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Old Nov 7, 2012, 11:36 PM   #101
Ramchi
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Originally Posted by Radiating View Post
The patent system in the world is simply broken.

Right now you can come up with a random idea without a working prototype submit a patent application for a couple of dollars, and then 10 years later sue a major company for a billion dollars without doing anything.

New patent rule: You can only recover up to 50 times your development costs on a patent, after that it's free.

Invest $100k, you can expect 5 million. Invest $0.50 you can expect $25.
Please tell that to Apple which is trying to charge $30-$40 for UI design.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 01:37 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by theSeb View Post
...How are they good? Imagine if someone could patent a for loop or a quick sort? Sorry, but the idea is ridiculous and if you actually read through some software related patents, you will see that what people are allowed to patent is asinine. Most patents are so broadly worded that you cannot write software with functionality beyond a fart app without infringing on some patents that you've never heard of. Are you stealing someone's idea? No...
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Originally Posted by KnightWRX View Post
Software is protected by Copyright and for some parts, Trademarks (logos, names, etc..).

Patents on software are an aberration and shouldn't exist, software is already protected to provide the incentive to make it.
If I invest the time to work out a new sorting algorithm, through much subtlty, etc., then this is a method that is not attached to specific code, and couldn't be protected under copyright. If the process of working out how my new algorithm worked took me a year to do, but as soon as I publish any software that incorporates it it would be possible for a competitor to reverse engineer the process and produce a competitive product for a fraction of the development cost, what should I do? Should I eat the year of my time that I had to spend to develop this algorithm, so that I can be competitive with other products that will steal my new algorithm? Even then, these competitors will make more money off the algorithm than I will because the cost of that year is real and tangible.

This is where a process patent for software comes in and is, at least in some cases, a reasonable thing. But, again, the length of protection in the software arena is certainly too long.

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Originally Posted by ElRojito View Post
How is it infringement if the Engineers at Apple didn't even know about this po-dunk company (just like the rest of us have never heard of them) and figured this technology out on their own? Seems to me like they accidentally stumbled upno the same, easy answer that this other company did. Doesn't sound like infringement to me. I am ok with awarding money, but halting FaceTime is over the top.
Well, here you get into some sticky territory. The fact is that the same argument can be made in any other field where two people might come up with the same answer without ever knowing that the other was working on the problem. The way patent law has always worked is that it is a matter of first come, first served, right or wrong.

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Originally Posted by KnightWRX View Post
That's precisely the reason everyone says Patents are broken when relating to software, whether it's Apple's software patents or anyone else's software patents.

Because it is infringement even if you didn't know of the other's patents. Patent infringement is not about copying, it's not about theft, it's simply about coming up with the same solution as what the other guy patented.
So, really you're arguing that this is an issue with all patents, not just software patents. Yes? So, if you can prove that you came up with the same solution in TOTAL ISOLATION from the patent holder's ideas, then you should be allowed to be in a state of "allowed violation", or something like that? Of course, the real problem here would be proving total isolation from the patented idea.

Look, I don't disagree that there are problems with the patent system, and maybe simply eliminating software patents would be enough of a reform. I would tend to agree with an earlier posting that similar standards should be applied to patents as to trademarks. Failure to defend your patents is ground for termination of the patent. Also, shortening the term for software patents to something like two years would also improve things. And I'm sure that we could come up with a nice long list of further improvements, many of which would likely apply across the board to all patent fields. The idea that the jury in a patent court case should always be made up of relevant specialists.

But, the point is that the system does serve a purpose, even if it needs some renovations, right now. So, let's not through out the baby with the bath water, so to speak.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 04:52 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by ElRojito View Post
How is it infringement if the Engineers at Apple didn't even know about this po-dunk company (just like the rest of us have never heard of them) and figured this technology out on their own? Seems to me like they accidentally stumbled upno the same, easy answer that this other company did. Doesn't sound like infringement to me. I am ok with awarding money, but halting FaceTime is over the top.
so by your qoute Apple can infringe on other but not the other way around

As Corpral Jones us to say 'They don't like it up erm'
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 05:46 AM   #104
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DNS is a system designed for looking up IP addresses for creating connections across a network; using it for that purpose is a given, and no company should ever have been issued a patent for doing something network connection related that happens to involve DNS, as systems that don't use DNS at some point are far more unusual.

So people saying that the patent system isn't broken, just take a look at how many patent disputes we've had lately where the novelty is that an existing technology has been applied to the internet, and was somehow granted a patent to reward the incredible level of raw, unbridled *genius* required to combine the two! The amount of such patents is staggering, and the fact that the US patent system rewards what is effectively a lack of creativity in favour of an abundance of money (most likely someone else's won from such cases) is a pretty damning scene to behold.

I'm absolutely not surprised that Apple lost the case, but there never should have been one in the first place, as nobody should be able to patent X technology plus DNS.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 06:00 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Snowy_River View Post
So, really you're arguing that this is an issue with all patents, not just software patents. Yes?
No, I'm arguing that it's even more prevalent in software. Most "new algorithms" are born of academia, not commercial endeavours, there's no profit in making break through algorithms since simply re-using what's out there gives you much less time to market.

Look at software patents in the industry, it's not new and clever compression/sorting (anyway, those aren't software inventions, they're math. Software is at its most basic, just a bunch of math problems). Software is special because there's only so many ways to solve the problems using math, and thus, usually, the first guy to be faced with a problem or customer requirement will come up with the "patentable" solution. The thing is, present the same problem/requirement to a dozen other programmers and they would probably all have come up with the same idea.

And that is why software patents are bad.

----------

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Originally Posted by haravikk View Post
I'm absolutely not surprised that Apple lost the case, but there never should have been one in the first place, as nobody should be able to patent X technology plus DNS.
It's a bit more involved than that.

http://www.google.com/patents/US6502135

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10. A system that transparently creates a virtual private network (VPN) between a client computer and a secure target computer, comprising:

a DNS proxy server that receives a request from the client computer to look up an IP address for a domain name, wherein the DNS proxy server returns the IP address for the requested domain name if it is determined that access to a non-secure web site has been requested, and wherein the DNS proxy server generates a request to create the VPN between the client computer and the secure target computer if it is determined that access to a secure web site has been requested; and
a gatekeeper computer that allocates resources for the VPN between the client computer and the secure web computer in response to the request by the DNS proxy server.
This is basically modifying a DNS server to act as a DNS server and a VPN initiator based not on receiving a request to establish a VPN but on a request for a IP lookup that is determined to be used for an eventual secure website connection.

There are no provisions in DNS to know what the requesting client wants to do with the information it looked up and frankly, DNS servers don't initiate squat usually. So you can't exactly set this up with just BIND and be in infringement, this requires a special software stack and some deeper analysis of the DNS queries that are received.

The entire patent is quite a bit to read and take in, often being vague, but I get that the general concept is quite interesting.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 06:36 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by Snowy_River View Post
If I invest the time to work out a new sorting algorithm, through much subtlty, etc., then this is a method that is not attached to specific code, and couldn't be protected under copyright.
An interesting point. Mind you, what might take a certain person a year to figure out, might take only weeks or minutes for someone else.

I'll give you a personal example. Back in the 70s I was writing graphics code in machine language. I needed a quick way to draw a line. I spent many weeks figuring out how, and eventually "discovered" a way. Then I bought a new graphics book and found out that all I had done, was "rediscover" the many years old Bresenham Algorithm.

That's one problem with software patents. As you said, I put a lot of work into creating a very subtle algorithm. But others could do the exact same thing with either much more or much less effort. Code solutions tend to converge towards a similarity (just made that up in place of singularity).

Btw, thank goodness software patents were basically unknown back then, or we'd have had almost no personal computers. Everyone depended on using everyone else's ideas at the time, especially Apple.

-- Patenting Ideas

Another problem with many software patents, most especially the ones that Apple likes to go for, is that they often do not detail any subtle process. They're written in very general terms, and basically patent an IDEA, which is normally unpatentable.

For example, their patent on searching multiple locations. Even a casual user can come up with that idea. "Hey, why can't this search box look at both my machine and the web?" Etc.

Now, Apple's patent is on using multiple software modules, one for each type of sub-search, to which the search is passed and results are passed back. Well, duh. It's just normal object oriented programming.

So their patent is a combination of the obvious and the well known. If you put ten developers in a room and gave them the problem, all or most of them would come up with the same idea.

Ditto for their patent on recognizing phone numbers etc in text. Although wrapped up in fancy language, it's nothing special or detailed. It's just the description of the idea.

-- Patenting Gestures

Apple continues to try to patent the obvious every day, because no one else was greedy enough to. One of the worst was their attempt to patent the idea of using two fingers to "rotate" a virtual knob on a multi-touch screen... an obvious gesture. Fortunately, the USPTO denied it as they should. But the sheer fact that Apple tried is worrisome, because it shows the depths to which they'll go, plus we've seen the USPTO grant some other similar and just as ridiculous gesture patent applications like using two fingers to scroll in a window.

As you noted, perhaps one solution is to stop allowing lay juries to decide patents. (The recent Patent Reform Act unfortunately still allows that, but it also adds the option of direct challenges via the USPTO.)

Interesting discussion. Regards.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 08:09 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by jessica. View Post
If you truly believe this then I totally hope you're not found in the threads discussing Apple suing Samsung cheering them on.

The patent system isn't designed to work in Apple's favor. If anyone thinks that then I can understand why they believe the system is broken.
It IS broken when X company steals Y company's products. Y takes X to court over this. And the dumb judge rules Y to publicly admit X didn't steal anything, when it's clear to everyone with a brain they did.

Yes I am referring to the Apple incident of the same nature. Well was that a parent dispute or another kind of dispute. I can't remember. All I know is I pity anyone who gets that judge. Cause that judge proved by own actions to be totally incompetent at the job.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 09:39 AM   #108
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It IS broken when X company steals Y company's products. Y takes X to court over this. And the dumb judge rules Y to publicly admit X didn't steal anything, when it's clear to everyone with a brain they did.

Yes I am referring to the Apple incident of the same nature. Well was that a parent dispute or another kind of dispute. I can't remember. All I know is I pity anyone who gets that judge. Cause that judge proved by own actions to be totally incompetent at the job.
I take it you mean the UK case? You got a few things wrong (everything, in fact).
  1. It wasn't a patent case, it was about a registered design
  2. Company Y (Apple) didn't take company X (Samsung) to court, Samsung brought the case to court
  3. According to the judge, Samsung didn't steal anything
  4. The only reason company Y (Apple) had to publish a statement was because they made public statements contrary to the judge's ruling

Last edited by reefoid; Nov 8, 2012 at 10:12 AM.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 09:48 AM   #109
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It IS broken when X company steals Y company's products. Y takes X to court over this. And the dumb judge rules Y to publicly admit X didn't steal anything, when it's clear to everyone with a brain they did.
Good that that doesn't have happened
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 10:32 AM   #110
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Why did SAIC get to own the IP in the first place, when it was tax dollars (via the CIA) that paid for it? If we all paid for it, we should all get to use it.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 11:20 AM   #111
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so by your qoute Apple can infringe on other but not the other way around

As Corpral Jones us to say 'They don't like it up erm'
RIP Clive Dunn

No, I'm saying that just because two companies find out how to do something the same way doesn't mean they're stealing ideas. Like I said, awarding money for the infringement is fine, but punishing customers because of it is silly.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 01:43 PM   #112
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No, I'm arguing that it's even more prevalent in software. Most "new algorithms" are born of academia, not commercial endeavours, there's no profit in making break through algorithms since simply re-using what's out there gives you much less time to market.

Look at software patents in the industry, it's not new and clever compression/sorting (anyway, those aren't software inventions, they're math. Software is at its most basic, just a bunch of math problems). Software is special because there's only so many ways to solve the problems using math, and thus, usually, the first guy to be faced with a problem or customer requirement will come up with the "patentable" solution. The thing is, present the same problem/requirement to a dozen other programmers and they would probably all have come up with the same idea.

And that is why software patents are bad.

Very interesting point.

However, I think that not everybody presents the problem/requirement to the programmers the same way. It could be said that Apple (as well as others) is very good at asking the right question for the programmers to solve. Their take on the problem is what makes them distinctive.

For example, both iOS and Windows 8 have "rows of icons". But they are implemented differently. Same question (and subsequent answer), but the approaches are distinct. I think that is why Apple, for example, often characterize themselves as artists (and have spent so much money "defending" their art, in their view at least).

Granted, I can say there is an awful lot of gray about this reasoning, but that is how this situation seems to me. Gray as hell, not enough info...
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 07:11 PM   #113
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For example, both iOS and Windows 8 have "rows of icons". But they are implemented differently. Same question (and subsequent answer), but the approaches are distinct. I think that is why Apple, for example, often characterize themselves as artists (and have spent so much money "defending" their art, in their view at least).

Granted, I can say there is an awful lot of gray about this reasoning, but that is how this situation seems to me. Gray as hell, not enough info...
My own issue with that reasoning would be that they stress on the small details, yet try to defend it on a much broader level. They want to draw imaginary borders around their product line and keep them as wide as possible (typed on my macbook pro). Look at one of their most recent patents. The dotted and shaded areas are not part of the claim as stated in the pdf. Then there was the NT-K case. It's fine to idevices. I just don't see why anyone would buy into the kool-aid that Apple is just defending themselves against "thieves".
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 11:08 AM   #114
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What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
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Exactly. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Goose/Gander and Live/Die by the Sword hardly "exactly". I love Apple. I certainly don't want them to die. I just feel that lawsuits can go both ways.

BTW, Apple's too big to "die" anyway.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 02:25 PM   #115
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Macrumours never ceases to amaze me

You guys think it's okay Apple can patent a rounded rectangle but this is somehow bad?
Trolls with straw man arguments never cease to amaze me.

Show me some "guys" here who think it's okay for Apple to patent a rounded rectangle.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 03:04 PM   #116
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Trolls with straw man arguments never cease to amaze me.

Show me some "guys" here who think it's okay for Apple to patent a rounded rectangle.
Your not shy are you?!
That post was from November 2012!
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 03:24 PM   #117
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So they got sued and the company still wants to keep it away from Apple? Wtf.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 03:29 PM   #118
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So they got sued and the company still wants to keep it away from Apple? Wtf.
Im not sure what part you dont understand!

Apple infringed their patent. VirnetX offered Apple a licence deal which Apple refused. VirnetX took Apple to court and won. Apple appealed and lost.

Im sure if Apple paid the $368 million and offered to pay to licence the technology, VirnetX would accept.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 03:30 PM   #119
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Im not sure what part you dont understand!

Apple infringed their patent. VirnetX offered Apple a licence deal which Apple refused. VirnetX took Apple to court and won. Apple appealed and lost.

Im sure if Apple paid the $368 million and offered to pay to licence the technology, VirnetX would accept.
Yeah... Apple must pay $368 million and still doesn't get to use the patent willingly.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 03:32 PM   #120
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Yeah... Apple must pay $368 million and still doesn't get to use the patent willingly.
No, because the infringed the patent and turned down previous offers from VirnetX to licence it.

The $368 is the damages that have been awarded. If Apple want to continue using it, then they will have to pay.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 03:34 PM   #121
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So they got sued and the company still wants to keep it away from Apple? Wtf.
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Im not sure what part you dont understand!
Um...perhaps if you ask the opposite question the answer will be shorter!!
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 03:41 PM   #122
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Um...perhaps if you ask the opposite question the answer will be shorter!!
I feel like you're stalking my posts....
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