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174 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 59350 2-Apr-2010 21:52 Send private message

Story here.

Does anyone else feel this is a giant step in the right direction for New Zealand?

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424 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 314284 2-Apr-2010 22:08 Send private message

Maybe yes, maybe no. I can see how you might want to patent an algorithm, say for voice compression, which cost you a million dollars in pay to maths Ph.D's. Then again, things like the whole Amazon.com one click patent thing is ludicrous (but that may not actually be a software patent).

245 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 314289 2-Apr-2010 22:16 Send private message

Given the size of the contracts between Microsoft and the Government for software licenses in education and the like, I don't see this surviving to become an actual Bill in the House.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 314313 2-Apr-2010 23:37 Send private message

Sensible approach, but yes we'll have to see if it survives the lobbyist attacks.

268 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 314315 2-Apr-2010 23:43 Send private message

timestyles: Maybe yes, maybe no. I can see how you might want to patent an algorithm, say for voice compression, which cost you a million dollars in pay to maths Ph.D's. Then again, things like the whole Amazon.com one click patent thing is ludicrous (but that may not actually be a software patent).


So if someone else pays a mathematician a million dollars to develop voice compression and it just happens to be strikingly similar in implementation - they shouldn't be able to profit from their invention, without paying licencing fees to the person who developed it first?

Bear in mind - no one copied anyone, these were two independent people coming up with the same algorithm.

Software patents are stupid, they hinder innovation and should never be allowed. Software is covered under the laws of copyright and that is all the legal protection it needs.


424 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 314502 3-Apr-2010 23:04 Send private message

friedCrumpet:
timestyles: Maybe yes, maybe no. I can see how you might want to patent an algorithm, say for voice compression, which cost you a million dollars in pay to maths Ph.D's. Then again, things like the whole Amazon.com one click patent thing is ludicrous (but that may not actually be a software patent).


So if someone else pays a mathematician a million dollars to develop voice compression and it just happens to be strikingly similar in implementation - they shouldn't be able to profit from their invention, without paying licencing fees to the person who developed it first?

Bear in mind - no one copied anyone, these were two independent people coming up with the same algorithm.

Software patents are stupid, they hinder innovation and should never be allowed. Software is covered under the laws of copyright and that is all the legal protection it needs.



When a company wants to develop a product, they should check patents to see if their design has already been patented.  If they see something which seems similar, they should design around the existing patent, so they can't be sued.  

But suppose someone develops a new algorithm, they want to protect their investment, and don't want people to just reverse engineer it then copy the design.   The algorithm wouldn't be safe under copyright.


268 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 314513 3-Apr-2010 23:26 Send private message

timestyles:
When a company wants to develop a product, they should check patents to see if their design has already been patented.  If they see something which seems similar, they should design around the existing patent, so they can't be sued.  

But suppose someone develops a new algorithm, they want to protect their investment, and don't want people to just reverse engineer it then copy the design.   The algorithm wouldn't be safe under copyright.



Do you develop software? Just how often should I be doing patent searches when I sit down and code something?  Nevermind the fact that sometimes there is only one good way to do something, and just because someone else thought of it first means I can't do the same thing?

Protecting your code from reverse engineering is under copyright law.  You will see it's a fairly standard clause in software licences that you are not allowed to reverse engineer the software.  Doing so and then using the algorithm in your own software would open you to litigation.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 314641 4-Apr-2010 11:19 Send private message

friedCrumpet:
timestyles:
When a company wants to develop a product, they should check patents to see if their design has already been patented.  If they see something which seems similar, they should design around the existing patent, so they can't be sued.  

But suppose someone develops a new algorithm, they want to protect their investment, and don't want people to just reverse engineer it then copy the design.   The algorithm wouldn't be safe under copyright.



Do you develop software? Just how often should I be doing patent searches when I sit down and code something?  Nevermind the fact that sometimes there is only one good way to do something, and just because someone else thought of it first means I can't do the same thing?



Pretty much, yes, companies should be doing patent searches.  Of course no one would bother if it's software you're not charging for, but every company who charges for any product of any significant value they develop should do a patent search.  Doing so also reduces the financial punishment in the case of actually being found to violate a patent.

If a company decides to not patent a new product, they should publish the design, doing so means that if another company decides to patent a very similar design, then they risk a lot by not publishing the design in a place that the patent examiner will find.  From what I have read, applying for a provisional patent is the cheapest way (although there are online websites that offer this service as well) to make sure that a patent examiner will find it. 


Protecting your code from reverse engineering is under copyright law.  You will see it's a fairly standard clause in software licences that you are not allowed to reverse engineer the software.  Doing so and then using the algorithm in your own software would open you to litigation.


If you look at software licenses from different countries, you'll see that some licenses don't include the reverse engineering part because it has been ruled invalid by courts in some countries.   Of course, you could just get company A to reverse engineer it in a country where the clause has been deemed invalid, and they send the information to company B in the country who want to develop it.

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 314857 5-Apr-2010 08:46 Send private message

timestyles:

Pretty much, yes, companies should be doing patent searches.  Of course no one would bother if it's software you're not charging for, but every company who charges for any product of any significant value they develop should do a patent search.  Doing so also reduces the financial punishment in the case of actually being found to violate a patent.


You didn't answer my question as to whether you develop software.  So I'm going to assume that you don't. 

Having to do patent searches is a massive burden on anyone who codes for a living.  From big businesses all the way down to independent developers.  The burden is also obviously greater the smaller the shop.  Do you really think solo developers working on their next great project have got the time or money to do these searches? Especially considering the frivolous nature of most software patents.  You would have to be constantly looking for even the slightly novel code.  And even code that is braindead obvious.  No one would get anything done.

Whether or not you charge for the software is irrelevant.  See all the patent FUD directed at linux for example.

Software patents only favour one entity: Large companies.  Only they have the resources to be doing these searches, and filing the patents on anything they think they can get away with.  They then use the patents to litigate against competitors, unless they too are a large company - in which case they usually do a backroom cross licensing deal so that they can't sue each other.

There is one other entity that is in favour of patents.  Shell "IP" companies that solely exist to aquire a patent (usually bought), then find as many people to sue or obtain licensing fees from as possible.  Usually small companies who can't afford a big legal battle.  But also occasionally larger companies.  For an example of the latter see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eolas. I don't have a reference for an example of the former but I do remember one.  A few years back a company obtained a patent for essentially switching currencies on your online shopping site.  They went around suing small webshops in an attempt to extort money out of them in the form of licensing fees.

Those two patents? In my opinion bleedingly obvious.  There is no good reason that they should have been granted, and yet patents like these get granted every day.  Software patents don't promote innovation, they hinder it.

245 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 41


  Reply # 314950 5-Apr-2010 14:12 Send private message

Doing a patent search to find out if your software violates a patent is generally not practical. It's not like a software patent describes a complete software program. Software patents can cover an algorithm that could be implemented using a single line of code. If a program has 100000 lines of code, just think how long it would take and how expensive it would be to check against all the patents.

833 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 9


  Reply # 315018 5-Apr-2010 16:53 Send private message

friedCrumpet:
timestyles: Maybe yes, maybe no. I can see how you might want to patent an algorithm, say for voice compression, which cost you a million dollars in pay to maths Ph.D's. Then again, things like the whole Amazon.com one click patent thing is ludicrous (but that may not actually be a software patent).


So if someone else pays a mathematician a million dollars to develop voice compression and it just happens to be strikingly similar in implementation - they shouldn't be able to profit from their invention, without paying licencing fees to the person who developed it first?

Bear in mind - no one copied anyone, these were two independent people coming up with the same algorithm.

Software patents are stupid, they hinder innovation and should never be allowed. Software is covered under the laws of copyright and that is all the legal protection it needs.

I have a math degree and I LOL at the idea of "a mathematician" being paid a MILLION dollars! if only... :D




Who I am: multi time Ironman finisher, University of Auckland graduate, Freelancer (mainly focused on website development, message me for work).

twitter.com/TersoIT

7777 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 315607 7-Apr-2010 01:40 Send private message


308 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  Reply # 320769 20-Apr-2010 17:21 Send private message

isn't the whole idea of a patent to protect a new a NOVEL approach to something.
Therefore if you apprach a compression issue from a completely new direction and achieve great results you have a NOVEL investion. please note completely new not iterative improvement.
If you decided that your website is going to ask people to click 3 times on an item to purchase it straight away without any check out then that is not a NOVEL approach it is just a different approach, to class the decision to click three times as NOVEL means that i should be able to patent the fact that if you touch me 3 times in a row i will punch you.




Any posts are personal comments and not that of my employer

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 320781 20-Apr-2010 18:11 Send private message

Here's how it works in the US in practice....

Bunch of lawyers get together with a few IT consultants and identify some obvious software/business methods used by big companies, they go an apply for patents for the ideas so they can later extract $$$ from said big companies.

In reality there's no way the US patent office can ever properly evaluate and investigate patents, it takes too long and the pace of technology is simply to fast.  So they don't bother and just rubber stamp them and collect their fees (perverse incentives at work).

Patent troll companies sue big companies for $$$, many product releases have tip toe their way through an insane "patent thickets", big companies worry about some nobody coming out of no where with a patent they infringe.

So big companies amass huge defensive patent portfolio's, in the hope that they scare off patent trolls with tit for tat action.

Large patent portfolio's are inevitably used to stifle competition and prevent legitimate competing innovation (See Apple and HTC re: touch).

So glad Europe and NZ are not buying into this crap!

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