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Old Jul 5, 2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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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 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.
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."
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.




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 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 and a UK court 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
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 10:54 AM   #2
Consultant
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He needs to read: Are software patents evil?
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2011/0...-patents-evil/
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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Agree 100%
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:00 AM   #4
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At last someone speaking some sense.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:01 AM   #5
BMNB1tch
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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
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missile defense systems
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drones flying over the usa
machines that go Ping!
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:02 AM   #6
SimonTheSoundMa
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He's speaking sense. However, all it will mean is Apple will go to another state with a sympathetic judge next time around.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:03 AM   #7
highlnd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMNB1tch View Post
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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonTheSoundMa View Post
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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:07 AM   #10
dennno
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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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:08 AM   #11
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Posner for president
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TsunamiTheClown View Post
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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TsunamiTheClown View Post
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'?
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TsunamiTheClown View Post
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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rendevouspoo View Post
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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMNB1tch View Post
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".....!!
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:15 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by leman View Post
Posner for clown
Fixed. You welcome.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TsunamiTheClown View Post
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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:18 AM   #19
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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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMNB1tch View Post
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?
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:19 AM   #21
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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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:19 AM   #22
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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).
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:19 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:20 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semitry View Post
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.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 11:21 AM   #25
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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.
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