pre-history, someone invented the spoon, but it wasn't this guy. There is an objective distinction to be had here, but it requires a certain context of knowledge to see it: engineering knowledge, such as the judge had and I hope this new appointee has too. Personally I don't see a conflict of interest as long as she has resigned her position at Google and sold all her stock.

post #88 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

 

But the example from earlier in this thread (http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/161152/former-head-of-google-patent-strategy-appointed-to-run-u-s-patent-agency#post_2445724) where the lawyer was trying to claim that using someone else's bounds checking function was an IP violation, it isn't, as the judge, who was an experienced programmer, explained to him. Because IP protection should apply to ideas, and this is not a case of using someone else's idea. It's more like using someone else's spoon to stir your coffee. I suppose some time long ago in pre-history, someone invented the spoon, but it wasn't this guy. There is an objective distinction to be had here, but it requires a certain context of knowledge to see it: engineering knowledge, such as the judge had and I hope this new appointee has too. Personally I don't see a conflict of interest as long as she has resigned her position at Google and sold all her stock.

To be precise, that debate from the Oracle v Google case was about copyright -- which protects code verbatim -- not about patents. This is an important distinction.

 

Patents help stimulate the pharmaceutical industry because the cost of developing products is so high. A new drug could take billions of dollars and ten years to research and develop, so holding a seventeen year monopoly helps companies recoup those costs and the prospect of such exclusive rights spurs them to keep pushing the boundaries. 

 

However, history has shown that patents are absolutely not necessary to the software industry. Most of the algorithms and data structures that power modern software (e.g. methods for fast sorting, efficient ways to store and retrieve data) were invented by computer scientists in the absence of patents. The technologies for data compression, encryption, and transmission that underly the internet were all developed in widely disseminated papers and advanced computing as a whole. AT&T's Unix was a groundbreaking OS that introduced revolutionary ideas such as pipes and treating everything as files, and it became so successful because it was widely re-implemented and iterated upon. Software has always been protected by copyright. You can't steal someone's code. But you've always been allowed to provide your own implementation of the functionality. Sometimes, your implementation will be better than the original one. If that's the case, people will start using your implementation. That's how the BSDs came into existence, and that's how progress has always been made in software. 

 

The concept of patenting high-level functionality is fairly new to the software industry, and I think it actually hinders progress overall. Imagine for example if Adobe were able to lay exclusive claim to the algorithms in digital photo editors. Then it would be able to sue all those alternative implementations like Pixelmator, GIMP, etc, out of existence.


Edited by d4NjvRzf - 12/13/13 at 7:49am
post #89 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

She won't have any influence on an individual case. Anyone that works in management knows that you don't interfere with the work of individuals three layers down.

What is more important is her personal views on the importance of patents and whether she can hire good people and implement policies that will result in more and better patents.

The best thing she could do is ignore the current debate on "Patent Trolls". Playing politics will F up the patent system. The Patent Troll campaign is just a smear campaign against the patent system. To the extent there is a problem, it is a litigation problem, not a USPTO problem. Hopefully Ms. Lee will stay the hell away.

You are one of the few people I've seen who understands the danger the current crop of craven politicians pose to property rights and a functioning patent system.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #90 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

...When faced with these questions everyone says, "oh, I support the patent system, but I think we need better patents".  The problem with this attitude is illustrated in ascii's comment above. The only "good patent" is an idea that no qualified engineer can think of.  Your standard of patentability is fucked up.  And yes I'm pissed as hell at the computer science industry because they are the ass holes that started this campaign against the patent system. They think they understand patent law........but they don't. The only thing they've done is created a movement that is seriously damaging the goose that lays the golden egg (as evidenced by the shitty anti-patent legislation that was passed by the House last week).      

I'm sure you're aware that the Supreme Court has very recently agreed to hear arguments on "the patent eligibility of computer-implemented inventions" this next year. Do you think SCOTUS will put any new limits on the appropriate issuance of software patents, perhaps even deeming them unpatentable for the most part? Or perhaps you expect they'll leave software patents and business method protection just as it is?

http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2013/12/is-software-patentable-supreme-court-to-decide.html
"50-years on, we still don't have the answer as to whether computer programs are patentable...
Edited by Gatorguy - 12/13/13 at 8:37am
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post #91 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by StruckPaper View Post
Fair question.
 
But then, who can they hire that wouldn't have any conflict of interest? They do have to hire someone with patent experience, don't they?

Right...attorneys with serious experience in patents tend to work for one of the companies with patents like Google.  It's probably impossible to find anyone who doesn't have at least some conflict of interest.  Even if they don't work for a company they probably own stock and they aren't going to vote on somethign that will hurt their stock.

post #92 of 100
Originally Posted by StruckPaper View Post
 

 

 

At the very least, someone who’d recuse themselves from any relevant proceedings.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #93 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

At the very least, someone who’d recuse themselves from any relevant proceedings.

What kinds of "relevant proceedings" would Ms. Lee as Acting Director of the USPTO need to recuse herself from, or were you just speaking in generalities as they relate to court cases?
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post #94 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


I'm sure you're aware that the Supreme Court has very recently agreed to hear arguments on "the patent eligibility of computer-implemented inventions" this next year. Do you think SCOTUS will put any new limits on the appropriate issuance of software patents, perhaps even deeming them unpatentable for the most part? Or perhaps you expect they'll leave software patents and business method protection just as it is?

http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2013/12/is-software-patentable-supreme-court-to-decide.html
"50-years on, we still don't have the answer as to whether computer programs are patentable...


I'd like to think the SC would exercise judicial restraint. But I'm not too hopeful.  The computer industry has it stuck in its head that the patent system is broken and needs to be fixed and they have screamed loud enough and for long enough that others have begun to believe.

What they don't realize is nascent technologies have always created the same kinds of problems and wars.  If you look at the patents that were issued in the mid to late 1800s they were all about trains and steam engines and related technology. Instead of whining about patents, the industrialists bought patents.  And yes they bought them from individual inventors.  Thomas Edison built his empire by buying many patents from others before his competitors could.  The bastards that lead the computer industry today use lawyers to avoid paying anyone for patents and out of their greed was born the non-practicing entity.

post #95 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


What kinds of "relevant proceedings" would Ms. Lee as Acting Director of the USPTO need to recuse herself from, or were you just speaking in generalities as they relate to court cases?


LOL, finally someone else on this blog who has a clue about what the Director of the Patent Office does.  Seriously, I'm sitting here laughing about how stupid all these comments are about a conflict of interest. The chances of the Director drafting an Office Action are about as good as the chances the CEO of Ford Motor company will be working on an assembly line installing oil filters.  

post #96 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by d4NjvRzf View Post
 

However, history has shown that patents are absolutely not necessary to the software industry. Most of the algorithms and data structures that power modern software (e.g. methods for fast sorting, efficient ways to store and retrieve data) were invented by computer scientists in the absence of patents.

Completely false.  The patent system is very much a motivator for advancement in software arts.  Yes there are examples of software that wasn't patented. However, there are two principle reasons for this.  First, companies in the early days developed software for their hardware and patented the hardware because they thought it was more valuable.  It wasn't that they couldn't patent software. Rather they chose to patent a different component of their invention.  However, patents definitely provided motivation to create the hardware and thus, the software. Secondly, even if one individual doesn't take advantage of the patent system, the patent system creates an ecosystem where invention flourishes. It creates a system where capital flows to individual risk takers rather than conies and politicians.  

The problem with software patents has nothing to do with whether the patent system works.  The problem with software patents is how they are drafted and prosecuted.  In my opinion, most software patents lack clarity and written description support.  Examiner's should be making rejections under 35 U.S.C. 112.  For some reason, the software industry doesn't have to follow by the rules that the rest of the world does. And how does the Patent Office respond? They make ridiculous asinine rejections under 101 and 103.  I'm a biochemist and most of my work is in materials chemistry, med tech, and biotechnology arts. I've prosecuted a few software patents and I have to say it was a terrible experience. I swear the software examiners are the bottom of the barrel (or as a chemical engineer would say, resid).

post #97 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
 

But the example from earlier in this thread (http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/161152/former-head-of-google-patent-strategy-appointed-to-run-u-s-patent-agency#post_2445724) where the lawyer was trying to claim that using someone else's bounds checking function was an IP violation, it isn't, as the judge, who was an experienced programmer, explained to him. Because IP protection should apply to ideas, and this is not a case of using someone else's idea. It's more like using someone else's spoon to stir your coffee. I suppose some time long ago in pre-history, someone invented the spoon, but it wasn't this guy. There is an objective distinction to be had here, but it requires a certain context of knowledge to see it: engineering knowledge, such as the judge had and I hope this new appointee has too. Personally I don't see a conflict of interest as long as she has resigned her position at Google and sold all her stock.


I'm sorry to be so harsh, but your comments are replete with examples that illustrate you don't understand patent law.  Let's begin with your statement than an idea is patentable. Guess what, "ideas" are not patentable.  An invention is a article of manufacture, chemical composition, or process.  The law requires that you embody your idea in a device, composition or process.  The mere idea is not patentable.  (although I suppose we can give you a mulligan if what you meant was "invention".)

Secondly, if the patent office issued an invalid patent, there are many ways to fix the problem.  The systems to do that are already in place and have been for nearly 80 years.  There is nothing about software that necessitates an exception. In 20 years from now, all the current patents will have expired and anyone can copy any of the currently existing software methods.  That's how it works.  


Edited by ash471 - 12/16/13 at 12:30am
post #98 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


First off, I never talked about Ms. Lee using her influence to get patents issued to Google. I'm not in that fight. Please make sure who said what before you start ripping, you're a lawyer, I would have expected you would have been more careful about attribution.

Secondly, if you think the USPTO has been run quite well in the last few years by Mr. Kappos, then we probably have quite fundamental disagreements.

Third, I will explain to you why software patents, at least the way they are administered, is a bad thing using the poster boy of bad software patents, Amazon's one-click ordering system. Before e-commerce, you can phone in orders by leaving a message. The vendor basically says "leave your order items and quantities on our answering machine and we'll fill it using the customer info that you already furnished to us to keep in our records". One-click ordering basically automates this process.

Now, in automating this process, did Amazon invent a machine that allowed for this automation? No. Did they invent the programming system (or language) that made this automation possible? No. Did they invent the data and communications network that made the automation possible? No. What did they do to make one-click ordering a reality then? They wrote a set of instructions that made it possible to use previously invented machines, programming systems, and networks to automate a process that used to be done manually.

Most software is like that. They automate or computerize procedures that are either trivial or established manual practices. The manual practices generally involve things like manipulation of a database (i.e. playing around with a card catalog), accounting routines (double entry accounting was invented centuries ago), and notification and conveyance of data or information based on some hierarchy of rules (really, are we going to let someone claim that they invented this concept?).

So basically most software come from "I see something that's being done manually and I've written an app to automate it." That is not innovation, all the heavy lifting in innovation that the patent-seeking software claims was provided by the people who invented the computers, programming systems, and networks. i.e. the infrastructure that allowed a person to write a set of instructions that automated a practice or procedure.

This is the point that the USPTO and a lot of patent lawyers don't seem to get about software. Where is the invention? Automating a process is not inventing it. Now if you invent a device, machine, system, widget or what-have-you that made the automation of manual processes possible, then that is patentable. And those things did get patent protection, from transistors, to ICs, to computers, to networking devices, etc.

So this is all the USPTO or Congress or the courts have to declare and most of the software patent mess goes away: Software that is mere automation or computerization of trivial and/or established manual procedures or practices is not patentable.

Personally, I'd prefer that all software patents (not copyrights) be banned. If I devised a new way of using an existing tool, such as a hammer, it would be ridiculous to grant me a patent. Software is just the means of using an existing tool, the computer. Why would a new way of using a computer be patentable? Which brings us to business process patents which is another can of worms.

First, look at your post 97. You were clearly chiming in about the conflict issue.

Secondly, I said Kappos did a better job than Dudas. And he did.  Dudas created an army of poorly trained examiners that rejected everything 5 times and then allowed stuff for no rational reason. Kappos, turned the ship around (or at least started the process).  Do you have any experience with the the patent office during the Kappos and Dudas administrations or are you just talking out of ass.

Thirdly, the Amazon patent was litigated. In other words, not only did the patent office say it was patentable, a district court said was valid and infringed. Then an appeals court said it was valid and infringed. We don't have time to go into the details, but you just don't understand patent law.  Just because something is simple doesn't mean it isn't patentable.  You are trying to use the simplicity of an invention to discredit its innovativeness. I would argue the opposite.  If nobody else thinks to do something that is very simple and of high value, then it should be more patentable, not less.  And by the way, no body is forcing anyone to do a one-click checkout.  If everyone is free to continue double clicking.  Why are you so hell bent on allowing everyone to do it Amazon's way.  If the invention is so stupid everyone should just go back to using double clicks and leave Amazon and its patents the hell alone.

 

Fourth, your argument that processes shouldn't be patentable is simple not tenable. There is no rationale for excluding processes from patentability. Processes advance technology just like devices.  The Haber process to make ammonia is responsible for increasing the world food output by orders of magnitude.  Without it, we wouldn't be able to feed the world right now.  Why would we want a patent system that excludes such advancements? 

 

Look, the reality is that there is no reason why you would ever need to infringe a patent.  You can have everything your parents had free and clear of patents. Patents only cover new stuff. If you don't want to infringe patents don't make new stuff. If you want to play in the markets for new technology, you either have to be the first to invent or pay the person who beat you to the invention. Why is that such a bad thing?

post #99 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

 

The problem with software patents has nothing to do with whether the patent system works.  The problem with software patents is how they are drafted and prosecuted.  In my opinion, most software patents lack clarity and written description support.  Examiner's should be making rejections under 35 U.S.C. 112.  For some reason, the software industry doesn't have to follow by the rules that the rest of the world does. And how does the Patent Office respond? They make ridiculous asinine rejections under 101 and 103.  I'm a biochemist and most of my work is in materials chemistry, med tech, and biotechnology arts. I've prosecuted a few software patents and I have to say it was a terrible experience. I swear the software examiners are the bottom of the barrel (or as a chemical engineer would say, resid).

 

While many software patents have obvious probelms with Section 112, section 101 (patentability) is quite relevant to the debate over software patents. A piece of software consists of two components: the user interface, and the underlying algorithms. While the user interface might get protection from a design patent, various sup ct cases have ruled that algorithms are not patentable because they are basically math and one cannot patent math. This is why although one cannot make a complete ripoff of software like photoshop, it's perfectly possible to reimplement the underlying functionality as many companies have done successfully.


Edited by d4NjvRzf - 12/16/13 at 5:27am
post #100 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post
 

First, look at your post 97. You were clearly chiming in about the conflict issue.

Secondly, I said Kappos did a better job than Dudas. And he did.  Dudas created an army of poorly trained examiners that rejected everything 5 times and then allowed stuff for no rational reason. Kappos, turned the ship around (or at least started the process).  Do you have any experience with the the patent office during the Kappos and Dudas administrations or are you just talking out of ass.

Thirdly, the Amazon patent was litigated. In other words, not only did the patent office say it was patentable, a district court said was valid and infringed. Then an appeals court said it was valid and infringed. We don't have time to go into the details, but you just don't understand patent law.  Just because something is simple doesn't mean it isn't patentable.  You are trying to use the simplicity of an invention to discredit its innovativeness. I would argue the opposite.  If nobody else thinks to do something that is very simple and of high value, then it should be more patentable, not less.  And by the way, no body is forcing anyone to do a one-click checkout.  If everyone is free to continue double clicking.  Why are you so hell bent on allowing everyone to do it Amazon's way.  If the invention is so stupid everyone should just go back to using double clicks and leave Amazon and its patents the hell alone.

 

Fourth, your argument that processes shouldn't be patentable is simple not tenable. There is no rationale for excluding processes from patentability. Processes advance technology just like devices.  The Haber process to make ammonia is responsible for increasing the world food output by orders of magnitude.  Without it, we wouldn't be able to feed the world right now.  Why would we want a patent system that excludes such advancements? 

 

Look, the reality is that there is no reason why you would ever need to infringe a patent.  You can have everything your parents had free and clear of patents. Patents only cover new stuff. If you don't want to infringe patents don't make new stuff. If you want to play in the markets for new technology, you either have to be the first to invent or pay the person who beat you to the invention. Why is that such a bad thing?

 

 The conflict issue I am concerned about is not the granting of patents to Google, (I know that for someone at the top reaching down the hierarchy to influence an examiner is highly, highly unlikely) but other actions that will benefit Google.  And I'd be pretty happy if she divests all her GOOG if she has significant amounts of it.  It is amazing how one's decision making is affected, usually unconsciously, if in the back of your head you know it will affect your current and future net worth.  This is the same thing  with financial regulation, no matter how honest the secretary  of the Treasury is, they will not do anything that severely displeases the Morgan Stanleys and Goldman  Sachses of the world because they still want to make a decent living after their stint at Treasury.

 

It is pretty obvious that you are invested in the patent system as it is, which is understandable since that is your source of livelihood. From the outside looking in though, for people who are not patent lawyers and do not depend on litigating through the system to make a living, some of these software patents are just plain ridiculous.  And don't try to bury my argument with lawyer speak about litigation and appeal, etc.  The fundamental question remains, where is the innovation in one-click?  I claimed there is no meaningful innovation and laid out why, you just chose not to address it and insist that being first is enough to deserve a patent. You said "If you want to play in the markets for new technology, you either have to be the first to invent or pay the person who beat you to the invention."  You and I know being first is not sufficient grounds to receive a patent.  Doesn't an invention also need to be non-trivial? One-click took an established ordering practice, then automated it using the existing technological infrastructure, I argue that is trivial.  You claim though that if something is simple but lucrative then the more it deserves a patent. This, from what I know, completely stands the policy basis of a patent system on its head.  The paramount goal of a patent system is not to make people rich, it is to foster innovation by rewarding invention.  And hopefully, the more innovative the invention, the further it advances the state of technology, the greater should be the reward.  As a matter of policy, the patentability of an invention should never, ever depend on how lucrative it is.  That should never, enter the patentability equation, don't you agree?  Actually, it seems to me that by your arguments you have completely lost track of society's rationale for a patent system.

I know that you can run circles around me when it comes to the fine details of patent law and litigation.  As an economist, I am more concerned about policy and if you claim that things are fine and dandy as they are with respect to software patents, then you are not seeing the forest for the trees.  Hundreds of millions of dollars, perhaps billions, in resources are being wasted litigating, adjudicating and enforcing patents that even software developers themselves say are ridiculous.  Do you think that this situation is good for society's well-being? Just because the courts have handed down verdicts defending these software patents doesn't mean that they are right or should never change their minds.

 

If you take off your patent lawyer's hat, what do you propose be done, to solve this software patent mess?  (Well, assuming you agree it's a tremendous waste of resources and a drag on innovation.)

 

As to business processes (should I have said methods, or some other terminology?), I said it's a can of worms.  I don't think it should be banned for the reason you stated.  But again, some patents have gone too far.  Like patents on surgical procedures.  A patent on a surgical device, yes.  But on a pure procedure?  Or a patent on tax strategy?  Come on.


Edited by tundraboy - 12/16/13 at 9:23am
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