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Old 07-16-2011, 11:07 AM   #1
sycamorex
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patents spoiling all the fun


I thought it was ridiculous that AlienBob had to provide 2 separate VLC packages. One is hosted outside of the US due to patent restrictions:
Quote:
Patent trolls prevent me from hosting those packages in the US on slackware.com.
source: http://alien.slackbook.org/blog/vide...te-vlc-1-1-10/

And now I'm reading about this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology...raw-us-patents

I'm sure there are hundreds of examples like that. Do you think that patent issues are going to alienate the USA in the future? It'd be a sad thing as any divisions/restrictions like that are definitely not helping developers and FOSS. Hopefully, the rest of the world will stay sane and won't allow such ridiculous laws allowing patent trolling.

I really find it disgusting that people make money on hindering the progress of application development.
 
Old 07-16-2011, 11:20 AM   #2
baldy3105
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Like so many things it seems to be the application of the process rather than the basic concept that is at fault.

The basic concept is that someone has an idea, thats the easy bit and many other people may well have had the same idea, then spends time and resources on realizing said idea into an actual application and the patent protects him from someone simply copying what he has done without incurring any of the cost.

In reality people patent the original idea without actually realizing an application. Then someone else has the same idea, spends time a resources realizing the application if the idea only to find the law requires him to pay the patent holder for actually doing nothing except a bit of paperwork.

Its stupid, restrictive and has to change.

Can you imagine where we would be if Henry Ford had patented a box with a wheel on each corner that carries passengers? Pay up!
Or Arthur C Clarke had patented the idea of an artificial satellite able to relay radio signals? Pay up!

The fact is that patents are given on ridiculously vague idea's that cover so much ground that the troll is on a winner whatever stupid idea's he patents.

A specific application that took resources to develop should be patentable, for a period of time at least.

A vague notion that someone dreamt up in the bath should not.

And the patent system must recognise that humans are clever and there are a lot of us. It is perfectly possible for two people to have and realize the same idea, there should be proof of wrongdoing, not just evidence of similarity.

As it stands the system is a joke.

Last edited by baldy3105; 07-16-2011 at 11:22 AM. Reason: correcting my appaling grammer
 
Old 07-16-2011, 12:32 PM   #3
Sumguy
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I hope you two are children and not adults, as it'd be scary to think that such ideas were emanating from adults!

Patents protect people's work and keep others from stealing what the inventor may have spent years formulating, developing, testing and building.

I'm sure none of you would want someone walking into your home and helping themselves to your possessions. A patent protects you so that people can not just help themselves to your intellectual property. It is nice that there are people who develop FOSS, for sure- but the thing is, those people make the choice to SHARE their creations- and they usually have not put hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars into their creations, and they often put out work that is imperfect and incomplete, and by making it FOSS, they get other users to help them perfect and correct what they have done. Many FOSS developers do what they do because it is a hobby. How many scientists would spend years developing a medication and then spend millions of dollars testing and marketing that drug, if anyone could just copy it, and avail themselves of all the work and expense that the scientist has spent....for free?

Henry Ford actually held 161 patents- and his company holds THOUSANDS of them. A "box with wheels on the corners" may not be patentable...but all the various components which make it work, are. The reason others can make cars too, is that they used similar principles, but changed the actual components enough to make them unique- as in most cases, the technology used on Ford's cars was not new....it was just an application of common mechanical principles, and cars existed before Henry Ford's...Ford's real contribution was in figuring out how to manufacture them cheaply so that they would be accessable to the average person instead of just the elite. (Prior to Ford, cars could only be afforded by the very wealthy).

Instead of crying, youse guys should be glad that there are still a few places left on earth where property rights are protected- because when that is gone (and it likely will be, soon) there will be little new innovation or progress, because people and corps do not put money and time into something just to share it for free....and YOU can't make a living if the product of your labor is given away for free or not protected from theft.

</rant>
 
Old 07-16-2011, 01:05 PM   #4
baldy3105
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I hope you are just an idiot who can't read rather than a nob who just didn't bother.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumguy View Post
...what the inventor may have spent years formulating, developing, testing and building.

A "box with wheels on the corners" may not be patentable...but all the various components which make it work, are.

.... money and time into something just to share it for free....and YOU can't make a living if the product of your labor is given away for free or not protected from theft.

</rant>
Is pretty much exactly what I just said. The bit that is ridiculous is that many many patents are exactly as vague as "a box with a wheel on each corner". Look some up. My point was that had such vague patents been issued in Fords day every single manufacturer of car since would be paying Ford for a notion that anyone could have come up with. As it is they have to pay him if they use the specific applications that he "spent time and money" developing, which is fine. Or they can develop their own solution and not pay him. Also fine.

Try actually reading what someone has written before using them as a target for your pet peeve.
 
Old 07-16-2011, 02:41 PM   #5
sycamorex
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Ok, the thread title should have been: patent abuse spoiling all the fun. Sorry, I thought most people would understand what I meant. My fault.

Quote:
Patents protect people's work and keep others from stealing what the inventor may have spent years formulating, developing, testing and building.
Yes, but there is also a difference between patents and patent trolls. Because of the fact that the patent law is far from perfect, companies abuse it. Some patents should never have been granted.

Quote:
I'm sure none of you would want someone walking into your home and helping themselves to your possessions.
Somehow, outside of the US companies manage to solve these problems without resorting to suing each other for patent infringement. For some reason nobody cries about their property being stolen.

Quote:
In this environment, brandishing invalid patents can be a good business strategy. This behavior, called “patent trolling,” gets a lot of attention today, but it’s been going on for more than a century. In 1895, George Selden obtained a U.S. patent for putting a gasoline engine on a chassis to make a car. The patent clearly should never have been granted: the idea was so obvious that many people worldwide thought of it independently as soon as the first workable gasoline engines became available. Nevertheless, Selden brandished his patent, threatened nascent carmakers with suit, and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties. Selden didn’t contribute anything meaningful to the development of the automobile, but his patent abuse made cars more expensive for years, until Henry Ford, who refused to license from Selden, finally busted the patent in court in 1911.
Source: http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/07/...es-innovation/

Last edited by sycamorex; 07-16-2011 at 03:21 PM.
 
Old 07-16-2011, 06:36 PM   #6
John VV
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Quote:
Do you think that patent issues are going to alienate the USA in the future?
No

But WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER " Tea party" but this time in protest of the USPTO .
fallowed by an uprising of the PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE ,and by force if need be, to remove this failing government .

votes have not worked so far ( an ignorant society is easy to control - and they have been )
 
Old 07-16-2011, 07:02 PM   #7
Sumguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baldy3105 View Post
I hope you are just an idiot who can't read rather than a nob who just didn't bother.



Is pretty much exactly what I just said. The bit that is ridiculous is that many many patents are exactly as vague as "a box with a wheel on each corner". Look some up. My point was that had such vague patents been issued in Fords day every single manufacturer of car since would be paying Ford for a notion that anyone could have come up with. As it is they have to pay him if they use the specific applications that he "spent time and money" developing, which is fine. Or they can develop their own solution and not pay him. Also fine.

Try actually reading what someone has written before using them as a target for your pet peeve.
I have not kept up with patent law over the last 25 years- so it is entirely possible that you could be right, there- just like the way they changed the copyright laws a few years ago, so that now you can't parody a song or use popular music on a Youtube video- whereas before, it was not so restrictive.

I know in the past, you could not get a patent on anything remotely vague- and I doubt that has changed. Perhaps you are talking about DESIGN patents? With a design patent, you can patent the physical shape and properties of something, but not the overall concept. i.e. you could patent the body style of a car you designed.....so no one could make that exact car...but you couldn't patent the idea of a car itself and keep anyone else from making cars.....


Believe me, I was doing some patent work for a process I was working on, back in the 80's....and you had to be MINUTELY specific- unless it was a design patent.

With software, it's even trickier- as you can copyright software but only patent it under very specific conditions.....
 
Old 07-16-2011, 07:24 PM   #8
Sumguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sycamorex View Post



Somehow, outside of the US companies manage to solve these problems without resorting to suing each other for patent infringement. For some reason nobody cries about their property being stolen.

The US isn't the only country with strong patent laws. Usually, the only real difference from country to country lies in whether or not that country respects the patents of other countries. For instance, Russia does not respect US copyrights....so in turn, we do not respect theirs. You can use all the Russian music you want on your vidoes...copy their CDs and DVDs and sell them here and duplicate their books, and no one will care nor do anything.

If you were an author/artist/developer living in Russia with a product you intended to market in the US, would you copyright it in Russia or the US/one of the countries that reciprocates with US copyright/patent law?

Same with corporations...they will not even do business in a market where they have little or no protection. Those squabbles, as you put it, are often because some try and get by with stealing the work of others/using it for free. What should the copyright/patent holder do, just sit on his hands and whistle?

Albeit, there is a good deal of abuse. The more complex the legal system, the greater the chances of abuse- and when their aren't severe penalties for frivolous/unmerited lawsuits, it's even worse.

I do however believe, that such things should not be the province of government...the free market should indeed take whatever steps needed to protect their own property (I really do believe that the US government is trying to become the repository and controller of all intellectual property)- but of all the illicit things the US government does, their patent laws are probably the very least of all it's evils. (Extorting and redistributing our money and erecting a militaristic police-state here and abroad being the biggest evils)
 
Old 07-16-2011, 07:38 PM   #9
sycamorex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumguy View Post
The US isn't the only country with strong patent laws. Usually, the only real difference from country to country lies in whether or not that country respects the patents of other countries. For instance, Russia does not respect US copyrights....so in turn, we do not respect theirs. You can use all the Russian music you want on your vidoes...copy their CDs and DVDs and sell them here and duplicate their books, and no one will care nor do anything.

If you were an author/artist/developer living in Russia with a product you intended to market in the US, would you copyright it in Russia or the US/one of the countries that reciprocates with US copyright/patent law?

Same with corporations...they will not even do business in a market where they have little or no protection. Those squabbles, as you put it, are often because some try and get by with stealing the work of others/using it for free. What should the copyright/patent holder do, just sit on his hands and whistle?

Albeit, there is a good deal of abuse. The more complex the legal system, the greater the chances of abuse- and when their aren't severe penalties for frivolous/unmerited lawsuits, it's even worse.

I do however believe, that such things should not be the province of government...the free market should indeed take whatever steps needed to protect their own property (I really do believe that the US government is trying to become the repository and controller of all intellectual property)- but of all the illicit things the US government does, their patent laws are probably the very least of all it's evils. (Extorting and redistributing our money and erecting a militaristic police-state here and abroad being the biggest evils)
I was referring specifically to software patents.

I don't know much(anything?) about patents but for me it's just wrong when I read sites like slashdot.org and more and more articles are about a company suing another one over some (sometimes vague) patents. Sometimes I get the impression that they focus more on finding patent infringements in other companies than improving their own code.
The loopholes in the patent law may lead to such ridiculous situations like the one when MS patented a version of sudo ( http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?s...91111094923390 )
Another weird example was the recent article saying that MS earns more money off licensing Android than from the sales of their own mobile system. I agree that under the current law they can do it, but isn't it a bit odd?

I understand the fact that companies exist to make money. There's nothing wrong with it. They are no charities, but sometimes they should take a deep breath and try to restraint their greediness.

I don't know. I might be an idealist but I do believe code should be freely shared to speed up the progress. Last year I was reading a book entitled "After the Software Wars" by Keith Curtis (an ex-MS employee) who described the situation with AI Labs all over the world - each one working independently and carefully protecting their work. This obviously led to a situation when each one had to duplicate their work/reinvent the wheel. Curtis claims that if those labs joined their efforts at the beginning, all our cars would probably now be self-driving using some autopilot options, etc.
 
Old 07-16-2011, 10:52 PM   #10
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The biggest problem at the moment is that US patents operate on a first to file basis, which means that someone merely has to file the patent and wait for someone to actually build something that uses the patented idea, and then sue them. We need to go to a first to use model. Thats far from perfect, but its a good start.

I recently read that someone completely unrelated to the movie filed for and received the patent for the power laces idea seen in Back to the Future II. This sort of preemptive patenting is the #1 problem.
 
Old 07-17-2011, 12:08 AM   #11
frieza
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nobody seems to have mentioned another egregious abuse of the patent system, that is companies buying out patents just to bury them, such as big oil buying out alternate energy technology patents that never end up seeing the light of day just to get rid of potential competition.
 
Old 07-17-2011, 04:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sycamorex View Post
I don't know much(anything?) about patents but for me it's just wrong when I read sites like slashdot.org and more and more articles are about a company suing another one over some (sometimes vague) patents. Sometimes I get the impression that they focus more on finding patent infringements in other companies than improving their own code.
You should keep in mind that the purpose of news sites is to generate noise. They take minor event, and make it look loud/important, which creates incorrect understanding of situation/importance of some event. Also, (IMO) you worry too much about FOSS. The idea of FOSS is flawed (only application developers need source code, and majority of people aren't developers) and eventually it will be replaced by something else, plus there are much more important issues to think about.
 
Old 07-17-2011, 05:44 AM   #13
sycamorex
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
Also, (IMO) you worry too much about FOSS. The idea of FOSS is flawed (only application developers need source code, and majority of people aren't developers)
Yeah, sure and the idea of free speech is flawed as well. After all, most people have not much to say, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
plus there are much more important issues to think about.
...such as?
 
Old 07-17-2011, 06:09 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
The idea of FOSS is flawed (only application developers need source code, and majority of people aren't developers) and eventually it will be replaced by something else.
Welcome to the future...
 
Old 07-17-2011, 06:25 AM   #15
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally Posted by sycamorex View Post
Yeah, sure and the idea of free speech is flawed as well. After all, most people have not much to say, right?
Once "free speech" starts to conflict with other rights, it quickly becomes "unimportant".
The problem with FOSS is that it does not reward application developer - the only way to get cash for programmer is via bounty hunting, plus the idea of relying on unpaid volunteers is dumb. Skill/work should be rewarded, and people that work on the project should be paid for it. At the same time, skilled people should be able to acquire the source code and fix problem themselves instead of waiting for the next patch. Which means that there should be another license - one that will reward original developer and will be good enough for users at the same time. Current "FOSS" licenses do not meet both requirements. Another big problem with FOSS is "no warranty of any kind" disclaimer.

Last edited by SigTerm; 07-17-2011 at 06:45 AM.
 
  


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