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MacRumors
Jul 5, 2012, 09:52 AM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/07/05/apple-motorola-judge-questions-need-for-software-patents/)


Late last month, federal judge Richard Posner threw out one of the major U.S. cases in the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Motorola, and Reuters today publishes an interesting interview (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/05/us-apple-google-judge-idUSBRE8640IQ20120705) with Posner in which he discusses his view that patents have become too widely used and suggests that there may not be a need for software patents at all.

Noting his belief that software and other industries do not require the same level of patent protection as industries like pharmaceuticals where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent to develop a single protected product, Posner indicates individual software advances require much less economic investment and much of the benefit is gained simply by being first to market."It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries," he said.

Also, devices like smartphones have thousands of component features, and they all receive legal protection.

"You just have this proliferation of patents," Posner said. "It's a problem."In Posner's ruling last month, he noted that Apple's patent on smooth operation of streaming video was in no way a monopoly on all streaming video and that barring an entire product over a single feature would be harmful to consumers. Posner also ruled against Motorola in its efforts to ban the iPhone over standards-essential patents that were to be licensed under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/07/iphone_slide_to_unlock.jpg


Apple is of course involved in intellectual property disputes with a number of companies, with the cases including both software patents and design rights. Just this week, a ban on U.S. sales (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/07/03/ban-on-galaxy-nexus-u-s-sales-upheld-software-patch-to-circumvent-forthcoming/) of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus went into effect as Apple won preliminary injunctions, but the company also experienced setbacks in its battle with HTC in recent days. In those cases, both the U.S. International Trade Commission (http://allthingsd.com/20120703/apples-bid-for-emergency-ban-on-htc-android-phones-bounced/) and a UK court (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-04/htc-mobile-phones-don-t-infringe-apple-patents-u-k-judge-says.html) ruled in HTC's favor, with the UK judge ruling that several of Apple's patents including one covering the "slide-to-unlock" feature are invalid in that country.

Article Link: Apple-Motorola Judge Questions Need for Software Patents (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/07/05/apple-motorola-judge-questions-need-for-software-patents/)



Consultant
Jul 5, 2012, 09:54 AM
He needs to read: Are software patents evil?
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2011/08/09/are-software-patents-evil/

iRCL
Jul 5, 2012, 10:00 AM
Agree 100%

The Mercurian
Jul 5, 2012, 10:00 AM
At last someone speaking some sense.

BMNB1tch
Jul 5, 2012, 10:01 AM
for those thinking

deregulate software sure...

patents are evil only big pharma can have them

no one dies if software messes up

unless your software is running;

trafficlights
bank transfers
airplane autopilots
missile defense systems
lazer satellites
drones flying over the usa
machines that go Ping!

SimonTheSoundMa
Jul 5, 2012, 10:02 AM
He's speaking sense. However, all it will mean is Apple will go to another state with a sympathetic judge next time around.

highlnd
Jul 5, 2012, 10:03 AM
for those thinking

deregulate software sure...

patents are evil only big pharma can have them

no one dies if software messes up

unless your software is running;

trafficlights
bank transfers
airplane autopilots
missile defense systems
lazer satellites
drones flying over the usa
machines that go Ping!

I think you are confusing patents with safety regulations.

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 10:05 AM
Quote:
"It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries," he said.

Also, devices like smartphones have thousands of component features, and they all receive legal protection.

"You just have this proliferation of patents," Posner said. "It's a problem."



Is it just me or is this judge straying into Judicial Activism with this kind of pontificating?

I mean the question at hand was not "Are intellectual patents a good idea in this industry or not?", but more like "Is this particular patent being infringed upon?".

If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.

sishaw
Jul 5, 2012, 10:07 AM
He's speaking sense. However, all it will mean is Apple will go to another state with a sympathetic judge next time around.

Of course that's true, but Posner is a respected and influential judge. Some good may come of this statement.

dennno
Jul 5, 2012, 10:07 AM
It's a tough issue, because there's arguments for both sides, but I think the decision has to be where it will benefit consumers and not hurt them. Since we're the ones buying these products.

The patent system is just a mess and needs some revamping. I'm on the fence. I can see positives and negatives on both maintaining and eliminating the need for software patents. As a developer it sucks that others just steal your inventions, but as a consumer it also sucks that these patents pose limitations for us.

leman
Jul 5, 2012, 10:08 AM
Posner for president ;)

rendevouspoo
Jul 5, 2012, 10:08 AM
If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.

While I don't think we should do away with IPP, I DO think rules need to be put in place to prevent suits like the Apple vs Samsung case. If google were to take Apple to court over the Notification pulldown, they would likely win (or at least cause a stir) but I doubt they will because it's pointless. At some point, Apple, and others alike, need to stop litigating and start innovating.

semitry
Jul 5, 2012, 10:10 AM
If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.

Not with software patents. Can you imagine the innovation that would have been lost if quicksort or merg sort was patented? Or if Oracle was able to patent 'rangeCheck'?

sishaw
Jul 5, 2012, 10:10 AM
Is it just me or is this judge straying into Judicial Activism with this kind of pontificating?

I mean the question at hand was not "Are intellectual patents a good idea in this industry or not?", but more like "Is this particular patent being infringed upon?".

If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.

There are a lot of people that think software code would be adequately protected by some sort of copyright rather than patent.

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 10:11 AM
While I don't think we should do away with IPP, I DO think rules need to be put in place to prevent suits like the Apple vs Samsung case. If google were to take Apple to court over the Notification pulldown, they would likely win (or at least cause a stir) but I doubt they will because it's pointless. At some point, Apple, and others alike, need to stop litigating and start innovating.

Well I feel that the Judge doesn't need to be leading this charge. Reforming litigation is a fantastic idea. Removing the incentive and safety to innovate is a horrible one.

MH01
Jul 5, 2012, 10:13 AM
for those thinking

deregulate software sure...

patents are evil only big pharma can have them

no one dies if software messes up

unless your software is running;

trafficlights
bank transfers
airplane autopilots
missile defense systems
lazer satellites
drones flying over the usa
machines that go Ping!

Don't forget "frickin' sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads".....!!

Over The Hill
Jul 5, 2012, 10:15 AM
Posner for clown ;)

Fixed. You welcome.

retrocool
Jul 5, 2012, 10:16 AM
I mean the question at hand was not "Are intellectual patents a good idea in this industry or not?", but more like "Is this particular patent being infringed upon?".


Absolutely right, tsunamiTC, NEVER question the system, just be a happy cog in the machine! Judges are not there to think, just to use the laws which our friendly corporations have already purchased.

HelveticaRoman
Jul 5, 2012, 10:18 AM
When everyone has finished suing each other they will each probably end up with more or less what they started with, minus the squillions that the lawyers have trousered - so this judge might well be the smartest person in the room right now.

Apple...
Jul 5, 2012, 10:19 AM
for those thinking

deregulate software sure...

patents are evil only big pharma can have them

no one dies if software messes up

unless your software is running;

trafficlights
bank transfers
airplane autopilots
missile defense systems
lazer satellites
drones flying over the usa
machines that go Ping!
Ping! Ping? Who cares about Ping? :rolleyes:

bondsbw
Jul 5, 2012, 10:19 AM
Big business has the capital to protect their IP without patents. They tend to abuse the ridiculously obvious patents and keep smaller competition from forming.

Patents should only be used to protect real innovations, and even then they should be heavily scrutinized when used by well-established big business against an individual, small company, or an upstart.

TickleMeElmo
Jul 5, 2012, 10:19 AM
Posner is perhaps one of the greatest legal minds in the American legal system and if not for his somewhat extreme and polarizing views would and should be on the Supreme court. Very few people are as rational as he is.

People should check out his blog that he runs with Becker (who is a Nobel Prize winning economist).

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 10:19 AM
he noted that Apple's patent on smooth operation of streaming video was in no way a monopoly on all streaming video and that barring an entire product over a single feature would be harmful to consumers.

Common sense in all of this. All these injunctions only hurt consumers in the end, whatever side they are granted to (be it Apple or their rivals). There shouldn't be injunctions over nitpicking of small implementation details.

Software patents in general have proven to be bad for innovation and advancement in recent years. They've become a force for stagnation as players constantly face hurdles in bringing new innovations where some small detail infringes existing patents outside of the "big picture" and in bettering existing solutions because they aren't the primary patent holder over them.

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 10:20 AM
Not with software patents. Can you imagine the innovation that would have been lost if quicksort or merg sort was patented? Or if Oracle was able to patent 'rangeCheck'?

LOL i totally agree that the grounds for what constitute a "legally protectable concept" need to be clear.

However, unless patent attorneys and the patent registry are not clear on the line between a patentable(?) concept and what is not then we could see that kind of stuff.

The issue at hand is the fact that these companies, Google, MS, Apple feel the need to protect themselves at every turn. So they resort to over patenting perhaps.

Are there other ways that the market can protect this kind of IP?? Yes.

NachoGrande
Jul 5, 2012, 10:21 AM
They are killing progression in most software markets. The worst part is most people don't even know a patent exists until after they spend millions on development only to have it blocked in the end.

I can understand broad software ideas, but to put a patent on a sliding button, multi-touch etc.. is just too far reaching and only large companies can afford the patent attorneys.


They are not used for good in the software industry they are only used to harm.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 10:21 AM
deregulate software sure...


No one is talking about deregulating software. Software already benefits from protection through Copyright. No one can copy your software. Patents don't cover your actual software, but the ideas and methods behind it. That is what is hurting the consumer and the industry in general. Software patents shouldn't be granted, software should be protected by copyright only.

Michaelgtrusa
Jul 5, 2012, 10:22 AM
China is a good reason.

leman
Jul 5, 2012, 10:25 AM
Fixed. You welcome.

You are so funny. Are you a patent lawyer by any chance?

I Am Designer™
Jul 5, 2012, 10:25 AM
I disagree with the judge wholeheartedly.

Protection of works should be allowed.

The judge has only shown he has probably never created anything new, interesting and highly original in his life.

Big Pharma might take years to develop a drug etc and then want to reap the rewards of it - but just because a good idea can come a long in a heartbeat - it doesn't mean that the person with the idea should have any less chance to reap the same awards.

These last few weeks of patent news have been incredible to watch - as a creative across range of media and industries I can tell you that when someone copies your ideas, steals your original work or tries to piggy back off things you have created - it only serves to devalue your original work, to water it down - you have less and less chance of reaping any sort of reward because you have nothing to be unique about and there is always someone willing to rip you off and do it virtually for free.

Protection of original work and ideas is necessary.

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 10:25 AM
While I don't think we should do away with IPP, I DO think rules need to be put in place to prevent suits like the Apple vs Samsung case.

So, you think IPP should be allowed, but you don't think a company should be able to sue if they think their IPP has been violated. What's the point?

If google were to take Apple to court over the Notification pulldown, they would likely win (or at least cause a stir) but I doubt they will because it's pointless. At some point, Apple, and others alike, need to stop litigating and start innovating.

Did Google patent the notification pulldown?

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 10:26 AM
Absolutely right, tsunamiTC, NEVER question the system, just be a happy cog in the machine! Judges are not there to think, just to use the laws which our friendly corporations have already purchased.

Alas...

Systems are begging us to question them. But lets see some real changes to legislation and not merely a (apparently brilliant man) judge who expresses his informed opinions. Unless this is addressed in the market and in the legislation of the market, then it will go on no matter how much we dislike it.

Over The Hill
Jul 5, 2012, 10:27 AM
You are so funny. Are you a patent lawyer by any chance?

Graphics designer by day, superhero by night.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 10:29 AM
I notice how all the software patent talk is about big companies like Apple and Samsung. Anyone notice the complete lack of talk about small startups? Where are the patents from these small app companies that make some truly original apps?

They don't exist because the patent system as currently setup is a big company only club.

How does that protect innovation? If you have to be this tall to even play the game most software companies will not be protected (e.g. Lodsys going after small app devs). If the system protects and encourages innovation at all it only happens for a select few companies and in the current market they are not producing all the innovation (not by a long shot). Apple themselves trumpet this at WWDC. Apple provides the platform, the devs provide the innovation.

PeterQVenkman
Jul 5, 2012, 10:31 AM
Is it just me or is this judge straying into Judicial Activism with this kind of pontificating?

I mean the question at hand was not "Are intellectual patents a good idea in this industry or not?", but more like "Is this particular patent being infringed upon?".

If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.

Do you really feel that innovation has been helped by having every tiny little thing patented and everyone and their mom being sued - often times unjustly?

In the software industry, the patent system has become a nothing more than a weapon for the wealthy and powerful to threaten and obliterate smaller, more innovative, and more nimble up and coming competitors.

It's no longer about protecting innovation. It's about stifling competition.

rendevouspoo
Jul 5, 2012, 10:33 AM
So, you think IPP should be allowed, but you don't think a company should be able to sue if they think their IPP has been violated. What's the point?


Apple tries to get lucky when they sue. Something has a hint of looking like something they've done? Screw it, SUE! To an extent, IPP should be allowed. Apple sues like it's nothing praying they luck up. How pissed would you be if Google were to sue Apple for everything that resembles something they came up with?

Over The Hill
Jul 5, 2012, 10:34 AM
Software patents in general have proven to be bad for innovation and advancement in recent years. They've become a force for stagnation as players constantly face hurdles in bringing new innovations where some small detail infringes existing patents outside of the "big picture" and in bettering existing solutions because they aren't the primary patent holder over them.

It’s very easy to see it from the other side. It can be just as hard to invovate without software patents.

The problem is not the patent system, but some patents that are granted can be thought of as common sense, logical thing to do.

If patent office start doing a better job when issueing patents i don’t see a problem with having software patents, because some things are actually worth a patent. Not the „i did it first“ patent where almost anyone can come up with the same idea in the logical thought process.

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 10:36 AM
I notice how all the software patent talk is about big companies like Apple and Samsung. Anyone notice the complete lack of talk about small startups? Where are the patents from these small app companies that make some truly original apps?

They don't exist because the patent system as currently setup is a big company only club.

How does that protect innovation? If you have to be this tall to even play the game most software companies will not be protected (e.g. Lodsys going after small app devs). If the system protects and encourages innovation at all it only happens for a select few companies and in the current market they are not producing all the innovation (not by a long shot). Apple themselves trumpet this at WWDC. Apple provides the platform, the devs provide the innovation.

That's just silly. Of course small companies hold patents.

I did read an interesting article the other day about that investor-backed startups are moving away from filing for patents because the investors are abusing them. The investors push for the inventor to file for patents. If the company fails, the investors can sell off the patents to a patent troll. Now, if the inventor wants to get back in the same field, he no longer has control of his own ideas!

djphat2000
Jul 5, 2012, 10:36 AM
I disagree with the judge wholeheartedly.

Protection of works should be allowed.

The judge has only shown he has probably never created anything new, interesting and highly original in his life.

Big Pharma might take years to develop a drug etc and then want to reap the rewards of it - but just because a good idea can come a long in a heartbeat - it doesn't mean that the person with the idea should have any less chance to reap the same awards.

These last few weeks of patent news have been incredible to watch - as a creative across range of media and industries I can tell you that when someone copies your ideas, steals your original work or tries to piggy back off things you have created - it only serves to devalue your original work, to water it down - you have less and less chance of reaping any sort of reward because you have nothing to be unique about and there is always someone willing to rip you off and do it virtually for free.

Protection of original work and ideas is necessary.

I agree with you.

hobo.hopkins
Jul 5, 2012, 10:36 AM
Apple tries to get lucky when they sue. Something has a hint of looking like something they've done? Screw it, SUE! To an extent, IPP should be allowed. Apple sues like it's nothing praying they luck up. How pissed would you be if Google were to sue Apple for everything that resembles something they came up with?

I think the (correct) point he's making is to change the laws. No one can be (or perhaps rather shouldn't be) unhappy when a company is exercising their legal right to dispute patent infringements. The problem isn't the company, it's the law.

rmwebs
Jul 5, 2012, 10:37 AM
Is it just me or is this judge straying into Judicial Activism with this kind of pontificating?

I mean the question at hand was not "Are intellectual patents a good idea in this industry or not?", but more like "Is this particular patent being infringed upon?".

If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.

Whilst in a way I do agree in the sense that there does need to be something to protect intulectual property.

That said, the current system quite simply sucks big time. There are certain things that should not be granted a patent as in some cases having the patent hinders innovation from other parties.

Take something as pathetic as 'slide to unlock'. This is a pathetic excuse for a patent. You know it, I know it and Apple knows it. There is no technical insight or function behind it, its purely aesthetics.

In my personal opinion patents should not be allowed on individual design elements, but on a design or UI as a whole. For example, stop someone being able to rip the iPhone's UI (the button styles, shapes, and general layout of everything) but not the concept at which it is presented (e.g a set number of icons on a screen with a horizontal scroll).

The whole system is flawed and needs to be tossed out. Not that it'll happen however as those running this part of the US legal system are apparently morons.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 10:38 AM
It’s very easy to see it from the other side. It can be just as hard to invovate without software patents.

The problem is not the patent system, but some patents that are granted can be thought of as common sense, logical thing to do.

If patent office start doing a better job when issueing patents i don’t see a problem with having software patents, because some things are actually worth a patent. Not the „i did it first“ patent where almost anyone can come up with the same idea in the logical thought process.

Isn't there the problem where they are flooded with patents? How do they thoughtfully review a large amount of patents? Do they raise the bar for submitting patents for review even higher at the expense of individuals or small companies being able to successfully patent?

You can't just blame the number of patents being issued as the problem while saying there is nothing wrong with the system. The two are connected.

djphat2000
Jul 5, 2012, 10:40 AM
Apple tries to get lucky when they sue. Something has a hint of looking like something they've done? Screw it, SUE! To an extent, IPP should be allowed. Apple sues like it's nothing praying they luck up. How pissed would you be if Google were to sue Apple for everything that resembles something they came up with?


I'd personally be ok with it. ;)

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 10:40 AM
Posner seems to be suggesting that patents be used as a means to protect huge development investments. This is not the same reason they were created. IIRC, patents were invented to protect the individual/smaller corporations from the larger corporations. To me this sounds the opposite from Posner.

Besides, it is not up to one Judge to change the rules mid-game. If there is to be a patent system cleanup, it has to be phased over a long period of time (life of a patent) with all the players knowing the rules ahead of time.

ugahairydawgs
Jul 5, 2012, 10:42 AM
While I don't think we should do away with IPP, I DO think rules need to be put in place to prevent suits like the Apple vs Samsung case. If google were to take Apple to court over the Notification pulldown, they would likely win (or at least cause a stir) but I doubt they will because it's pointless. At some point, Apple, and others alike, need to stop litigating and start innovating.

Pretty sure everyone is copying Palm on that at this point. Hell....Apple hired the guy that helped develop the notification module in WebOS prior to iOS 5.

Bezetos
Jul 5, 2012, 10:43 AM
If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.
Stupid, ludicrous patents are already hindering motivation for innovation. How can you work on innovative, new sofwtare while there are so many pitfalls on the way? It's all about improving the patent system so that ludicrous software patents don't go through.

I'm personally against all software patents.

devilstrider
Jul 5, 2012, 10:43 AM
Apple lost a patent battle with HTC in london yesterday, this is to quote from what the judge said........

"It would of been an "obvious" improvement for the developers to have offered users visual feedback in the form of a "slider" in the way that apple later used.

The concept of a slider was not new since it had already appeared in microsoft's CE system."

All 4 patent disputes were rejected, now if only all judges had knowledge like this the nexus would not be banned.

Over The Hill
Jul 5, 2012, 10:43 AM
Isn't there the problem where they are flooded with patents? How do they thoughtfully review a large amount of patents? Do they raise the bar for submitting patents for review even higher at the expense of individuals or small companies being able to successfully patent?

You can't just blame the number of patents being issued as the problem while saying there is nothing wrong with the system. The two are connected.

Solve one problem (stop issuing funny patents, like "slide to unlock“ or anything based on common sense) and the second problem will go away on its own.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 10:44 AM
That's just silly. Of course small companies hold patents.

I did read an interesting article the other day about that investor-backed startups are moving away from filing for patents because the investors are abusing them. The investors push for the inventor to file for patents. If the company fails, the investors can sell off the patents to a patent troll. Now, if the inventor wants to get back in the same field, he no longer has control of his own ideas!

Yet the small companies are not submitting anywhere close to the number of patents a few big ones are. Yes, some small companies are patenting but most aren't (if you run the costs, patenting does not come out winning in a cost benefit analysis for small, couple people shops...which is what a lot of app devs are).

And the article further illustrates this. Those small companies probably never used those patents. Yet, the instant they fail and have their assets sold the patents are suddenly found to have many people infringing on them.

The system is broken. I'm not saying we should completely get rid of them but as it stands I believe leaving the current system will only hurt us.

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 10:44 AM
It’s very easy to see it from the other side. It can be just as hard to invovate without software patents.

The problem is not the patent system, but some patents that are granted can be thought of as common sense, logical thing to do.

If patent office start doing a better job when issueing patents i don’t see a problem with having software patents, because some things are actually worth a patent. Not the „i did it first“ patent where almost anyone can come up with the same idea in the logical thought process.

Yeah, lets not toss out one of the biggest reasons that innovation has continued to thrive while trying to reform it. I totally agree.

Reform patent process and grounds? Absolutely. Carte Blanc declare the fact that some high tech device have loads of patents is indicative of evil protectionism. Gimme a break.

leman
Jul 5, 2012, 10:45 AM
I disagree with the judge wholeheartedly.

Protection of works should be allowed.

The judge has only shown he has probably never created anything new, interesting and highly original in his life.

Big Pharma might take years to develop a drug etc and then want to reap the rewards of it - but just because a good idea can come a long in a heartbeat - it doesn't mean that the person with the idea should have any less chance to reap the same awards.

These last few weeks of patent news have been incredible to watch - as a creative across range of media and industries I can tell you that when someone copies your ideas, steals your original work or tries to piggy back off things you have created - it only serves to devalue your original work, to water it down - you have less and less chance of reaping any sort of reward because you have nothing to be unique about and there is always someone willing to rip you off and do it virtually for free.

Protection of original work and ideas is necessary.

Very good post.

Unfortunately, this is where the confusion lies. I think we all agree that protection of original work is important (and this is what the copyright does). Imagine that you have invented a new, very confortable chair. This is your original work and its only fair that you profit from it. This is why the patent system was created in the first place.

But software patents and ideas are of a different kind. Software ideas are not products, they are highly abstract *methods* which can be used to create new products. Here, it is again important to differentiate. Some of these methods are highly specialized, say, speech recognition. If you write a software based on this method, you don't have to disclose the method itself. Also, one could argue that this specialized algorithm is your software/product and should be protected. But if your idea is very generic (say, a sorting algorithm or a patent like 'drawing an image on a screen'), its a whole different thing. You can't make a product solely out of this idea. You can use this idea to make new products or improve existing products, anyways - this is an idea everybody could profit from. Do you know how often I have been reinventing some sort of algorithms while programming? So its a bit absurd to say that someone 'owns' an idea like that.


That is my proposal, more or less: make products (or algorithm which define the products) protectable. But more general ideas, which can be applied in a whole range of products of different kinds, should not be patentable.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 10:48 AM
Solve one problem (stop issuing funny patents, like "slide to unlock“ or anything based on common sense) and the second problem will go away on its own.

Because that works great for the app store review process. They reject tons of bad apps, and we have absolutely no bad or copy cat apps in the store!

The problem stands, you can't just say the system is fine and they just need to stop approving them in such volume. The volume is a product of the system.

That is my proposal, more or less: make products (or algorithm which define the products) protectable. But more general ideas, which can be applied in a whole range of products of different kinds, should not be patentable.

This. We need to limit the patents to the more specific applications (this also applies to biotech).

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 10:48 AM
Stupid, ludicrous patents are already hindering motivation for innovation. How can you work on innovative, new sofwtare while there are so many pitfalls on the way? It's all about improving the patent system so that ludicrous software patents don't go through.

I'm personally against all software patents.

Then go GNU. And only develop free, open source software. But some people like to eat.

angrynstupid
Jul 5, 2012, 10:49 AM
Posner isn't totally right. Some companies have paid millions for some software technologies and are not as trivial as he alludes. However, determining what's trivial and not is part of the problem.

Bezetos
Jul 5, 2012, 10:51 AM
I disagree with the judge wholeheartedly.

Protection of works should be allowed.

The judge has only shown he has probably never created anything new, interesting and highly original in his life.

Big Pharma might take years to develop a drug etc and then want to reap the rewards of it - but just because a good idea can come a long in a heartbeat - it doesn't mean that the person with the idea should have any less chance to reap the same awards.

These last few weeks of patent news have been incredible to watch - as a creative across range of media and industries I can tell you that when someone copies your ideas, steals your original work or tries to piggy back off things you have created - it only serves to devalue your original work, to water it down - you have less and less chance of reaping any sort of reward because you have nothing to be unique about and there is always someone willing to rip you off and do it virtually for free.

Protection of original work and ideas is necessary.
Nobody is saying that original work should not be protected.

The problem is that the patent system is heavily abused.

Software is different from pharmaceuticals and machines. If you come up with a great algorithm to perform a search in a certain data structure, that's great. Patent it. But you shouldn't be able to patent completely generic ideas like "slide to unlock".

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 10:52 AM
Very good post.
...
That is my proposal, more or less: make products (or algorithm which define the products) protectable. But more general ideas, which can be applied in a whole range of products of different kinds, should not be patentable.

This sounds like a reasonable suggestion. The "concrete application" of an idea is patentable, not merely the idea itself. Am i reading you correctly? If so i agree with this in theory.

semitry
Jul 5, 2012, 10:52 AM
I disagree with the judge wholeheartedly.

Protection of works should be allowed.

The judge has only shown he has probably never created anything new, interesting and highly original in his life.

Big Pharma might take years to develop a drug etc and then want to reap the rewards of it - but just because a good idea can come a long in a heartbeat - it doesn't mean that the person with the idea should have any less chance to reap the same awards.

These last few weeks of patent news have been incredible to watch - as a creative across range of media and industries I can tell you that when someone copies your ideas, steals your original work or tries to piggy back off things you have created - it only serves to devalue your original work, to water it down - you have less and less chance of reaping any sort of reward because you have nothing to be unique about and there is always someone willing to rip you off and do it virtually for free.

Protection of original work and ideas is necessary.

You can't patent all "Drugs to cure cancer" or all "designs of an apple with a bite out of it", but you can patent all implementations of "slide to unlock" or "pinch to zooms"? If I can say it in a few sentences and ONE person can write the code needed to do it in a few days, I don't think it should be patentable.

Bezetos
Jul 5, 2012, 10:52 AM
Then go GNU. And only develop free, open source software. But some people like to eat.That's not the only alternative to software patents, so don't ridicule my point of view.

Over The Hill
Jul 5, 2012, 10:53 AM
Because that works great for the app store review process. They reject tons of bad apps, and we have absolutely no bad or copy cat apps in the store!

The problem stands, you can't just say the system is fine and they just need to stop approving them in such volume. The volume is a product of the system.



This. We need to limit the patents to the more specific applications (this also applies to biotech).

Ok, what are you suggesting?

Bezetos
Jul 5, 2012, 10:53 AM
You can't patent all "Drugs to cure cancer" or all "designs of an apple with a bite out of it", but you can patent all implementations of "slide to unlock" or "pinch to zooms"? If I can say it in a few sentences and ONE person can write the code needed to do it in a few days, I don't think it should be patentable.

This.

Patent a solution, not the problem.

Chupa Chupa
Jul 5, 2012, 10:53 AM
But the bottom line here is he is a federal judge, not a member of congress. It's not his job to determine the need for s/w patents. He should run for House or Senate if he feels passionate about reforming IP laws. I have tremendous respect for him as a jurist but his policy opinion gives the feeling he is prepared to legislate from the bench, which is a grosser offense, and more damaging to the country, than any abuse of current IP laws.

honjoe
Jul 5, 2012, 10:53 AM
I agree with the judge, it seems foolish to hold patents for software (since so many person can come up with the same idea at the same time) in the same standings as pharmaceuticals which sometimes takes over a billion dollars to research an effective drug. I'm not saying ideas shouldn't be patented, but just be held to a different standard.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 10:56 AM
You can't patent all "Drugs to cure cancer" or all "designs of an apple with a bite out of it", but you can patent all implementations of "slide to unlock" or "pinch to zooms"? If I can say it in a few sentences and ONE person can write the code needed to do it in a few days, I don't think it should be patentable.

Actually, a gene connected to breast cancer was patented with a broad scope (BRCA1 and 2).

True, overly broad patents is more of a software industry issue but it is a problem with the patent system in general.

Ok, what are you suggesting?

I'm suggesting I would like to know why you simultaneously think the patent system is fine yet you admit that the system currently approves too many patents.

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 10:57 AM
Yet the small companies are not submitting anywhere close to the number of patents a few big ones are. Yes, some small companies are patenting but most aren't.

By what metric? Seems pretty logical that large companies would hold more patents than small companies, and that large companies would have more resources to protect those patents through litigation.

(if you run the costs, patenting does not come out winning in a cost benefit analysis for small, couple people shops...which is what a lot of app devs are)

I have no idea why patenting a valuable innovation wouldn't win a cost benefit analysis. Unless the innovation is worth less than the few thousand dollars it takes to research and file a patent application.

And the article further illustrates this. Those small companies probably never used those patents. Yet, the instant they fail and have their assets sold the patents are suddenly found to have many people infringing on them.

I'm not sure what your point is here. If the inventor doesn't feel the need to enforce their patent, that isn't a problem with the system to me.

The system is broken. I'm not saying we should completely get rid of them but as it stands I believe leaving the current system will only hurt us.

Absolutely. I'm just not sure that your large vs small company argument is one of the main symptoms.

MCP-511
Jul 5, 2012, 10:58 AM
At least someone is putting more thought into the process. I wish they would also address the patent holders who never bring a product to market, but sit and wait for someone to infringe it. I think they need a use it or lose it clause. Some sort of limited time frame, if you don't bring the idea to market and actually sell a product based on the patent in question, then the patent expires. Perhaps that idea should be limited to software as well. Also becomes a tricky issue to i guess.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 10:59 AM
I disagree with the judge wholeheartedly.

Protection of works should be allowed.

And the judge isn't saying it shouldn't be allowed, just that patents might not be the best way to do it for the industry at large.

Copyright protects your works in the software world.

----------

Do you really feel that innovation has been helped by having every tiny little thing patented and everyone and their mom being sued - often times unjustly?

In the software industry, the patent system has become a nothing more than a weapon for the wealthy and powerful to threaten and obliterate smaller, more innovative, and more nimble up and coming competitors.

It's no longer about protecting innovation. It's about stifling competition.

Imagine if IBM had patented their BIOS. What would the PC landscape look like now ?

Mackan
Jul 5, 2012, 11:00 AM
Sadly, Apple will just put this judge on do-not-like list, and move on.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 11:01 AM
It’s very easy to see it from the other side. It can be just as hard to invovate without software patents.


How so ? Patents aren't needed for innovation, they are filed for post-innovation. You need to think up of an idea and implement a certain method before you can patent it.

The patent is the last step.

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 11:01 AM
This.

Patent a solution, not the problem.

Totally agree.

throttlemeister
Jul 5, 2012, 11:02 AM
But the bottom line here is he is a federal judge, not a member of congress. It's not his job to determine the need for s/w patents. He should run for House or Senate if he feels passionate about reforming IP laws. I have tremendous respect for him as a jurist but his policy opinion gives the feeling he is prepared to legislate from the bench, which is a grosser offense, and more damaging to the country, than any abuse of current IP laws.
So, what you are saying is, a federal judge doesn't have freedom of speech? The man is being interviewed and asked about his opinion. Is he not allowed to give it? It's not like he is motivating a ruling.

AppleGuesser
Jul 5, 2012, 11:03 AM
Imagine if IBM had patented their BIOS. What would the PC landscape look like now ?

Very true. The whole situation seems so childish. On one hand I understand that people want to protect what they invent, i get that. But at the same time I feel this patent wars are eventually going to hurt the industry even more. The whole situation has a lot of issues. Sad really. PC makers in the 80's could have done something similar to this and didn't (correct me if im wrong here). They should take a cue from that.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 11:03 AM
That is my proposal, more or less: make products (or algorithm which define the products) protectable.

They already are through copyright. Obfuscating variable names does not work to circumvent it.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 11:04 AM
Absolutely. I'm just not sure that your large vs small company argument is one of the main symptoms.

I'm okay with agreeing to disagree as far as what is a main symptom. I see it as main because of situations such as a big company infringing on a small company patent can result in the big company destroying the small one (quite a few ways) just due to the size of their bank account. In other words, the patent system does not sufficiently protect small companies from big ones (either from patent trolls or from big companies infringing on the small companies' patents).

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 11:04 AM
Then go GNU. And only develop free, open source software. But some people like to eat.

How does open source prevent one from eating ? Just go down to the fridge between 2 compiles and grab a bite.

Winni
Jul 5, 2012, 11:05 AM
Then go GNU. And only develop free, open source software. But some people like to eat.

Leave the discussion to people who actually write code. The GPL only works because of copyright laws, but even Open Source software can be torpedoed with patents. But you could also patent Open Source software and then sue others who build upon your work. That's what Oracle tried with Java.

I yet have to meet the first software developer who supports software patents. There must be a reason for that. Software patents are about as stupid as patents for mathematical equations or human language would be. All actual developers agree on this, only managers and lawyers say otherwise. Guess why.

Germany and most other countries get along very well without software patents. Actually, the entire world developed very well for thousands of years without patents. How could this happen?

igot2n0
Jul 5, 2012, 11:05 AM
Big Pharma is a bad example. They frequently patent medicines that were developed using tax dollars. If they accept tax dollars for the research I think they should not be able to patent that medication.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 11:06 AM
You can't patent all "Drugs to cure cancer" or all "designs of an apple with a bite out of it", but you can patent all implementations of "slide to unlock" or "pinch to zooms"? If I can say it in a few sentences and ONE person can write the code needed to do it in a few days, I don't think it should be patentable.

There's already a non-obvious clause to patent grants. You can't patent obvious ideas/methods. The problem is that corporations are getting pretty good at obfuscating through language so that "obvious" becomes "non-obvious" with a few simple choice words thrown in the application.

Konrad9
Jul 5, 2012, 11:07 AM
We don't need software patents, but we also don't need to have everything be open source.


for those thinking

deregulate software sure...

patents are evil only big pharma can have them

no one dies if software messes up

unless your software is running;

trafficlights
bank transfers
airplane autopilots
missile defense systems
lazer satellites
drones flying over the usa
machines that go Ping!

AppleGuesser
Jul 5, 2012, 11:08 AM
We don't need software patents, but we also don't need to have everything be open source.

I agree, but getting to a solution I believe will be a huge challenge.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 11:09 AM
Big Pharma is a bad example. They frequently patent medicines that were developed using tax dollars. If they accept tax dollars for the research I think they should not be able to patent that medication.

Eh, I'd be careful with that line of thinking. They still do take on considerable risk (although I personally think they're playing fast and loose too often). I agree with you if you mean how they change the scope to get an extension but otherwise keep the drug functionally the same.

8-Bits
Jul 5, 2012, 11:09 AM
In the U.S. most software is sold (actually licensed) "as-is" and carries copyright protection. I think those protections need to relinquished if a software product wants to benefit from patent protections.

Let's see how many companies are willing to do that.

Stella
Jul 5, 2012, 11:10 AM
Absolutely, software patents do more harm that good.

Ultimately, these words from the judge will land on deaf ears.

leman
Jul 5, 2012, 11:11 AM
This sounds like a reasonable suggestion. The "concrete application" of an idea is patentable, not merely the idea itself. Am i reading you correctly? If so i agree with this in theory.

Yes. How I envision it, examples of patentable things: a original design patterns on a red t-shirt, a particular construction of an antennae which boosts signal strengs, a particular water-resistant membrane for clothing. Non-patentable things: a t-shirt, idea of signal transmission via EM-modulation, idea of putting a membrane into cloth.

Actually, I am rather sure that this is how it already works right now. Its just wasn't applied to software patents carefully enough. The whole area developed to quickly and the legal system is severely lagging behind. I mean, its very similar in regards to software/music copyright, where laws try to apply similar reasoning as with material content (e.g. books) - and it simply does not work, because the nature of the media is fundamentally different. *

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 11:12 AM
Apple tries to get lucky when they sue. Something has a hint of looking like something they've done? Screw it, SUE! To an extent, IPP should be allowed. Apple sues like it's nothing praying they luck up.

I'm going to guess that your main exposure to the patent system is reading about Apple's patent cases. :)

Frivolous lawsuits aren't limited to patent cases. I doubt Apple is any more litigious than any other company of its kind. Controlling for the obvious differences in scale, of course! Does anyone have any statistics?

The main difference with Apple, of course, is the level of publicity around every single lawsuit. And, from a patent perspective, they probably are less willing than most companies to license their patents.

How pissed would you be if Google were to sue Apple for everything that resembles something they came up with?

I wouldn't be pissed at all. :confused: I'd be interest to follow the case though!

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 11:13 AM
I wouldn't be pissed at all. :confused: I'd be interest to follow the case though!

We'll they're effectively doing it by proxy via Motorola. So get out the popcorn!

PS: Anyone remember when Apple and Motorola were best buddies with IBM? I know this is Moto Mobility but still.

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 11:14 AM
Actually, the entire world developed very well for thousands of years without patents. How could this happen?

XD point taken.

dgree03
Jul 5, 2012, 11:16 AM
Heres how I see this simple term..

Patenting "software methods" is equivalent to patenting a screwdriver, nails and 2x4's because it helped you build a house.

Bezetos
Jul 5, 2012, 11:16 AM
I yet have to meet the first software developer who supports software patents. There must be a reason for that. Software patents are about as stupid as patents for mathematical equations or human language would be. All actual developers agree on this, only managers and lawyers say otherwise. Guess why.

Exactly.

Let's translate what happens in the area of software patents to more conventional patents.

Let's say I come up with an idea of a flying car powered by water - quite a generic idea. I can patent that idea. Now, I don't even have to construct that car, I just own the (software) patent. But let's say I build the flying car, it's quite slow, only hovers 2 feet above the ground, but kinda works. Then company X builds another car that floats 2.3 feet above the ground. It doesn't matter how they've done it, but I can sue them because they have infringed my patent (idea). Should I be allowed to sue them? Isn't this stopping innovation?

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 11:19 AM
Heres how I see this simple term..

Patenting "software methods" is equivalent to patenting a screwdriver, nails and 2x4's because it helped you build a house.

The very broad in scope ones are basically patenting using wood in all applications.

And it gets through because the people reviewing them don't realize what the patent is doing because the field is relatively new.

Makes you wonder why such a broad patent is even an option, frankly.

Small White Car
Jul 5, 2012, 11:21 AM
Just so people are clear, if Hollywood worked like the tech industry does then only Paramount would be allowed to pan and tilt cameras. Only Fox would be allowed to use green screens. And only Disney would be allowed to make cartoons.

How anyone thinks that sounds great is beyond me.

Hollywood seems to protect their movies just fine without laws like that. Yes, you shouldn't be able to take iOS and sell your own phone with it. No, the current system is not needed to achieve that. Software should be like movies - Protect the final output, not the way the work was done.

gnasher729
Jul 5, 2012, 11:22 AM
No one is talking about deregulating software. Software already benefits from protection through Copyright. No one can copy your software. Patents don't cover your actual software, but the ideas and methods behind it. That is what is hurting the consumer and the industry in general. Software patents shouldn't be granted, software should be protected by copyright only.

That is not _actually_ what is hurting. What is hurting: You can only get a patent for things that are novel and non-obvious, but the level for "non-obvious" is just too low. If my boss says "do xxx" and I say "I can't figure out how to do xxx" and then I look through a patent database and say "I couldn't figure it out, but these guys did and they patented it" - well, without patents xxx wouldn't have happened because I couldn't figure it out, with patents my boss has the choice of not doing it, or paying for a patent license. Clearly better to have the choice.

However, most things I just figure out as problems come up. And so do many other people. The fact that a solution to a problem might be found in a patent doesn't help me at all, because most of the time, finding the patent and figuring out what the patent actually says is ten times harder than figuring out how to solve the problem. Because the level of "non-obviousness" that you need for a patent is so low, the number of independent re-inventions are enormous. That's the problem: While doing a normal days work, solving a simple problem, I run the considerable risk of solving it in a way that someone else has patented, without knowing anything about the patent, and opening up the product to patent infringement claims.


There's already a non-obvious clause to patent grants. You can't patent obvious ideas/methods. The problem is that corporations are getting pretty good at obfuscating through language so that "obvious" becomes "non-obvious" with a few simple choice words thrown in the application.

Suggestion: Ask the developer who infringed on the software patent under oath whether he has seen, read and understood the patent before infringing or not, and if not, how long it took him to re-invent the patented invention. And take that to decide whether it's obvious or not.


Posner isn't totally right. Some companies have paid millions for some software technologies and are not as trivial as he alludes. However, determining what's trivial and not is part of the problem.

Software is protected by copyright. That means if I write some software, you can't just copy it. But you can write software yourself. Writing software isn't cheap. You'll pay $100,000 per year for a good software developer. To develop some good software, you need a few developers, managers to keep things on track, designers, testers, lawyers, human resources, and it quickly adds up to a few millions. Copyright makes sure that nobody can just take the software that cost a few million and copy it. They can write software that does the same things; it will cost them millions as well. And with all those millions in cost, there isn't any need for patents. There is protection against stealing software. That's all there is needed.

Writing software that works is expensive. That doesn't mean it should be protected by patents. Copyright prevents you from stealing my work. Patents prevent you from doing what I did, even if you never knew what I did.


Posner seems to be suggesting that patents be used as a means to protect huge development investments. This is not the same reason they were created. IIRC, patents were invented to protect the individual/smaller corporations from the larger corporations. To me this sounds the opposite from Posner.

Patents were created to advance the state of the art, by giving inventors a monopoly on the invention in exchange of publication. This was supposed to help, because others would read the patents and then improve on them, instead of the inventor keeping the invention secret. That purpose has been destroyed completely.

Radio
Jul 5, 2012, 11:23 AM
I love this guy

rendevouspoo
Jul 5, 2012, 11:23 AM
Just so people are clear, if Hollywood worked like the tech industry does then only Paramoubt would be allowed to pan and tilt cameras. Only Fox would be allowed to use Green screens. And only Disney would be allowed to make cartoons.

How anyone thinks that sounds great is beyond me.

Hollywood seems be protect their movies just fine without laws like that. Yes, you shouldn't be able to take iOS and sell your own phone with it. No, the current system is not needed to achieve that. Software should be like movies - Protect the final output, not the way the work was done.

Great post. It seems like people think it's fine to try to bully the industry if the company that does it is the one you support.

If Apple were the receivers of these ludicrous suits, this place would be up in arms.

camholder
Jul 5, 2012, 11:24 AM
I disagree with the judge wholeheartedly.

Protection of works should be allowed.

Big Pharma might take years to develop a drug etc and then want to reap the rewards of it - but just because a good idea can come a long in a heartbeat - it doesn't mean that the person with the idea should have any less chance to reap the same awards.

Protection of original work and ideas is necessary.

Great, until we all find out that some obscure company actually patented the crop function in photo editors and Photoshop gets pulled because Adobe can't sell it. Then we will see where the creative industry ends up. Because this is the kind of crap that's happening now.

As the judge said, the head start innovative companies get should be their reward.

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 11:25 AM
If Apple were the receivers of these ludicrous suits, this place would be up in arms.

Apple are the receivers of many ludicrous suits. :D They are probably the most sued company in tech.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 11:30 AM
Apple are the receivers of many ludicrous suits. :D They are probably the most sued company in tech.

And indirectly too. The whole Lodsys/Intellectual Ventures bs shell game does quite a bit to hurt Apple by going after app devs who are using basic OS functionality.

AustinIllini
Jul 5, 2012, 11:31 AM
Absolutely, software patents do more harm that good.

Ultimately, these words from the judge will land on deaf ears.

Clearly there's a balance. The problem is Apple shouldn't have to fight off an iOS equivalent of a Hackintosh. A company should not be able to release an OS called eOS and have all the same features.

I agree with the judge on this one, but I also understand that Apple doesn't want to simply give up all their technologies.

LazyBrush
Jul 5, 2012, 11:31 AM
A US Judge that talks sense. Well Done.

Copyright is enough. No need for patents.

a.gomez
Jul 5, 2012, 11:36 AM
do not think everything can just be open for the taking - there needs to be a balance.

one good thing about all this litigation is that nonsensical patents like "slide to unlock" will be tossed out and real innovative ideas that need protecting will survive.

In the end this will just lead to a clear understanding of who owns what and what to avoid or what needs a license if you make an Android or iOS phone.

Northgrove
Jul 5, 2012, 11:37 AM
Although I agree with this judge, I wonder how it's his business to question these matters. He's there to rule fairly according to law, not question the system in place, in which software patents are part of at least in the USA.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 11:38 AM
one good thing about all this litigation is that nonsensical patents like "slide to unlock" will be tossed out and real innovative ideas that need protecting will survive.

In the end this will just lead to a clear understanding of who owns what and what to avoid or what needs a license if you make an Android of iOS phone.

Lot of assumptions there.

kdarling
Jul 5, 2012, 11:38 AM
There are a lot of people that think software code would be adequately protected by some sort of copyright rather than patent.

Software already is protected by copyright, and that's what we all relied on back in the early days.

Ideas themselves were free to copy if you were good enough to code it.

Btw, one interesting History of Software Patents here (http://www.bitlaw.com/software-patent/history.html).

However, most things I just figure out as problems come up. And so do many other people. The fact that a solution to a problem might be found in a patent doesn't help me at all, ...

This needs to be emphasized to the non-developers around here, some of whom incredibly seem to believe that somehow developers have the time to search patent applications to see if their idea on how to solve a problem infringes on anyone. Developers often solve problems a dozen times a day.

Suggestion: Ask the developer who infringed on the software patent under oath whether he has seen, read and understood the patent before infringing or not, and if not, how long it took him to re-invent the patented invention. And take that to decide whether it's obvious or not.

I've posted a similar idea: the USPTO should keep a dozen experienced developers on tap. When a new application comes in, give them the problem that the patent is supposed to solve... and see if anyone comes up with the same solution. If so, then it's obvious to someone actually skilled in the art... not just an examiner who hasn't done development in years, if ever.

applesith
Jul 5, 2012, 11:40 AM
Ok, but software patents do exist and apple has filed them. Deciding that software shouldnt have patents doesnt address the case in his court.

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 11:40 AM
No one is talking about deregulating software. Software already benefits from protection through Copyright. No one can copy your software. Patents don't cover your actual software, but the ideas and methods behind it. That is what is hurting the consumer and the industry in general. Software patents shouldn't be granted, software should be protected by copyright only.

So if I developed the game Pac-Man and spent money marketing it until it was popular, then you make a copy of the game but didn't use my source code, pray tell how I am protected? The consumer gets a cheaper version of the game from you because you didn't have the development costs that I did.

How am I protected?

Without protection, I'd just say ****** it and leave the game business, then no more innovation from me and you can keep spinning off iterations of your mediocre games and then the industry languishes and the consumers suffer.

djphat2000
Jul 5, 2012, 11:41 AM
Exactly.

Let's translate what happens in the area of software patents to more conventional patents.

Let's say I come up with an idea of a flying car powered by water - quite a generic idea. I can patent that idea. Now, I don't even have to construct that car, I just own the (software) patent. But let's say I build the flying car, it's quite slow, only hovers 2 feet above the ground, but kinda works. Then company X builds another car that floats 2.3 feet above the ground. It doesn't matter how they've done it, but I can sue them because they have infringed my patent (idea). Should I be allowed to sue them? Isn't this stopping innovation?

Well, I would start by saying that I think you would be pissed if someone did that to you. Again, that's just my assumption. But, if you came up with that awesome idea, and actually made it work to boot. While some other company comes up after you and does the same thing, but improves on it. You should have every right to sue (if you so choose too).

Now, I also think your saying that if the idea you came up with is pretty "Generic" in nature, but somehow you were able to get it patented anyway. If that should have been the case, well then IDK. You get a patent because you think your idea is great or worth protecting so that you can develop it further (or at least first), before someone else comes along and possibly steals, copies, clones, or patents it before you do.

Its not stopping innovation, its stopping theft. Innovation comes from doing things differently. Finding another way, developing something new. And even from old ideas that maybe no one could ever get to work before, but someone figured it out. Patents are just supposed to protect those that do it first (or get to the patent office first!). It doesn't stop the next person from trying to get something done in another way. Slide to unlock is a very good idea. But, one could use like a "toggle to unlock" or "voice to unlock", or whatever else for that matter. It's questionable if that should be patented in the first place. But, now that its kind of the way to do it. Maybe it should be allowed to be patented?.. I'll leave that for the courts.

Maybe there could be a way to apply for a patent. If nothing matches it, you get the approval. If someone else applies for a patent on a similar idea. But, somehow gets approval. When it goes to court, it can be forced into some basic FRAND license deal between the 2 companies. Because both companies applied and got approval. At least they did there jobs in making sure they were the only ones to have approval. Honest mistake, not there faults. But, if a company does something with either full knowledge that it already exists, and they do it anyway (without checking first). They get to pay a higher penalty (royalties), that get determined by the courts. For as long as they continue to use that method.

IDK, just throwing something out there.

rmwebs
Jul 5, 2012, 11:41 AM
Pretty sure everyone is copying Palm on that at this point. Hell....Apple hired the guy that helped develop the notification module in WebOS prior to iOS 5.

You could argue that everyone copied an early version of Windows Mobile for slide to unlock too then ;)

kas23
Jul 5, 2012, 11:43 AM
Although I agree with this judge, I wonder how it's his business to question these matters. He's there to rule fairly according to law, not question the system in place, in which software patents are part of at least in the USA.

The judiciary branch is there to interpret the law, not enforce it.

Oletros
Jul 5, 2012, 11:45 AM
So if I developed the game Pac-Man and spent money marketing it until it was popular, then you make a copy of the game but didn't use my source code, pray tell how I am protected? The consumer gets a cheaper version of the game from you because you didn't have the development costs that I did.

How am I protected?

Without protection, I'd just say ****** it and leave the game business, then no more innovation from me and you can keep spinning off iterations of your mediocre games and then the industry languishes and the consumers suffer.

The same way that games, movies or books are protected now?

Copyright

Peace
Jul 5, 2012, 11:45 AM
This "judge" should have recused himself a long time ago if he's going to put out these kinds of views.

If there were no software patents the only thing left on the electronic shelve would be the most alluring cheerios box regardless of the nutritional value , taste or look of the food inside.

gixxerfool
Jul 5, 2012, 11:45 AM
for those thinking

deregulate software sure...

patents are evil only big pharma can have them

no one dies if software messes up

unless your software is running;

trafficlights
bank transfers
airplane autopilots
missile defense systems
lazer satellites
drones flying over the usa
machines that go Ping!

Quoted for Monty Python. Well played.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 11:46 AM
Clearly there's a balance. The problem is Apple shouldn't have to fight off an iOS equivalent of a Hackintosh.

Copyright is what prevents that. In Apple vs Psystar is proof enough of that.

A company should not be able to release an OS called eOS

eOS would probably fall under trademark law. Though good luck protecting that, since it's just a letter in front of the acronym for Operating System. Maybe you're suggesting Apple should sue IBM over z/OS ?

and have all the same features.

Apple sure seems in a rush to catch up to Android's feature list. A list of features is just that, a list of features. Why do you feel it should be unique to a vendor ? Because Ford lists MP3 radios in their cars, Honda shouldn't be allowed to have MP3 radios now ?

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 11:49 AM
It’s very easy to see it from the other side. It can be just as hard to invovate without software patents.

The problem is not the patent system, but some patents that are granted can be thought of as common sense, logical thing to do.

If patent office start doing a better job when issueing patents i don’t see a problem with having software patents, because some things are actually worth a patent. Not the „i did it first“ patent where almost anyone can come up with the same idea in the logical thought process.

I agree with you. Patents are supposed to be novel, which would keep the common sense ideas from being patented. It's the test for novelty that needs to be improved/enforced better.

----------

The same way that games, movies or books are protected now?

Copyright

No, no, no.

Copyright does not protect look and feel, Oletros. It doesn't even protect APIs, as we see in the Oracle v. Google case. It has to be source code.

There is NO protection save maybe trade dress or registered trade mark.

biggreydog
Jul 5, 2012, 11:51 AM
There are software patents and then there are proposed standards. I find it interesting when Apple or another company is willing to license its technology for free in order to create a universal standard. Standards are good for the consumer. I'm still ticked at MS for taking what they could from 100% pure java and going their own route, creating incompatibilities along the way.

Oletros
Jul 5, 2012, 11:52 AM
Copyright does not protect look and feel, Oletros. It doesn't even protect APIs, as we see in the Oracle v. Google case. It has to be source code.

There is NO protection save maybe trade dress or registered trade mark.

Look and feel for software? Look and feel has to be protected with design patents

And API's doesn't have to be protected, is their implementation (source code) the thing that has to be protected, copyright

SactoGuy18
Jul 5, 2012, 11:53 AM
I think Judge Posner has seriously considered the famous US v. United Shoe Machinery Company case in his opinion on software patents because he's seen Apple use its patents to try to eliminate competition in a predatory fashion like what United Shoe tried to do with its patents on shoemaking machines.

This is, by definition, abusing the law to eliminate competitors to create a monopoly or near-monopoly.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 11:53 AM
Ok, but software patents do exist and apple has filed them. Deciding that software shouldnt have patents doesnt address the case in his court.

He did address the case in his court though in how it relates to current law, last week. He's now just giving his opinion on patents in general, as he's allowed to do as a citizen of the United States.

Peace
Jul 5, 2012, 11:54 AM
I think Judge Posner has seriously considered the famous US v. United Shoe Machinery Company case in his opinion on software patents because he's seen Apple use its patents to try to eliminate competition in a predatory fashion like what United Shoe tried to do with its patents on shoemaking machines.

This is, by definition, abusing the law to eliminate competitors to create a monopoly or near-monopoly.

You do know he threw out Motorola stuff too right ?

bedifferent
Jul 5, 2012, 11:54 AM
Finally, someone who seems to understand. While some may have legal legitimacy, these patent/IP lawsuits are out of control. It's tantamount to a pissing contest. In the end, the consumer is losing the most. We shouldn't be so ready to justify these suits by Apple, or any company, just because we may like their products. Objectivity is crucial in these matters.

kas23
Jul 5, 2012, 11:54 AM
This "judge" should have recused himself a long time ago if he's going to put out these kinds of views.

If there were no software patents the only thing left on the electronic shelve would be the most alluring cheerios box regardless of the nutritional value , taste or look of the food inside.

I don't quite buy patents drive innovation. It's the consumers checkbook that drive innovation. Look at the cellphone industry pre-iPhone. It was stagnant, no innovation. But there were still plenty of patents produced during this period. So, we had plenty of patents with zero innovation.

Apple comes around and makes an innovative phone. One that is fantastic and the consumers take notice and buy, buy, buy. Do you really think Apple would have put out a piece of crap without the ability to patent it? If they did, no one would have bought one and they wouldn't have 98 billion in the bank. Clearly they innovated a great phone purely for the monetary reward.

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 11:54 AM
The same way that games, movies or books are protected now?

Copyright

I'm not disagreeing with you, but I think the question was, "How is it protected by copyright?" What elements are protected?

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 11:57 AM
So if I developed the game Pac-Man and spent money marketing it until it was popular, then you make a copy of the game but didn't use my source code, pray tell how I am protected?

Trademark. Patenting a game ? I've never heard of such a ridiculous concept.

The consumer gets a cheaper version of the game from you because you didn't have the development costs that I did.

Uh ? The hard part of making a game is not coming up with the concept itself, but rather code the game engine, draw up the graphics, make the sounds, all things protected under copyright/trademark law. That's why no one ever patents game ideas.

How am I protected?

Trademark
Copyright.

Simple uh ?

Without protection, I'd just say ****** it and leave the game business, then no more innovation from me and you can keep spinning off iterations of your mediocre games and then the industry languishes and the consumers suffer.

I don't think the game industry would miss someon that has no idea what makes a video game hard to make and that patents aren't required to protect those parts.

AustinIllini
Jul 5, 2012, 11:57 AM
Copyright is what prevents that. In Apple vs Psystar is proof enough of that.
Good point, but what if the OS is built from the ground but has all the same functions?


eOS would probably fall under trademark law. Though good luck protecting that, since it's just a letter in front of the acronym for Operating System. Maybe you're suggesting Apple should sue IBM over z/OS ?

Again, I'm more referring to something that is meant to be a blatant knockoff. It happens in every other industry.


Apple sure seems in a rush to catch up to Android's feature list. A list of features is just that, a list of features. Why do you feel it should be unique to a vendor ? Because Ford lists MP3 radios in their cars, Honda shouldn't be allowed to have MP3 radios now ?

Ford didn't develop .mp3 technology and neither did Honda. They bought the product from a third party vendor. No radio maker would seriously create an exclusive license. Terrible example.

Peace
Jul 5, 2012, 11:58 AM
I don't quite buy patents drive innovation. It's the consumers checkbook that drive innovation. Look at the cellphone industry pre-iPhone. It was stagnant, no innovation. But there were still plenty of patents produced during this period. So, we had plenty of patents with zero innovation.

Apple comes around and makes an innovative phone. One that is fantastic and the consumers take notice and buy, buy, buy. Do you really think Apple would have put out a piece of crap without the ability to patent it? If they did, no one would have bought one and they wouldn't have 98 billion in the bank. Clearly they innovated a great phone purely for the monetary reward.

I wasn't implying patents drive innovation . I was saying innovation without some kind of protection leads to droves of products that are the same.

w00master
Jul 5, 2012, 12:00 PM
Funny how Coca-cola cannot patent it's recipe for Coca-cola. Funny.

Oh that's right, it's because you cannot patent a food recipe.

Amazing how Coca-cola is able to survive without food recipe patents.


Software patents are unnecessary and need to go away. Just like you cannot patent a food recipe, you shouldn't be able to patent software.

W00master

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 12:00 PM
Apple lost a patent battle with HTC in london yesterday, this is to quote from what the judge said........

"It would of been an "obvious" improvement for the developers to have offered users visual feedback in the form of a "slider" in the way that apple later used."


The judge/magistrate is a tool, IMO. Mobile device companies were putting physical slide switches on phones for a long time. It might be obvious after Apple's implementation, but before 2007 it was a physical switch. Apple's implementation was novel and actually was accepted by the IPO in the UK. Good thing that judge doesn't work in the IPO. Actually, would be better if he was on the dole. He sorta is now, but higher pay.

Renzatic
Jul 5, 2012, 12:01 PM
This sounds like a reasonable suggestion. The "concrete application" of an idea is patentable, not merely the idea itself. Am i reading you correctly? If so i agree with this in theory.

That's the way the patent system is supposed to work, and the way it was originally intended. You can't patent the results, only the process.

Like Siri vs. Google Now. The specific code and the implementation used to make Siri possible are patentable, but the concept of talking to a rudimentary AI on your cellphone and having it respond with results isn't.

Unfortunately, computer code tends to be very specific, and sometimes there's only one way to do a certain thing. So in the case of software patents, a company can hold the rights to the end results, which can and does stifle innovation.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:01 PM
This "judge" should have recused himself a long time ago if he's going to put out these kinds of views.

He has a right to his opinion and he has a right to the freedom of voicing it.

If there were no software patents the only thing left on the electronic shelve would be the most alluring cheerios box regardless of the nutritional value , taste or look of the food inside.

How do you figure ? Trade secrets are usually used to protect food recipes. :rolleyes:

vladi
Jul 5, 2012, 12:03 PM
So if I developed the game Pac-Man and spent money marketing it until it was popular, then you make a copy of the game but didn't use my source code, pray tell how I am protected? The consumer gets a cheaper version of the game from you because you didn't have the development costs that I did.

How am I protected?

Without protection, I'd just say ****** it and leave the game business, then no more innovation from me and you can keep spinning off iterations of your mediocre games and then the industry languishes and the consumers suffer.

Hmmm now I can see how Spelunker stole Super Mario's thunder.

What will sell your game/movie/phone is not how good it is but how much you market it. In other words you probably want to save two to three times more of development cost just for advertising. Your development cost has nothing to do with how good your game is going to sell. Just ask EA, they have been selling biggest POS video games for a decade now and people still buy them.

kas23
Jul 5, 2012, 12:03 PM
I wasn't implying patents drive innovation . I was saying innovation without some kind of protection leads to droves of products that are the same.

Agreed. But we had plenty of patents pre-iPhone and yet all phones were still the same at that time.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:04 PM
No, no, no.

Copyright does not protect look and feel, Oletros.

Copyright does protect look, so does trademark. Apple has trademarked their iOS icons. A picture is copyright to its photographer. In the case of a video game, I can't use a fat italien plumber in a red shirt with a red cap and blue overalls, because I'd probably be guilty of trademark infringement.

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 12:06 PM
That's not the only alternative to software patents, so don't ridicule my point of view.

Chill out, brother. He didn't ridicule your view.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:07 PM
Good point, but what if the OS is built from the ground but has all the same functions?

Like all modern OSes are ? Really, as far as OS functions go, what does Windows, OS X, HP-UX, Solaris, etc.. have that are all so different from each other ? All are multi-user systems with process schedulers, driver architectures, etc.. etc.. etc..




Again, I'm more referring to something that is meant to be a blatant knockoff. It happens in every other industry.

Copyright and Trademark covers those, not patents.


Ford didn't develop .mp3 technology and neither did Honda. They bought the product from a third party vendor. No radio maker would seriously create an exclusive license. Terrible example.

You're talking OS features here. Apple didn't invent HTML rendering engines or Icon grids or even process schedulers, background wallpapers, OTA updates either. So why should these features be exclusive to Apple ?

w00master
Jul 5, 2012, 12:08 PM
If there were no software patents the only thing left on the electronic shelve would be the most alluring cheerios box regardless of the nutritional value , taste or look of the food inside.

Isn't it amazing that all these food producers from General Mills to Nestlé to Coke to KFC to Budweiser survive without being able to patent their recipes?

Amazing isn't it?

/sarcasm


Software patents need to go, pure and simple. If Coke has been able to survive this long as the number one brand in the world without recipe patents, I'm sure Apple, Google, MS, etc can survive without software patents.

w00master

jmgregory1
Jul 5, 2012, 12:09 PM
The issue I see with the judge making comments like this is that it may give Apple a reason to call for a new judge and a re-trial, if they can show that his biased remarks have negatively impacted them (which clearly they have).

I do understand his comments and agree to a point, but as someone with a few patents under my belt I also believe that there is a valid need for patent protection, even when it comes down to electronic ideas. Really, the thing that needs to change is the patent process.

devilstrider
Jul 5, 2012, 12:09 PM
The judge/magistrate is a tool, IMO. Mobile device companies were putting physical slide switches on phones for a long time. It might be obvious after Apple's implementation, but before 2007 it was a physical switch. Apple's implementation was novel and actually was accepted by the IPO in the UK. Good thing that judge doesn't work in the IPO. Actually, would be better if he was on the dole. He sorta is now, but higher pay.

Apple was granted patent on slide to unlock, even though it existed 2 years before they invented it

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:10 PM
The judge/magistrate is a tool, IMO. Mobile device companies were putting physical slide switches on phones for a long time. It might be obvious after Apple's implementation, but before 2007 it was a physical switch. Apple's implementation was novel and actually was accepted by the IPO in the UK. Good thing that judge doesn't work in the IPO. Actually, would be better if he was on the dole. He sorta is now, but higher pay.

The Neonode N1m says you lie btw (that's what the Judge based his decision on in the UK, a 2005 touchscreen phone using Slide-to-Unlock, as patented by Neonode).

Limboistik
Jul 5, 2012, 12:11 PM
Posner isn't totally right. Some companies have paid millions for some software technologies and are not as trivial as he alludes. However, determining what's trivial and not is part of the problem.

Exactly.
The way I see it, fair or not, regardless of Apple's principles on protecting their IP, Apple's lawyers will push the line as far as they can get away with. And this is the problem, the state of patent laws.
Posner has valid points, but the problem is identifying worthy patents that protect a truly original idea, versus incremental bits which are much more vague in nature and hinders competition and innovation.

brdeveloper
Jul 5, 2012, 12:11 PM
Is it just me or is this judge straying into Judicial Activism with this kind of pontificating?

I mean the question at hand was not "Are intellectual patents a good idea in this industry or not?", but more like "Is this particular patent being infringed upon?".

If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.

If you didn't have stolen source code, it's ok if you build something from the scratch. Unlike pharmaceutics where, once you have a formula, it's usually straightforward copying other's idea, in software there is a lot of work involved, so if you code an application that works like another one, it doesn't mean that it "came for free".

Or, on the other hand, if something is easy to copy on the software side, then it's a pretty cheap idea and it doesn't deserve any "intellectual property" protection. Let's face it, you can only call something "intellectual property" if it has a lot intellectual work involved.

devilstrider
Jul 5, 2012, 12:12 PM
Agreed. But we had plenty of patents pre-iPhone and yet all phones were still the same at that time.

Bingo.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:13 PM
The issue I see with the judge making comments like this is that it may give Apple a reason to call for a new judge and a re-trial, if they can show that his biased remarks have negatively impacted them (which clearly they have).

You can appeal only if the judge made errors on points of law, not because of his personal opinion.

x-b-o
Jul 5, 2012, 12:14 PM
Is it just me or is this judge straying into Judicial Activism with this kind of pontificating?

I mean the question at hand was not "Are intellectual patents a good idea in this industry or not?", but more like "Is this particular patent being infringed upon?".

If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.

Here in the UK at least, it is up to the judge and jury to decide whether a law is fair. If they believe it is not then they can find the defendant not-guilty, even if 'according to the book' the defendant has 'crossed the line'.

This I hope is true for the US too.

It's worth noting however that even in UK many judges will insist to the jury that their 'oath' means they must rule in accordance with 'the law / the book'. However this is not true.

genovelle
Jul 5, 2012, 12:16 PM
Of course that's true, but Posner is a respected and influential judge. Some good may come of this statement.
I completely disagree with this. I find it offensive that someone who has never created a single thing in his life can decide that your work does not deserve protection. If I can be thrown out of school because I had the same idea as someone else then software patents are needed. There are a number of companies who no longer exists because people stole their ideas and ran them out of business by copying them. Apple was almost one of them. They got lucky. This makes me so angry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a creator not a thief!!!!!!

w00master
Jul 5, 2012, 12:17 PM
Posner isn't totally right. Some companies have paid millions for some software technologies and are not as trivial as he alludes. However, determining what's trivial and not is part of the problem.

Many food companies have spent billions on their recipes, but guess what

You cannot patent a food recipe.

Amazingly... These food companies still do amazingly well.

Software patents need to go, pure and simple. Frankly, many of these software patents are so broad, it would be like Nestlé patenting chocolate chip cookie recipes. That's how ludicrous software patents are. They need to go.

w00master

angelneo
Jul 5, 2012, 12:17 PM
By what metric? Seems pretty logical that large companies would hold more patents than small companies, and that large companies would have more resources to protect those patents through litigation.
It's not just that. Patent process takes effort and because of that, small companies usually only go through it if they feel it's worth the effort. That is not the same as to how these big companies work the patent system. To them, it's like throwing spagetti onto the wall and see if it stick. Anything remotely new, they will just submit them. I believe some big companies even use patents count as a performance gauge for employees.

So if I developed the game Pac-Man and spent money marketing it until it was popular, then you make a copy of the game but didn't use my source code, pray tell how I am protected? The consumer gets a cheaper version of the game from you because you didn't have the development costs that I did.

How am I protected?

Without protection, I'd just say ****** it and leave the game business, then no more innovation from me and you can keep spinning off iterations of your mediocre games and then the industry languishes and the consumers suffer.I don't think the game business is a good example. Game mechanics (or the codes) are pretty similar all over the place in the industry.

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 12:18 PM
You're talking OS features here. Apple didn't invent HTML rendering engines or Icon grids or even process schedulers, background wallpapers, OTA updates either. So why should these features be exclusive to Apple ?

This is one half on the same argument that will keep these "copying" discussions going on and on and on. All invention is built on ideas that were discovered/invented by others. The fact that Apple, for example, didn't invent the parts does not mean that it did not invent the whole. Prior art for parts is not prior art for the whole.

(The other, equally divisive, half of the argument is that people cannot discern the difference between legally copying ideas and stealing IP. :))

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 12:20 PM
Copyright does protect look, so does trademark. Apple has trademarked their iOS icons. A picture is copyright to its photographer. In the case of a video game, I can't use a fat italien plumber in a red shirt with a red cap and blue overalls, because I'd probably be guilty of trademark infringement.

Bzzt! Wrong! Remember Apple suing Microsoft over the look and feel of Macintosh and losing?

w00master
Jul 5, 2012, 12:21 PM
I completely disagree with this. I find it offensive that someone who has never created a single thing in his life can decide that your work does not deserve protection. If I can be thrown out of school because I had the same idea as someone else then software patents are needed. There are a number of companies who no longer exists because people stole their ideas and ran them out of business by copying them. Apple was almost one of them. They got lucky. This makes me so angry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a creator not a thief!!!!!!

Wow. You seem a bit emotional about is. Did you code iOS? Do you work for Apple? Are you a stockholder of Apple?

I'm betting no.

Why so emotional about this?

Also, since you're so "hard up" in support for apple and their software patents, answer this one question:

Why can't Coke patent their recipe for Classic Coca-cola?

Isn't it amazing they survive and are the number one brand in the world? Amazing! All without recipe patents.

Software patents are unnecessary and need to go away.

Period.

w00master

Peace
Jul 5, 2012, 12:24 PM
Bzzt! Wrong! Remember Apple suing Microsoft over the look and feel of Macintosh and losing?

Apple never sued microsoft over the look and feel of the macintosh. Apple sued microsoft over the use of the GUI of windows and Microsoft calling it windows.

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 12:26 PM
If you didn't have stolen source code, it's ok if you build something from the scratch. Unlike pharmaceutics where, once you have a formula, it's usually straightforward copying other's idea, in software there is a lot of work involved, so if you code an application that works like another one, it doesn't mean that it "came for free".

Or, on the other hand, if something is easy to copy on the software side, then it's a pretty cheap idea and it doesn't deserve any "intellectual property" protection. Let's face it, you can only call something "intellectual property" if it has a lot intellectual work involved.

I was initially commenting on the _relevance_ of the judge's opinion on the matter at hand, not the particulars of patent law. He is a Judge, and while he is duly entitled to his opinion just like everyone else, as far as i know, patents are still legally valid.

So if he is going to express his concern that they are abused (which we have illustrated in the discussion here for sure) then he needs to be careful not to just ignore them and let legal infringements pass. There is a great way to change law, but afaik this was not the case that would determine the validity of software patents.

That case may be around the corner tho, unless the patent laws are updated.

What happened to the days of patenting something that was truly novel. The truly novel is often the most sensitive to cheap rip-offs. I don't think much of what is patented that we are discussing in the way of software fits the intent of patent law.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:26 PM
Bzzt! Wrong! Remember Apple suing Microsoft over the look and feel of Macintosh and losing?

Remember apple suing Samsung over the look of their icons based on trademarks ?

Try to use Mario or Luigi in a video game you wrote with 0 Nintendo code and comeback to tell me how it went. :rolleyes:

How the hell am I wrong ? video games don't use patents for protection and are doing just fine. You're the one who brought up the analogy. Microsoft didn't not take any trademarked/copyrighted elements from Apple and you can't exactly patent "Look and feel", only specific designs.

brdeveloper
Jul 5, 2012, 12:28 PM
Patent process takes effort and because of that, small companies usually only go through it if they feel it's worth the effort. That is not the same as to how these big companies work the patent system. To them, it's like throwing spagetti onto the wall and see if it stick. Anything remotely new, they will just submit them. I believe some big companies even use patents count as a performance gauge for employees.

THIS is a threat to innovation. Without startups, we are stuck in a monopoly.

kdarling
Jul 5, 2012, 12:29 PM
Funny how Coca-cola cannot patent it's recipe for Coca-cola. Funny.

Oh that's right, it's because you cannot patent a food recipe.

Actually, you can patent a recipe. See here (http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2012/02/10/the-law-of-recipes-are-recipes-patentable/id=22223/) and here (http://store.inventorprise.com/content_articles.php?id=1049). The second link gives examples, although some seem to be more about the process than the ingredients. But then, we don't know what's important about the Coke recipe either.

Amazing how Coca-cola is able to survive without food recipe patents.

Coca-Cola doesn't WANT to patent their recipe, because then it would become public.

That's why they rely on it being a trade secret instead, locked in a vault.

Oletros
Jul 5, 2012, 12:33 PM
I completely disagree with this. I find it offensive that someone who has never created a single thing in his life can decide that your work does not deserve protection. If I can be thrown out of school because I had the same idea as someone else then software patents are needed. There are a number of companies who no longer exists because people stole their ideas and ran them out of business by copying them. Apple was almost one of them. They got lucky. This makes me so angry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a creator not a thief!!!!!!

Perhaps before spitting such a shameless crap you have to inform better

http://www.amazon.com/Richard-A.-Posner/e/B000APOCZ4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1341509075&sr=8-1

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:33 PM
THIS is a threat to innovation. Without startups, we are stuck in a monopoly.

Even with startups, big companies just end up buying the interesting ones. Look at all of Apple's acquisitions over the years. A bunch were small startups with interesting ideas that Apple wanted for themselves. Same for Google, Microsoft and tons of other big industry players.

realeric
Jul 5, 2012, 12:35 PM
Yeeeeee........ Now, can I copy Windows 8, MS Office, OS X Mountain Lion, Photoshop, songs for free? I mean pirating using torrent. I like judge Posner......... What a wonderful world !!! :p

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 12:35 PM
The Neonode N1m says you lie btw (that's what the Judge based his decision on in the UK, a 2005 touchscreen phone using Slide-to-Unlock, as patented by Neonode).

Neonode isn't saying I am a liar, you are. But I think you are mistaken.

The difference between the patents is:
Neonode has an offscreen slide to unlock, and
Apple has an onscreen motion to unlock.

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 12:36 PM
Here in the UK at least, it is up to the judge and jury to decide whether a law is fair. If they believe it is not then they can find the defendant not-guilty, even if 'according to the book' the defendant has 'crossed the line'.

This I hope is true for the US too.

It's worth noting however that even in UK many judges will insist to the jury that their 'oath' means they must rule in accordance with 'the law / the book'. However this is not true.

Great point. So perhaps thats where we are at. If the "legally obtained patent" is invalidated because the Judge thinks that patents are unnecessary, i think that becomes a _big_ deal.

As for Judges sitting in judgment of the law and not in enforcement of it. This is hopefully the way it works.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:36 PM
Neonode isn't saying I am a liar, you are. But I think you are mistaken.

The difference between the patents is:
Neonode has an offscreen slide to unlock, and
Apple has an onscreen motion to unlock.

Tell that to the UK judge then, because again, that's what he based his decision to invalidate Apple's patent on.

brdeveloper
Jul 5, 2012, 12:36 PM
Even with startups, big companies just end up buying the interesting ones. Look at all of Apple's acquisitions over the years. A bunch were small startups with interesting ideas that Apple wanted for themselves. Same for Google, Microsoft and tons of other big industry players.

So you agree that all the interesting startups are bought by the big players? We are stuck in a monopoly anyway.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:38 PM
Great point. So perhaps thats where we are at. If the "legally obtained patent" is invalidated because the Judge thinks that patents are unnecessary, i think that becomes a _big_ deal.

Patents are usually invalidated based on prior art or obviousness.

----------

So you agree that all the interesting startups are bought by the big players? We are stuck in a monopoly anyway.

Oligopolies is more akin to what we're stuck with in technology these days (and other industries like food, hygiene and health products are the same).

brdeveloper
Jul 5, 2012, 12:38 PM
Yeeeeee........ Now, can I copy Windows 8, MS Office, OS X Mountain Lion, Photoshop, songs for free? I mean pirating using torrent. I like judge Posner......... What a wonderful world !!! :p

It's clear that you don't know the difference between coding and making a carbon-copy of binary data.

Renzatic
Jul 5, 2012, 12:39 PM
Try to use Mario or Luigi in a video game you wrote with 0 Nintendo code and comeback to tell me how it went. :rolleyes:

You could probably get away with making a game that uses a fat Italian plumber in a red short and overalls and not be guilty of trademark infringement. At least as long as you don't call him Mario, and make him go "woo-hoo" everytime he jumps.

You can get as far as suspiciously similar without having to worry about a lawsuit. Just look at movies for an example. When you've got some movie that's a big hit, you get tons of B-grade ripoffs come out right after it. Movies you know are trying to ride the coattails of the original success, that are blatant about it, but are just different enough to slide past scot free.

Though to lend credence to Posner's claim about being first being enough, most people see the ripoffs as just that, and only the original gets the attention. That is, unless the copy improves greatly upon the original.

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 12:40 PM
Tell that to the UK judge then, because again, that's what he based his decision to invalidate Apple's patent on.

Sure, but disagreeing with a judge doesn't make you a liar. :rolleyes:

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 12:40 PM
Remember apple suing Samsung over the look of their icons based on trademarks ?

Try to use Mario or Luigi in a video game you wrote with 0 Nintendo code and comeback to tell me how it went. :rolleyes:

How the hell am I wrong ? video games don't use patents for protection and are doing just fine. You're the one who brought up the analogy. Microsoft didn't not take any trademarked/copyrighted elements from Apple and you can't exactly patent "Look and feel", only specific designs.

Pacman or Mario are trademarks, no disagreement there. Now bring the thoughts back to iOS or Macintosh. How do you protect look and feel? Unlock the phone, slide through a few photos, type an email. We're talking look and feel.

Apple can't trademark look and feel.
Apple can't copyright look and feel. (They can copyright the source code)
Apple can't trade dress the look and feel.

Look and feel is not protectable. You seemed to suggest it was. That is what I was saying you were wrong about.

Violent agreement?

I think Apple should be able to protect look and feel. Just missing a legal tool to do it. It's a lot like trade dress IMO.

brdeveloper
Jul 5, 2012, 12:41 PM
Patents are usually invalidated based on prior art or obviousness.

----------



Oligopolies is more akin to what we're stuck with in technology these days (and other industries like food, hygiene and health products are the same).

Ok, oligopoly, cartel (although a complex cartel involving politic and public agents), whatever. I said monopoly in a lato-sensu meaning.

tdmac
Jul 5, 2012, 12:41 PM
Exactly.

Let's translate what happens in the area of software patents to more conventional patents.

Let's say I come up with an idea of a flying car powered by water - quite a generic idea. I can patent that idea. Now, I don't even have to construct that car, I just own the (software) patent. But let's say I build the flying car, it's quite slow, only hovers 2 feet above the ground, but kinda works. Then company X builds another car that floats 2.3 feet above the ground. It doesn't matter how they've done it, but I can sue them because they have infringed my patent (idea). Should I be allowed to sue them? Isn't this stopping innovation?

Lets go with your idea. Now you spent $500,000 of your own money constructing, designing, engineering to actually build that car that hovers 2 feet above the ground. Now someone else wants to be in the flying car business and takes all of your designs, hardwork and just tosses out some weight or makes a slight modification so it now can hover 2.3'. He spent nothing on R&D and now can trump your idea and rode off your $500,000 coat tails. You are now broke since no one will buy your flying car that looks the same and hovers only 2'. That's acceptable?

Under the patent system, the idea could be advanced by that second party if party #1 licenses the product to that other party. Or if the original owner wants to sit on it, a new company can come up with another concept/design that is uniquely different or go about it in a different way to be patented.

I agree that in many instances there are patents given for silly things. However, I don't blame Apple. I blame the system as a whole. Many of these silly things came out at the time of the internet. i.e. Amazon is probably the most notable. This then set the stage for other software companies to protect similar things. What is a company like Apple to do? Not patent these ideas and let others do it and lock them out or give the ideas away?

The other side is looking at many of these patent cases with hindsight 20/20 vision. In todays landscape these things seem highly obvious. However, if you look back at when some of these patent applications were granted the ability to fathom the concepts for allot of these things were unheard of. Look at some of Apple recent ideas that have been recently or applied for. I don't see the same calling for end of the patent process when those ideas are posted. Why? No one thought of them before and we deem the concept cool and novel.

To me this issue is that when one company comes out with something cool the consumer wants that same idea avail on a different product that they use. Thus, they get angry at the initial company for stifling innovation for a product they like better but wished it had the other products features.

Renzatic
Jul 5, 2012, 12:41 PM
Neonode isn't saying I am a liar, you are. But I think you are mistaken.

The difference between the patents is:
Neonode has an offscreen slide to unlock, and
Apple has an onscreen motion to unlock.

In practical usage, what's the difference between the two?

Now bring the thoughts back to iOS or Macintosh. How do you protect look and feel? Unlock the phone, slide through a few photos, type an email. We're talking look and feel.

...I think Apple should be able to protect look and feel.

That's not look and feel, that's you using your computer. Unlocking the phone, typing an email, looking at photos. Computers and cell phones have done these tasks long before Macs and iOS were on the scene.

Look and feel would be the rounded corners on a window, the grey border, the icons, the way the screen on the iPhone bounces when you drag beyond the borders of the app. And so on and so on.

kdarling
Jul 5, 2012, 12:42 PM
Yeeeeee........ Now, can I copy Windows 8, MS Office, OS X Mountain Lion, Photoshop, songs for free? I mean pirating using torrent. I like judge Posner......... What a wonderful world !!! :p

You're totally confusing patents and copyrights.

Patents give you the right to prevent others from using your invention.

Copyrights give you the sole rights to reproduce and distribute your creation.

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 12:43 PM
Tell that to the UK judge then, because again, that's what he based his decision to invalidate Apple's patent on.

Like I said, the judge is a liberal tool or possibly illiterate...

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:45 PM
You could probably get away with making a game that uses a fat Italian plumber in a red short and overalls and not be guilty of trademark infringement. At least as long as you don't call him Mario, and make him go "woo-hoo" everytime he jumps.

I'd really like to see that. The likeness of Mario/Luigi are protected. Your drawings would have to be sufficiently different from the originals and as such, you wouldn't have a fat italian plumber anymore, you'd probably have a thin chinese brick layer, or a muscular american factory worker.

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 12:46 PM
In practical usage, what's the difference between the two?

If you're suggesting there is no difference, some would disagree. If you're just asking, the Apple patent has onscreen path indication (i.e. picture). Apple apparently convinced the USPTO it was different enough.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:47 PM
Like I said, the judge is a liberal tool or possibly illiterate...

Or maybe there's just something you don't understand about patent law and the 2 patents in question that he got to review for quite a few hours, not to mention basing his decision on his knowledge of the laws of the land and his experience ? :rolleyes:

Funny how some people without even so close as to an understanding of the difference between the different types of IP (copyright vs trademark vs patents) can say a judge was "wrong".

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 12:47 PM
you'd probably have a thin chinese brick layer, or a muscular american factory worker.

Or a friendly Canadian curling champion. :-)

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 12:48 PM
Patents are usually invalidated based on prior art or obviousness.

True, however i am responding to the OP where the Judge tosses this around:

"It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries," he said.

It appears that he has a much broader reformation in mind. One which i don't argue may be over due, but would have a major impact to the market as it exists today.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:49 PM
Now bring the thoughts back to iOS or Macintosh. How do you protect look and feel? Unlock the phone, slide through a few photos, type an email. We're talking look and feel.

Hum, why do you feel those should be protected ? I could unlock my phone, slide through photos and type an e-mail before the iPhone, I sure hope I'll still be able to do it after the iPhone.

No company should have a monopoly over basic functions like that.

Navdakilla
Jul 5, 2012, 12:49 PM
Agree 100%

Me too

I feel like Apple is just trolling. Not a fan

berenpx
Jul 5, 2012, 12:50 PM
I despise Apple!

When developing the iPhone, Apple deliberately chose to ignore a bunch of standards essential patents held by Nokia. And they blatantly refused to pay royalties for licensing these patents under Frand (fair reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms - instead choosing to fight Nokia in the courts - until they of course lost spectacularly.

And yes, I fully support Judge Posner.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:51 PM
It appears that he has a much broader reformation in mind. One which i don't argue may be over due, but would have a major impact to the market as it exists today.

Sure it would, we'd finally be rid of tons of lawsuits and licensing/cross-licensing deals that end up costing a lot of money for not much value in the end.

Patents do not help promote the arts in the field of software, they help companies get richer on the back of consumers.

genovelle
Jul 5, 2012, 12:52 PM
Many food companies have spent billions on their recipes, but guess what

You cannot patent a food recipe.

Amazingly... These food companies still do amazingly well.

Software patents need to go, pure and simple. Frankly, many of these software patents are so broad, it would be like Nestlé patenting chocolate chip cookie recipes. That's how ludicrous software patents are. They need to go.

w00master
You could not be more wrong. Recipes are protected. That's why Burger King and jack in the box had to wait 20 years to come out with a sandwich similar to the Big Mac. The same goes for the egg mcmuffin. Cookie companies have recipes and procedures that make their cookies taste different. They are protected for 20 years before copy cats come. These companies search the patent listings to get a head start on any leaked information to use their own tech against them. I still think it is sad that the real AT&T no longer exists because they were run out of business with their own product. One that no one would have otherwise. The creates so many advances over the years and know that will be silent. The current AT&T is really MCI they just own the name.

HurtinMinorKey
Jul 5, 2012, 12:53 PM
This judge has it totally bassackawrds.
If you get rid of patent protections in software, every time a small shop innovates, a behemoth corporation will swoop in, steal it, and market it to death: BAM! There goes the innovator's first mover advantage.

On the other hand, pharmaceutical patents are one of the reasons our healthcare system is bankrupt. There are other ways to spur innovation in this field (grants).

MacMantra
Jul 5, 2012, 12:54 PM
You know, when it really comes down to it, you have to admit it is just thievery. I don't care if people think it is ultimately better for the consumer or not. People don't care about integrity or hard work any more, just the I'm OK, your OK mentality that breeds complacency. Apple works hard and spends allot of money for development on their product line to create something unique, cool, and technologically superior, just to have another company like Motorola, or Google or Microsoft who lack the vision wait in the wings to rip them off. I have no respect whatsoever for these companies. So yes the patent laws need work, but how can you breed innovation when you know that your patents wont protect you. Anymore, all you have to do is wait for a great product, rip it off and then just turn it another color and there you have it, another great product by Motorola. It is not like every company was racing to put out a phone or a tablet like Apple did hoping they would be the first. Apple changed the phone industry overnight and then came out with the iPad and now every Tom, Dick and Harry puts out a similar device and you thing it is just co-incidence, or just normal evolution of the a device or industry. Apple has every right to keep everyone else from developing and marketing devices that uses their technology. It is just common sense.

schmidm77
Jul 5, 2012, 12:56 PM
But the bottom line here is he is a federal judge, not a member of congress. It's not his job to determine the need for s/w patents. He should run for House or Senate if he feels passionate about reforming IP laws. I have tremendous respect for him as a jurist but his policy opinion gives the feeling he is prepared to legislate from the bench, which is a grosser offense, and more damaging to the country, than any abuse of current IP laws.

You don't understand how our common law legal system works, do you? Judges create new law through precedent all the time. "Fair use" is itself a common law construction.

As it is, he is merely giving an opinion based on a pure economic analysis point of view: do the costs of software patent monopoly outweigh the benefits.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 12:56 PM
Apple has every right to keep everyone else from developing and marketing devices that uses their technology. It is just common sense.

That's called copyright, not patents. We're discussing patents here.

And it's not thievery, it's infringement.

Renzatic
Jul 5, 2012, 12:59 PM
I'd really like to see that. The likeness of Mario/Luigi are protected. Your drawings would have to be sufficiently different from the originals and as such, you wouldn't have a fat italian plumber anymore, you'd probably have a thin chinese brick layer, or a muscular american factory worker.

You can still get pretty close without infringing directly. A fat guy with a moustache wearing a hat, red shirt, and overalls is pretty generic. Whereas Mario himself is pretty specific.

...like this:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3018396/mario.jpg

That's probably a little too close, but it might be just enough for the guy on the left to get away with it.

----------

If you're suggesting there is no difference, some would disagree. If you're just asking, the Apple patent has onscreen path indication (i.e. picture). Apple apparently convinced the USPTO it was different enough.

Actually, the slide to unlock thing might be one of the few valid patents to be upheld. Like I said in a previous post no one saw because it landed at the bottom of the page, you can patent the process, but not the end result. In this case, sliding an onscreen representation of a tab to unlock the phone via touch can be patentable, but the concept of locking and unlocking a phone isn't.

So Apple has a patent on the bar, but Google can use their circle within a circle thing because it's a different process.

kiljoy616
Jul 5, 2012, 01:01 PM
He needs to read: Are software patents evil?
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2011/08/09/are-software-patents-evil/

Read it not impressed and yes software patents are evil. :rolleyes:

w00master
Jul 5, 2012, 01:03 PM
You could not be more wrong. Recipes are protected. That's why Burger King and jack in the box had to wait 20 years to come out with a sandwich similar to the Big Mac. The same goes for the egg mcmuffin. Cookie companies have recipes and procedures that make their cookies taste different. They are protected for 20 years before copy cats come. These companies search the patent listings to get a head start on any leaked information to use their own tech against them. I still think it is sad that the real AT&T no longer exists because they were run out of business with their own product. One that no one would have otherwise. The creates so many advances over the years and know that will be silent. The current AT&T is really MCI they just own the name.

The method of manufacturing is patentable but recipes are not patentable. They've never been.

w00master

Oletros
Jul 5, 2012, 01:03 PM
Tell that to the UK judge then, because again, that's what he based his decision to invalidate Apple's patent on.

And the dutch judges

kiljoy616
Jul 5, 2012, 01:04 PM
Me too

I feel like Apple is just trolling. Not a fan

Because this has not been done to them either.

Personally I love for bull patents of software, but then I would also like to see no patents on food that been around for ever (almost) which are even more asinine. :mad:

kdarling
Jul 5, 2012, 01:04 PM
Apple can't trademark look and feel.
Apple can't copyright look and feel. (They can copyright the source code)
Apple can't trade dress the look and feel.

Look and feel is not protectable. You seemed to suggest it was. That is what I was saying you were wrong about.

Look and feel is protectable by copyright, although it apparently requires a court to figure out each case. The USPTO generally requires that code and look are submitted separately, btw.

As for video games, one of the first cases was Atari v. Philips Electronics, over PacMan v. K. C. Munchkin.

"While noting that there was not identical copying, the Court found that defendant's game had captured the "total concept and feel" of Atari's game."- Look and Feel in Computer Software (http://www.computerlaw.com/CM/Articles/Look-Feel-in-Computer-Software.asp)

Look and feel is also sometimes protected by trade dress these days. Trade dress is about trying to deceive the consumer as to the product source, though, and I don't think applies that much here. ( I don't think anyone thinks Android is trying to pretend that Apple makes it. )

Oletros
Jul 5, 2012, 01:04 PM
He needs to read: Are software patents evil?
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2011/08/09/are-software-patents-evil/


Daniel Eran Dilger? Really?

w00master
Jul 5, 2012, 01:05 PM
You could not be more wrong. Recipes are protected. That's why Burger King and jack in the box had to wait 20 years to come out with a sandwich similar to the Big Mac. The same goes for the egg mcmuffin. Cookie companies have recipes and procedures that make their cookies taste different. They are protected for 20 years before copy cats come. These companies search the patent listings to get a head start on any leaked information to use their own tech against them. I still think it is sad that the real AT&T no longer exists because they were run out of business with their own product. One that no one would have otherwise. The creates so many advances over the years and know that will be silent. The current AT&T is really MCI they just own the name.

Sorry to continue. It's the trademark and copyright that is protecting them. Again a recipe CANNOT be patented. They have never been.

Period.

w00master

dannsh
Jul 5, 2012, 01:05 PM
I wish I had patent the bubble sort. Patents on software code is crazy. Hardware Yes!

They are killing progression in most software markets. The worst part is most people don't even know a patent exists until after they spend millions on development only to have it blocked in the end.

I can understand broad software ideas, but to put a patent on a sliding button, multi-touch etc.. is just too far reaching and only large companies can afford the patent attorneys.


They are not used for good in the software industry they are only used to harm.

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 01:06 PM
That's not look and feel, that's you using your computer. Unlocking the phone, typing an email, looking at photos. Computers and cell phones have done these tasks long before Macs and iOS were on the scene.

Look and feel would be the rounded corners on a window, the grey border, the icons, the way the screen on the iPhone bounces when you drag beyond the borders of the app. And so on and so on.

You didn't understand. Unlocking the phone by sliding your finger over a picture of a slider is look and feel. Flipping through photos and expanding fingers to zoom is look and feel. You are saying the same thing.

Shouldn't Apple be able to protect this look and feel? I think so. Apple thinks so. This is what software patents protect, no? Have you read the below link?

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2011/08/09/are-software-patents-evil/

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 01:07 PM
You can still get pretty close without infringing directly. A fat guy with a moustache wearing a hat, red shirt, and overalls is pretty generic. Whereas Mario himself is pretty specific.

...like this:

Image (https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3018396/mario.jpg)

That's probably a little too close, but it might be just enough for the guy on the left to get away with it.

We have some pretty blatant trademark infringement right here in Quebec like that one. The thing is, will Disney really sue a restaurant called "Goofy", using Goofy as their mascot, when it's in a village with less than 2000 inhabitants (yes, really life example, they make awesome poutine too) ?

Same for your pizza example, that doesn't seem to be a mass-market game. Nintendo would probably still win a trademark infringement lawsuit if they became aware of the infringement.

kiljoy616
Jul 5, 2012, 01:07 PM
So yes the patent laws need work, but how can you breed innovation when you know that your patents wont protect you..

By brining it out to market and making something that people want to buy. A few lines of code should not a patent make. :mad:

FakeWozniak
Jul 5, 2012, 01:12 PM
Not sure I understand. In both cases, the user had to slide a finger across the screen, just like using a physical slide switch.


The neonode was a slide over touch sensitive sensors that were offscreen. Am I wrong about this? All I saw was the youtube video from about 2007 (2 years after the debut of the neonode).

Oletros
Jul 5, 2012, 01:12 PM
You didn't understand. Unlocking the phone by sliding your finger over a picture of a slider is look and feel. Flipping through photos and expanding fingers to zoom is look and feel. You are saying the same thing.

No, this is not look and feel


This is what software patents protect, no? Have you read the below link?

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2011/08/09/are-software-patents-evil/

Daniel Eran Dilger is not worth a bit

EnergonCube
Jul 5, 2012, 01:13 PM
Many food companies have spent billions on their recipes, but guess what, You cannot patent a food recipe.

Amazingly... These food companies still do amazingly well.

Software patents need to go, pure and simple. Frankly, many of these software patents are so broad, it would be like Nestlé patenting chocolate chip cookie recipes. That's how ludicrous software patents are. They need to go.

This is a misguided comparison. True, one cannot patent a recipe, but one CAN protect and keep that recipe a secret. It's why we see a generic "spices" on ingredient lists (because courts allow that secrecy) and it's why Coke's original recipe has never been accurately reproduced. Code on the other hand, cannot be kept secret. Software can be opened, decompiled, analyzed, and copied, etc.

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 01:13 PM
You didn't understand. Unlocking the phone by sliding your finger over a picture of a slider is look and feel. Flipping through photos and expanding fingers to zoom is look and feel. You are saying the same thing.

Shouldn't Apple be able to protect this look and feel? I think so. Apple thinks so. This is what software patents protect, no? Have you read the below link?


Apple neither came up with slide-to-unlock or pinch-to-zoom, so no, Apple should be able to protect those ideas and take them for themselves. They should be able to protect their implementation of the technology and the images they use to represent the various required graphical widgets through copyright and trademarks, but not the actual idea.

Oletros
Jul 5, 2012, 01:14 PM
Apple neither came up with slide-to-unlock or pinch-to-zoom, so no, Apple should be able to protect those ideas and take them for themselves. They should be able to protect their implementation of the technology and the images they use to represent the various required graphical widgets through copyright and trademarks, but not the actual idea.

Exactly

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 01:16 PM
This is a misguided comparison. True, one cannot patent a recipe, but one CAN protect and keep that recipe a secret. It's why we see a generic "spices" on ingredient lists (because courts allow that secrecy) and it's why Coke's original recipe has never been accurately reproduced. Code on the other hand, cannot be kept secret. Software can be opened, decompiled, analyzed, and copied, etc.

Code can very much be kept secret. You don't quite understand how optimizing compilers work if you think you can "decompile" a binary and obtain the source code from it. ;)

Even with symbols intact in the code, you'll hardly get what the programmer was actually working on from a decompiler.

Trying to "copy" by decompiling a binary and going from there for a programmer is a ludicrous endeavour. It's usually just easier to analyse the initial problem and implement a solution from scratch.

lkrupp
Jul 5, 2012, 01:29 PM
Posner for president ;)

This is ONE judge with an opinion. In a patent free tech world what would you say to Samsung if they produced an exact copy of the iPhone right down to a slightly modified Apple logo? Apple did not invent but ceratinly perfected the mobile OS touch UI and made it popular. And you say it's perfectly okay for other companies to simply sit back, wait for Apple to make something popular, and then rip it off totally? Really?

Rodimus Prime
Jul 5, 2012, 01:35 PM
Code can very much be kept secret. You don't quite understand how optimizing compilers work if you think you can "decompile" a binary and obtain the source code from it. ;)

Even with symbols intact in the code, you'll hardly get what the programmer was actually working on from a decompiler.

Trying to "copy" by decompiling a binary and going from there for a programmer is a ludicrous endeavour. It's usually just easier to analyse the initial problem and implement a solution from scratch.

hell even if it was not optimized and just was converted straight to the assembly/binary it would be near impossible to reverse it. It is nearly unreadable and unfollowable to humans.

All one has to do is try to read a basic assembly coded program to see how hard it is to follow.

kdarling
Jul 5, 2012, 01:37 PM
The neonode was a slide over touch sensitive sensors that were offscreen. Am I wrong about this? All I saw was the youtube video from about 2007 (2 years after the debut of the neonode).

You're right, the Neonode used IR sensors. However, the type of touchscreen doesn't matter, since the slide-to-unlock patent (http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220070150842%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20070150842&RS=DN/20070150842) was smartly written to apply to any type of touchscreen:

"A method of controlling an electronic device with a touch-sensitive display..."

Shouldn't Apple be able to protect this look and feel? I think so. Apple thinks so. This is what software patents protect, no? Have you read the below link?

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2011/08/09/are-software-patents-evil/

Roughly Drafted is always a mess; it's written for hits, not intelligence.

In this case, it's better to read some of the comments that follow the article, from developers who point out why many software patents are a problem.

blackhand1001
Jul 5, 2012, 01:40 PM
It's a tough issue, because there's arguments for both sides, but I think the decision has to be where it will benefit consumers and not hurt them. Since we're the ones buying these products.

The patent system is just a mess and needs some revamping. I'm on the fence. I can see positives and negatives on both maintaining and eliminating the need for software patents. As a developer it sucks that others just steal your inventions, but as a consumer it also sucks that these patents pose limitations for us.

As a developer if someone else makes their own code to perform the same tasks they are not stealing your innovations. Thats the problem with software patents. They patent an idea and not the execution of it. They are far too broad and limit the industry far too much.

Renzatic
Jul 5, 2012, 01:44 PM
Bzzt! Wrong! Remember Apple suing Microsoft over the look and feel of Macintosh and losing?

And have you ever read about why they lost? Apple wasn't the huge innovator that got blindsided by the cocky stealing upstart MS. There was issues with licensing, the fact some of the things they wanted to patent were unpatentable, and the very huge and most important fact that they tried patenting some things that didn't originate at Apple.

You have to think of Apple as they are, another player in a very large game, and not as you want them to be, the mavericks of the industry and sole creators of everything we know and love in technology.

----------

We have some pretty blatant trademark infringement right here in Quebec like that one. The thing is, will Disney really sue a restaurant called "Goofy", using Goofy as their mascot, when it's in a village with less than 2000 inhabitants (yes, really life example, they make awesome poutine too) ?

Same for your pizza example, that doesn't seem to be a mass-market game. Nintendo would probably still win a trademark infringement lawsuit if they became aware of the infringement.

Yeah, they would. I wish I could've found a better example to use, but I'm short on time at the mo.

I guess the best comparison would be all the Disney ripoffs you see after they release a movie. Like Aladdin. You had their version, and the direct to VHS version that was really damn similar, but not quite enough to land the ripoff studio in court.

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 01:47 PM
Daniel Eran Dilger? Really?

Daniel Eran Dilger is not worth a bit

Ad hominem. So much fun, you did it twice! :D

You're totally confusing patents and copyrights.

Patents give you the right to prevent others from using your invention.

Copyrights give you the sole rights to reproduce and distribute your creation.

I don't think you hit the actual distinction here. The primary distinction is the nature of the work being protected.

I despise Apple!

When developing the iPhone, Apple deliberately chose to ignore a bunch of standards essential patents held by Nokia. And they blatantly refused to pay royalties for licensing these patents under Frand (fair reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms - instead choosing to fight Nokia in the courts - until they of course lost spectacularly.

I don't think you understand what actually happened. Apple and Nokia tried to negotiate a royalty for the FRAND patents. They could not come to an agreement. Nokia sued Apple. They settled. There was no ignoring of patents or blatant refusal to pay or spectacular loss.

Apple neither came up with slide-to-unlock or pinch-to-zoom, so no, Apple should be able to protect those ideas and take them for themselves. They should be able to protect their implementation of the technology and the images they use to represent the various required graphical widgets through copyright and trademarks, but not the actual idea.

It really is silly to continue to discuss the validity of patents based on their title or summary instead of the actual patent claims. Most things seem simple and obvious when you go by the summary or title that attempts to make it easy to understand. Not speaking to you exclusively! :)

Apple didn't patent the general ability to "slide to unlock" or "pinch to zoom".

kdarling
Jul 5, 2012, 01:47 PM
This is ONE judge with an opinion.

He's also one of the most highly respected and cited jurists in America.

In a patent free tech world what would you say to Samsung if they produced an exact copy of the iPhone right down to a slightly modified Apple logo? Apple did not invent but ceratinly perfected the mobile OS touch UI and made it popular. And you say it's perfectly okay for other companies to simply sit back, wait for Apple to make something popular, and then rip it off totally? Really?

Everyone is only talking about software patents.

The design can still get a patent (although it'd be nice if minimalist shapes were excluded), the chips can be patented, the look of critical pieces can still be trademarked and copyrighted, the code still is copyrighted, the overall look and feel can get copyright or trade dress protection.

sransari
Jul 5, 2012, 01:48 PM
Hi Everyone,

As a former patent examiner at the US patent and trademark office (USPTO) and as a current patent agent by profession (who actually writes software patent applications for a living), I am always extremely interested in these types of stories and debates regarding software patents. I think there are MANY issues that we all need to consider here.

1.) What a patent actually IS.
2.) The patent process as a whole, and the current problems of the process.
3.) What software patents actually intend to protect.
4.) Why there are so many patents on seemingly obvious things, and the problems that they cause.

1.) OK. So to start, a patent allows an inventor, or inventors, a specific amount of time (20 years from the filing date of the patent application) in which they may prevent others from making and/or using their invention. Inventors can often assign their patent to another party. Often, this is done when an employee of a large company assigns their patents to their employer (because of an agreement since the invention occurred while working on a company project and the employer pays for the costs associated with receiving a patent). The patent holder or assignee may allow other parties to make and/or use the invention by charging royalties, licencing fees, etc.

2.) The patent process is extremely complex and takes literally years to complete from the time someone comes up with an invention to the time where a patent is actually issued. In short, to receive a patent, one must write a patent application, submit the application to the USPTO, and prosecute the application (respond to any rejections from the patent office, amend the application so that it is narrower, etc.). This USPTO has a major back-log of patents, but they are putting a pretty big dent in that backlog with aggressive hiring and increased production standards from their examiners. As of right now, it might take up to 36 months just to get a first response from the USPTO after someone files an application. To actually obtain a patent could take about 5 years and 10-20k in patent lawyer fees and USPTO fees. So the costs and time of obtaining a patent are very problematic for the little guy, but it's a necessary evil since patent law is so complex. Nonetheless, the UPSTO is trying to cut down on the time by reducing their backlog and encouraging expeditious resolution of patent applications.

3.) Software patents are intended to protect any software idea, whether broad or specific, that is considered non-obvious and new. Patent examiners at the USPTO perform an extensive search of related inventions or ideas that pertain to the claims of the patent application and will typically reject most patent applications on first review since applicants try to get the broadest patent as possible. Also, applicants (or their lawyers) will present tons of arguments as to why their invention deserves a patent. So in the case of the "slide to unlock", the USPTO determined that it was not obvious and it was new based on the merits of the claimed invention and any arguments made during prosecution.

4.) This leads me to why it seems as if there are so many patents for obvious inventions. Patent examiners are just people like you and me and often allow an application after arguing with the same lawyer for months or years about the same thing. Eventually, they give up and just allow the application, although they often stick to their guns and force the applicant to appeal their decision if they keep rejecting it. Usually an examiner only allows applications after the claims of the application have been amended to the point where they cover something so specific that it doesn't overlap with something already out there. That's how it should be done so that the claimed invention is clearly distinguishable over what is already out there...but I have known examiners that are just bad...they allow stuff without even searching what is already out there, and that causes the crap we see here. But of course it isn't all the examiners fault for allowing bad apps...companies pay big money to pursue patents and wear down examiners on things like the shape of a rectangle (which apple has used to get injunctions on samsung) because if they get that injunction which holds up for a month, that's a good chunk of change of people buying ipads instead of g-tabs. The examiners don't mind because every time they respond to arguments made by an applicant, they get money and they get money when they eventually allow the application.

Once a patent is actually issued, the courts HAVE to respect it, even if it seems like a silly patent which is way too broad and obvious...so in short, big companies pay big money to pursue broad patents and the USPTO kind of looks the other way/gives up on arguing rejections since they have a huuuge backlog, and one of the ways to get rid of applications is to allow them. Also, they are collecting TONS of fees for these software patent applications (in fact the USPTO is a cash cow and is the only government agency that actually makes money, and a LOT of it).

There are many software patents out there that protect good ideas so that real innovators can reap the benefits of their labor and ideas, but the system isn't perfect and you're going to have some problems when silly things are patented just to get an injunction on selling products to stifle competition.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 01:48 PM
Bzzt! Wrong! Remember Apple suing Microsoft over the look and feel of Macintosh and losing?

Wasn't this due to Apple licensing to Microsoft? link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Computer%2C_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corporation)

EnergonCube
Jul 5, 2012, 01:54 PM
Code can very much be kept secret. You don't quite understand how optimizing compilers work if you think you can "decompile" a binary and obtain the source code from it. ;)

Guilty as charged. Thanks for clarifying. :o

Mad-B-One
Jul 5, 2012, 02:00 PM
...can I have it, please? Description:

A program that puts out on a) a prompt or b) a message box or c) any other output device the words "Hello" and "World" or any combination of them including but not limited to an exclamation mark.


Boy, if I get this, I can sue every school and university offering programming classes, not to mention printers printing programing language manuals etc.

I think they should change software patents to copyright protection of code. Otherwise, you won't have much innovation anymore because smaller companies will have no chance writing any software without cashing out to all kinds of patentholders first.

TsunamiTheClown
Jul 5, 2012, 02:07 PM
Once a patent is actually issued, the courts HAVE to respect it, even if it seems like a silly patent which is way too broad and obvious...


Thanks for the post. And yeah what aroused my attention was this ^ fact. Of course there seem like loads of questionable patents, but they still have legal weight.

Changes need to be made at a systemic level, not merely a Judicial one.

sransari
Jul 5, 2012, 02:12 PM
...

I think they should change software patents to copyright protection of code. Otherwise, you won't have much innovation anymore because smaller companies will have no chance writing any software without cashing out to all kinds of

patentholders first.

Thing is that if you have a general concept that you have implemented, copy-writing only your specific code isn't enough...people could take your idea and make their own code. So for a truly novel concept, you need patents. The other thing is that while the front of a patent might seem obvious (virtual keyboard, etc), there might be something underneath that describes HOW it is done which is considered novel.

applesith
Jul 5, 2012, 02:14 PM
He did address the case in his court though in how it relates to current law, last week. He's now just giving his opinion on patents in general, as he's allowed to do as a citizen of the United States.

I never criticized is right to give an opinion. So you can calm down. I misunderstood the statement as being delivered during the suit.

sransari
Jul 5, 2012, 02:17 PM
You could not be more wrong. Recipes are protected. That's why Burger King and jack in the box had to wait 20 years to come out with a sandwich similar to the Big Mac. The same goes for the egg mcmuffin. Cookie companies have recipes and procedures that make their cookies taste different. They are protected for 20 years before copy cats come. These companies search the patent listings to get a head start on any leaked information to use their own tech against them. I still think it is sad that the real AT&T no longer exists because they were run out of business with their own product. One that no one would have otherwise. The creates so many advances over the years and know that will be silent. The current AT&T is really MCI they just own the name.

Actually recipes CAN be patented, but it's extremely difficult to do so and it doesn't really do any good to patent a recipe. If my recipe calls for 1/4 tsp of salt, i can put 1/4.00000000001 and get away with it. Also, a patent is a very SPECIFIC disclosure of how to make and use your invention...if you patent your recipe, grandma can make it at home and nobody is gonna bust her.

Thats why coke will never patent their product. It is much more valuable as a trade secret. And the comparison between coke and software patents is ridiculous. Two completely separate industries.

alexgowers
Jul 5, 2012, 02:19 PM
Patents are only designed to avoid having innovation stolen or ripped off as R&D costs money and there should be fair time to release that product to market before others can copy them.

It's not really fair for a patent to cover only a single feature of a phone that covers thousands of features.

I can understand why companies like apple want idea protection but it should be limited to the whole product as an idea.

A drug is an idea and has few constituent parts.

What I think apple actually need is protection against look and feel etc not patents.

Patents are to inspire and lubricate the wheels of product development, in mobile software there are no innovations left only different ways of doing the same thing.

The slide to unlock this is stupid, of course the only real solution to a touch screen lock is a hardkey or gesture.

So just get on with it make better products with better software and media integration and let the customer decide.

pubwvj
Jul 5, 2012, 02:32 PM
Yes! I've been saying this for decades, as have many other people. Software should not be patented. Same goes for life but for different reasons. Frankly, most of the patents being granted should not be granted and most of the existing patents should be invalidated. Additionally patent trolls should be killed. Only actual user creators of patents for a very limited number of things for a very limited time should be allowed to sue and only if they're actively doing something with the patent in the industry and reacting quickly to other use. Patents should be limited to very short periods. User it or lose it.

Swift
Jul 5, 2012, 02:36 PM
I can't defend all software patents, but they should be available. Sorry. How much innovation comes from freeware? The great majority of it is either imitative or deeply nerdy, unreachable for the average user.

And it's one thing for a penniless programmer to use open source, but note, they're penniless programmers.

People do deserve to be compensated for their creations.

And the very idea that a massive corporation like Google is a champion of "open source" is a lie. They are in favor of open sourcing your software. The core google moneymakers are zipped up as tight as a maiden aunt.

----------

...can I have it, please? Description:

A program that puts out on a) a prompt or b) a message box or c) any other output device the words "Hello" and "World" or any combination of them including but not limited to an exclamation mark.


Boy, if I get this, I can sue every school and university offering programming classes, not to mention printers printing programing language manuals etc.

I think they should change software patents to copyright protection of code. Otherwise, you won't have much innovation anymore because smaller companies will have no chance writing any software without cashing out to all kinds of patentholders first.

You won't get that patent in a million years. You underestimate the difficulty of getting a patent.

wallysb01
Jul 5, 2012, 02:47 PM
Actually, a gene connected to breast cancer was patented with a broad scope (BRCA1 and 2).


No, the method of testing for these genes was patented. Just patenting a gene should obviously be meaningless. I have the gene, you have the gene, we just have different alleles that sometimes need testing for. So, the specific method of testing for those alleles should be patentable. However, the general idea of testing for a specific genetic allele should not be patentable.

That's the same as here, were "slide to unlock" shouldn't be patentable, but the actual code you wrote to make that function work should be protected.

----------

Big Pharma is a bad example. They frequently patent medicines that were developed using tax dollars. If they accept tax dollars for the research I think they should not be able to patent that medication.

At the risk of going off topic, we can even build from that point that Big Pharma benefits from decades of not-for-profit academic work funded from tax dollars. What would big pharma be today without, for example, the human genome project? The same principle applies to the computing industry. So, we should be careful to call some marginal improvement in a product or an idea patentable. We all stand of the shoulders of giants...

GorgonPhone
Jul 5, 2012, 03:13 PM
that judge sounds old and senile..:rolleyes:

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 03:18 PM
No, the method of testing for these genes was patented. Just patenting a gene should obviously be meaningless. I have the gene, you have the gene, we just have different alleles that sometimes need testing for. So, the specific method of testing for those alleles should be patentable. However, the general idea of testing for a specific genetic allele should not be patentable.

That's the same as here, were "slide to unlock" shouldn't be patentable, but the actual code you wrote to make that function work should be protected.

Yes, I was being loose with what exactly was patented and assumed that we would all understand what exactly was patented (i.e. they don't own the gene and can extract payments from everyone who has the gene as that would be absurd).

I was not referencing the slide to unlock patent with the BRCA one. I was merely addressing the statement with respect to cancer and how yes, we can have patents with broad scope in any field.

Mad-B-One
Jul 5, 2012, 03:22 PM
You won't get that patent in a million years. You underestimate the difficulty of getting a patent.

For you who do noes get my post: That was Sarcasm:

sar·casm (särkzm)
n.
1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
2. A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
3. The use of sarcasm. See Synonyms at wit.

How much innovation comes from freeware?

Hmmm. Let me think: I like tabbed browsing - first in Firefox, I believe. I like Unix-Based systems, driven mainly by Linux - which is free, and I think there are a lot of hobby programers out there who would violently contradict you and tell you they indeed innovate.

Bezetos
Jul 5, 2012, 03:30 PM
Lets go with your idea. Now you spent $500,000 of your own money constructing, designing, engineering to actually build that car that hovers 2 feet above the ground. Now someone else wants to be in the flying car business and takes all of your designs, hardwork and just tosses out some weight or makes a slight modification so it now can hover 2.3'. He spent nothing on R&D and now can trump your idea and rode off your $500,000 coat tails. You are now broke since no one will buy your flying car that looks the same and hovers only 2'. That's acceptable?

This is complete nonsense. The other company needs to spend that money to research how to build that hypothetical car. They do it their way and just happen to build the same thing (they don't construct it in the same way though).

Under the patent system, the idea could be advanced by that second party if party #1 licenses the product to that other party. Or if the original owner wants to sit on it, a new company can come up with another concept/design that is uniquely different or go about it in a different way to be patented. Again, if the ideas are basic and vague, this doesn't work.

The other side is looking at many of these patent cases with hindsight 20/20 vision. In todays landscape these things seem highly obvious. However, if you look back at when some of these patent applications were granted the ability to fathom the concepts for allot of these things were unheard of.Bullocks. A search that aggregates results from different sources? Swipe the screen to unlock? How unheard of.

Look at some of Apple recent ideas that have been recently or applied for. I don't see the same calling for end of the patent process when those ideas are posted. Why? No one thought of them before and we deem the concept cool and novel. Not every Apple patent is obvious alas many of them are.

----------

Well, I would start by saying that I think you would be pissed if someone did that to you. Again, that's just my assumption. But, if you came up with that awesome idea, and actually made it work to boot. While some other company comes up after you and does the same thing, but improves on it. You should have every right to sue (if you so choose too).No.
You don't get what I'm saying. You shouldn't be allowed to patent ideas, especially vague concepts, but executions of ideas.


Its not stopping innovation, its stopping theft. Innovation comes from doing things differently. Finding another way, developing something new.
The problem is, the patents are so vague that you can't do some things differently. The swipe to unlock patent? Covers every gesture you make on the phone's screen. So it doesn't matter what genius idea you come up with, if it involves moving a finger on the screen Apple will hit you with their patent hammer.

ScottishDuck
Jul 5, 2012, 03:36 PM
Patents allow legal monopolies.

End them.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 03:42 PM
Patents allow legal monopolies.

End them.

Mind explaining this line of thought in more detail?

Unggoy Murderer
Jul 5, 2012, 03:50 PM
I'm not sure how much I fully understand how patents work, but... if there was no patents on Software at all, wouldn't it be the case where "everyone copies the best (or one that works)"? In such a world, I can see lots of iOS copies, consumer confusion and only one party actually innovating.

I wouldn't want to work in such a world.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 03:53 PM
I'm not sure how much I fully understand how patents work, but... if there was no patents on Software at all, wouldn't it be the case where "everyone copies the best (or one that works)"? In such a world, I can see lots of iOS copies, consumer confusion and only one party actually innovating.

I wouldn't want to work in such a world.

Honestly, I'd read up more on this issue outside of this forum if I were you. Wikipedia would be a good place to start. Any information you'd get from here is going to be partisan and probably not the best place to learn about the issue.

Unggoy Murderer
Jul 5, 2012, 03:56 PM
Honestly, I'd read up more on this issue outside of this forum if I were you. Wikipedia would be a good place to start. Any information you'd get from here is going to be partisan and probably not the best place to learn about the issue.
Will do, thanks =]

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 04:00 PM
The problem is, the patents are so vague that you can't do some things differently. The swipe to unlock patent? Covers every gesture you make on the phone's screen. So it doesn't matter what genius idea you come up with, if it involves moving a finger on the screen Apple will hit you with their patent hammer.

Again, discussing the validity of a patent based on its summary or title isn't very productive. You have to read the specific patent claims. Apple didn't patent simply using a gesture to unlock a mobile device.

http://www.google.com/patents/US8046721

Rodimus Prime
Jul 5, 2012, 04:04 PM
Again, discussing the validity of a patent based on its summary or title isn't very productive. You have to read the specific patent claims. Apple didn't patent simply using a gesture to unlock a mobile device.

http://www.google.com/patents/US8046721

But it has been declared to be invalid in a few courts and it is a great example of the many crapents Apple is using and why Apple is now the worlds largest patent troll.

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 04:15 PM
But it has been declared to be invalid in a few courts and it is a great example of the many crapents Apple is using and why Apple is now the worlds largest patent troll.

I'm shocked to find out your opinion of Apple with respect to this topic. :D

I'm aware of most of the decisions around this patent. I don't care if it's invalid or not. I just think its more productive to discuss the actual patent claims instead of made up ones.

manu chao
Jul 5, 2012, 04:22 PM
They are killing progression in most software markets. The worst part is most people don't even know a patent exists until after they spend millions on development only to have it blocked in the end.

I can understand broad software ideas, but to put a patent on a sliding button, multi-touch etc.. is just too far reaching and only large companies can afford the patent attorneys.

Given how fast innovation is in the computing industry (compared to develop and bringing a new drug to market), maybe software patents should just come with a much shorter protection period. Give that slide to unlock a two-year protection. But give something like a new video-encoding algorithm a five-year protection.

The Man
Jul 5, 2012, 04:23 PM
This is not for one judge to call, if software patents are necessary or not.

His judgement causes unfair competition. Why? Because Apple pays many patent trolls money for use of certain software patents. Apple also probably pays big companies like Nokia, IBM, etc. for software patents. It would be all good if everybody doesn't have to pay for software patents. But that's not the case. It's made all very selective if a judge isn't looking to see if a patent is valid under the laws, but just dismisses a whole case because he feels these are not necessary.

Also, patent law is different in many countries. Some countries don't have software patents. But the US does. And until the law changes, judges have to look at things fairly under the law.

There is also a fine line where software and hardware interconnect to do certain functionality. Gestures etc. are nothing without the underlying hardware and sensor designs. But gestures also carry very specific algorithms, ways, of detection. What is patentable in this whole system and what not?

wallysb01
Jul 5, 2012, 04:28 PM
Yes, I was being loose with what exactly was patented and assumed that we would all understand what exactly was patented (i.e. they don't own the gene and can extract payments from everyone who has the gene as that would be absurd).

I was not referencing the slide to unlock patent with the BRCA one. I was merely addressing the statement with respect to cancer and how yes, we can have patents with broad scope in any field.

Sure, sure, I just wanted to make the clarification because it is a common misconception that because some company finds something or other out about a gene that they can patent it.

manu chao
Jul 5, 2012, 04:30 PM
Code can very much be kept secret. You don't quite understand how optimizing compilers work if you think you can "decompile" a binary and obtain the source code from it. ;)

Even with symbols intact in the code, you'll hardly get what the programmer was actually working on from a decompiler.

Trying to "copy" by decompiling a binary and going from there for a programmer is a ludicrous endeavour. It's usually just easier to analyse the initial problem and implement a solution from scratch.
Software patents span a very wide range. Keeping that slide-to-unlock feature secret is obviously impossible. Keeping a video-compressing algorithm secret if it is distributed to hundreds of licensees is also difficult. And deducting the general principles of the compression from binary code (and its output) is likely also possible (but then one might ask whether the general principles should patentable).

If you look at communication protocols between lenses and cameras, reverse-engineering them is not too difficult (though one will not be able see unactivated features which require adaption when they do get activated, one reason why Sigma lenses occasionally need firmware updates to keep up with newest cameras).

wallysb01
Jul 5, 2012, 04:34 PM
Again, discussing the validity of a patent based on its summary or title isn't very productive. You have to read the specific patent claims. Apple didn't patent simply using a gesture to unlock a mobile device.

http://www.google.com/patents/US8046721

So, touching a touch screen in a way to move an on-screen graphic to unlock it? Maybe I should patent the shape of my hair style....honestly....This could be applied to any method to unlock a touch screen devise using the touch screen.

Rodimus Prime
Jul 5, 2012, 04:36 PM
Software patents span a very wide range. Keeping that slide-to-unlock feature secret is obviously impossible. Keeping a video-compressing algorithm secret if it is distributed to hundreds of licensees is also difficult. And deducting the general principles of the compression from binary code (and its output) is likely also possible (but then one might ask whether the general principles should patentable).

If you look at communication protocols between lenses and cameras, reverse-engineering them is not too difficult (though one will not be able see unactivated features which require adaption when they do get activated, one reason why Sigma lenses occasionally need firmware updates to keep up with newest cameras).


That is not figuring out and getting the code.
Btw Reverse engineering is legal and done all the time.

I suggest you go look up how engineering is and the standard set of rules engineers play by.

Give an engineer a problem the first thing he will ask himself in trying to solve the problem is "Is there anything out there that already does something like this and if so can that solution be adapted to solve the current problem?" Which means do not go and reinvent the wheel every time. A good engineer is going to look at what is out there and see if how they can improve on it or adjust it to work with their current problem.

Also in your cast all they can grab is the infomatino sent in between. That do not get the guts of the code or how it works. Plus you have to look at it in time and money.

By your logic I should be able to figure out ColaCola formula. I have the product and I can figure out its chemical break down.

manu chao
Jul 5, 2012, 04:36 PM
This is ONE judge with an opinion. In a patent free tech world what would you say to Samsung if they produced an exact copy of the iPhone right down to a slightly modified Apple logo? Apple did not invent but ceratinly perfected the mobile OS touch UI and made it popular. And you say it's perfectly okay for other companies to simply sit back, wait for Apple to make something popular, and then rip it off totally? Really?
The reason why some people would be fine with that is because they would prefer that outcome (despite all its obvious drawbacks) to the current situation with huge legal costs (and the potential crushing of small companies who cannot afford legal protection against a big company).

It is called radical thinking or throwing out the baby with the bathwater, depending on which side you stand. I mostly think it is capitulating in the face of a highly complex problem. Or as others have said: "Every complex problem has a simple, wrong solution."

fpsBeaTt
Jul 5, 2012, 04:37 PM
To people supporting the judge's opinion on this matter, think of what this means if you take it to its logical conclusion.

Oletros
Jul 5, 2012, 04:39 PM
To people supporting the judge's opinion on this matter, think of what this means if you take it to its logical conclusion.

That software has to be protected via copyright, design patents and trade secret?

BaldiMac
Jul 5, 2012, 04:49 PM
So, touching a touch screen in a way to move an on-screen graphic to unlock it?

That's part of claim 1! :)

Maybe I should patent the shape of my hair style....honestly....This could be applied to any method to unlock a touch screen devise using the touch screen.

And then we are back to nonsense. :(

Android's Gesture Unlock or a passcode unlock would be obvious counterexamples.

manu chao
Jul 5, 2012, 04:50 PM
That is not figuring out and getting the code.
Btw Reverse engineering is legal and done all the time.

By your logic I should be able to figure out ColaCola formula. I have the product and I can figure out its chemical break down.
My point was that software patents can be about other things than the actual code implemented. And reverse engineering is not legal in all circumstances, reverse-engineering digital copyright protection code is illegal.

rendevouspoo
Jul 5, 2012, 04:54 PM
In such a world, I can see lots of iOS copies

JellyBean would like to have a talk with you.

gnasher729
Jul 5, 2012, 04:54 PM
I'm not sure how much I fully understand how patents work, but... if there was no patents on Software at all, wouldn't it be the case where "everyone copies the best (or one that works)"? In such a world, I can see lots of iOS copies, consumer confusion and only one party actually innovating.

I wouldn't want to work in such a world.

You actually do completely and fully _not_ understand how patents work. There is copyright protection, which protects among other things books, music, videos, and software, from unauthorized copying. Harry Potter isn't patented, right? Copyright prevents you from copying what I do. Patents prevent you from doing the same things that I have patented, even if you never heard of that patent. It's like me planting a plum tree in my garden and harvesting plums - copyright prevents you from harvesting _my_ plums from _my_ plum tree. Patents prevent you from planting your own plum tree in your own garden.


By your logic I should be able to figure out ColaCola formula. I have the product and I can figure out its chemical break down.

1. The Coca Cola formula is a trade secret. You are not allowed to reverse engineer trade secrets.

2. I would be 100% sure that Pepsi can create a drink that tastes 100% identical to Coca Cola, without having the Coca Cola formula. However, people who prefer the Pepsi taste would be very annoyed if Pepsi changed their recipe, and people who prefer the Coca Cola taste wouldn't buy it from Pepsi.


Thing is that if you have a general concept that you have implemented, copy-writing only your specific code isn't enough...people could take your idea and make their own code. So for a truly novel concept, you need patents. The other thing is that while the front of a patent might seem obvious (virtual keyboard, etc), there might be something underneath that describes HOW it is done which is considered novel.

And what you want to be patented is not supposed to be patentable. Ideas cannot be patented. Your particular method to achieve the idea is patentable (if it is novel and non-obvious), but anybody is free to take your idea, and achieve it in a different way. Anyway, ideas are ten a penny. Everyone has ideas. Taking an idea and turning it into a a working product, that is the hard part.

kdarling
Jul 5, 2012, 04:58 PM
Again, discussing the validity of a patent based on its summary or title isn't very productive. You have to read the specific patent claims. Apple didn't patent simply using a gesture to unlock a mobile device.

http://www.google.com/patents/US8046721

First off, Apple patented something that we longtime touch developers considered obvious: adding a visual cue to slide-to-unlock. Several judges worldwide have since agreed on the obviousness.

Second, they didn't reference a lot of prior patents that they could've.

Third, they kept adding ONTO the original patent using a practice called "double patenting", where the patent applicant continues a previous patent in order to take advantage of the earlier priority date so they can sue others.

Read this patent analysis (http://www.m-cam.com/sites/www.m-cam.com/files/20111028%20-%20Apple%20Slide.pdf)by M-CAM, which goes into details on the rejections that Apple kept trying to overcome, and how they eventually wore down the examiner.

Here's the original application (http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220070150842%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20070150842&RS=DN/20070150842).

Here's the first Patent: 7,657,849 (http://www.google.com/patents/US7657849), which is still only about using a predefined path.

Here's the double dipping continuation filed in 2009: 8,046,721 (http://www.google.com/patents/US8046721)which adds on less strict ways of unlocking that might be familiar to Android users.

wallysb01
Jul 5, 2012, 05:08 PM
And then we are back to nonsense. :(

Android's Gesture Unlock or a passcode unlock would be obvious counterexamples.

Unfortunately not. You're still manipulating an on screen element. Apple's patent doesn't limit the feature to actually moving some on-screen element. I'm wondering if you read your own link...

KnightWRX
Jul 5, 2012, 05:35 PM
Once a patent is actually issued, the courts HAVE to respect it, even if it seems like a silly patent which is way too broad and obvious...

Hum... and I guess we've just been imagining all the patents getting invalidated by courts over obviousness and prior art ? :rolleyes:

Mind explaning what you mean here in the context that the courts HAVE invalidated patents, so in no way does it seem they HAVE to respect them as you put it ?

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I can't defend all software patents, but they should be available. Sorry. How much innovation comes from freeware?

Wait, where do you get that software that isn't patented must be freeware ? :confused:

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1. The Coca Cola formula is a trade secret. You are not allowed to reverse engineer trade secrets.

Uh ? Sure you are. There's actually no formal protection for trade secrets, they are protected by the fact that they are secret. Once the secret is out, the only thing you can do as a company is sue whoever was under NDA or contract to not disclose the secret and did, and you can only sue them for Breach of Contract.

Once the secret is out, either through reverse engineering or information leaks, it's out, it's not a secret anymore.

cliffbdf
Jul 5, 2012, 05:43 PM
Is it just me or is this judge straying into Judicial Activism with this kind of pontificating?

I mean the question at hand was not "Are intellectual patents a good idea in this industry or not?", but more like "Is this particular patent being infringed upon?".

If we do away with Intellectual Property Patents i think we can agree that the motivation for innovation will be greatly hindered.

It is only judicial activism if the judge acts on his personal feelings. He was giving his opinion in an interview. That is allowed. Judges can have personal opinions.

But more importantly, it is possible that it is not Constitutionally permissible for companies to own patents. The Constitution provides protections for _people_ (as in "We the People..."), and specifically with regard to patents, it says,

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries"

Note that it says "Authors and Inventors". It does _not_ say "companies that employ authors and inventors". To assume that companies can own patents is an extrapolation, and a big one in my opinion: if the authors of the Constitution had intended for these rights to apply to companies, they would have said so.

Based on the wording of the Constitution, I do not believe that they intended for anyone/anything other than individuals to own patents or copyrights; and patents and copyrights should not be transferable either, because the Constitution does not say that they are. They are not "property". The term "intellectual property" is a misnomer, and it is not what was intended by the authors of the Constitution.

NAG
Jul 5, 2012, 06:05 PM
Well the whole companies are people thing started a long time ago, unfortunately. Doubt that will be reversed any time soon.

What will be hysterical is if when we finally create an artificial intelligence if we decide to deny it rights as it isn't organic or a company.

JohnDoe98
Jul 5, 2012, 06:15 PM
The term "intellectual property" is a misnomer, and it is not what was intended by the authors of the Constitution.

No only that, their conception of "limited terms" was incredibly different than ours. Take a look at the history of the terms of copyrights in the US, it'll blow your mind. At this rate the limited terms will end up extended into perpetuity virtually making them unlimited. So much for the health of the public domain and the progress and innovations of the arts and science.

Copyright Act of 1790 - established U.S. copyright with term of 14 years with 14-year renewal

Copyright Act of 1831 - extended the term to 28 years with 14-year renewal

Copyright Act of 1909 - extended term to 28 years with 28-year renewal

Copyright Act of 1976 - extended term to either 75 years or life of author plus 50 years

Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 - extended terms to 95/120 years or life plus 70 years