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US Patent Reform
Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 03:06 PM EDT

I thought some of you might like to read the US Patent Reform Act of 2005 [PDF], because it has just begun its journey through the legislative process. Of course, like all legislation, it's almost impossible to read it and understand it, particularly without Title 35 of the US Code in front of you to compare it with, so I thought I'd collect some resources so you have a fighting chance at understanding what is being proposed.

First, here's are some articles that explain it a bit:

Its sponsor put out a press release, and it tells it like it is:

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) today introduced the Patent Reform Act of 2005, legislation to improve the quality of patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and to reform certain patent practices that disrupt the operations of high-tech companies and other businesses.

Translation: This bill's for you, if you are a high-tech company. I guess Microsoft is sick of being sued for patent infringment and losing. IBM would like patent reform too. And Oracle, and the BSA. Everyone knows the system is broken. But what to do about it? This is a bill to address their concerns.

But is it a fix for the patent system, or just a tweak for high-tech big players? Might I suggest you read Mark Webbink of Red Hat's paper on software patents, "A New Paradigm for Intellectual Property Rights in Software"?

Not everyone is thrilled with the proposed reform. It's a bill designed to address the concerns of the big tech industry players, so drug companies and others are not so sure they like what they see. Here's one reaction that I found amusing:

"In my opinion, there would be an adverse impact from the proposal that requires that all patent applications be published 18 months of filing," Robert E. Krebs, Co-Chair Intellectual Property & Trade Regulation Group at Thelen Reid & Priest, told BetaNews in reference to the Patent Reform Act of 2005.

"Under current law, savvy start-up companies can keep their technology secret in the Patent Office for several years. These few years of secrecy -- during which the companies can keep their technology away from their competitors while, at the same time, pursing patent protection and readying their product for market -- can be crucial for business success. Perhaps the current proposal will have the same fate as a similar proposal which Congress considered -- and defeated -- a few years ago," said Krebs.

Some folks like submarine patents. Basically, the proposed bill would make it a lot harder to sue for patent infringement and win, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, depending on the terms, since stupid lawsuits *are* a waste of time and money. The bill is trying to get rid of patent trolls. Hmm. Then if Microsoft attacks Linux, it will have to do it stage front and center, instead of the funnel-funding-to-a-surrogate, like they did with the SCO litigation.

Here's my personal favorite stupid lawsuit: two sisters sued the doctors and hospital, because when they were waiting while their mother had outpatient surgery, something went wrong in the surgery and the doctors quickly wheeled her into emergency surgery, and the girls saw their mother looking bad as the doctors whizzed the mom down the hall trying to help her. The girls lost.

Here's another stupid lawsuit that deserves honorable mention. Or how about this one, where a dad sued the school coach because the baseball team didn't win that year, and so his son didn't get to go to the tournament in Florida. "I didn't understand it," said the coach, a street-maintenance worker who had volunteered as baseball coach for two years. "I wanted to be a coach just to help kids."

Well, that'll teach him to do a good deed.

Anyway, back to patent reform. The issue is this: do the big players need more help? If it's harder to sue for patent infringement, and it's easier for big businesses to file for patents than it is for capital-starved little guys, is it fair to the little guy? For example, I can imagine the following scenario: I invent something and write a scholarly paper about it. I can't afford to patent it or it takes me a while to find a lawyer I can afford. So Microsoft reads my paper, runs to the Patent Office, patents what I wrote about, and then sues me for infringement of their patent. I haven't analyzed the bill enough to know if there is a way to block this scenario, but it's something to look for. You don't want the fix to be worse than the problem you are addressing.

As for the public's interest, it's in there but only if you accept the bill's sponsor's opinion that the result will be a mountain of great new gadgets to play with and a boost to the economy. "This will help individuals and companies obtain seed money for research, commercialize their inventions, grow their businesses, create new jobs, and offer the American public a dazzling array of products and services that make our country the envy of the world,” Smith commented. He sees the public only as consumers.

Except for one thing they maybe didn't think about: software patents and Free and Open Source Software. Has anyone involved thought through the tilt to the playing field if first-to-file becomes law instead of first-to-invent, for example? Do we want to make it even harder for Linux and GNU/Linux to survive and compete? Speaking of dazzling arrays of products, Linux certainly qualifies as a dazzling product that is having a beneificial impact on the economy. Just read this proposed bill from the standpoint of Linus and the thousands of volunteers who first got this project off the ground, and ask yourself: if this patent bill is passed as is, could it ever happen again? I don't see how any tech bill can ever be written that doesn't consider that question as part of the mix, if they are sincere about wishing to stimulate the economy.

Here's what the press release says the bill does:

  • Provides that the right to a patent will be awarded to the first inventor to file for a patent who provides an adequate disclosure for a claimed invention;
  • Simplifies the process by which an applicant takes an oath governing the particulars of an invention and the identity of the rightful inventor;
  • Deletes the “best mode” requirement from §112 of the Patent Act, which lists certain “specifications” that an inventor must set forth in an application;
  • Codifies the law related to inequitable conduct in connection with patent proceedings before the PTO;
  • Clarifies the rights of an inventor to damages for patent infringement;
  • Authorizes courts with jurisdiction over patent cases to grant injunctions in accordance with the principles of equity to prevent the violation of patent rights;
  • Authorizes the PTO to limit by regulation the circumstances in which patent applicants may file a continuation and still be entitled to priority date of the parent application;
  • Expands the 18 month publication feature to all applications;
  • Creates a new post-grant opposition system;
  • Allows third-party submission of prior art within six months after the date of publication of the patent application.  

And here, for comparison, is what Dennis Crouch of Patently-O blog says it does:

This proposed legislation includes sweeping reforms to fundamental aspects of the U.S. patent laws and procedures, including:
  • Change to a first-to-file system (including elimination of the 1-year grace period for certain third party public disclosure);
  • Elimination of the best mode requirement;
  • Changes to the duty of candor (violations will be adjudged by the PTO rather than in Federal Court);
  • Damages to be limited to the inventive contribution rather than calculated on the selling price of an entire product;
  • Limitations on damages for willfulness;
  • Adding a factor of "fairness"to the determination of whether to enter an injunction;
  • Automatic stay of injunctions for appeals;
  • Limits on scope of continuation applications (to be made by PTO); and
  • Introduction of a post-grant opposition procedure and submission of prior art by third parties, etc.
Although some of the provisions in the proposed legislation are toned-down from the discussion draft distributed this spring, this version still has something to offend almost every interest.

Crouch also has a redlined version in .doc format, showing the proposed changes.

Here's Obsidian Wings' take on it, from a pro-big-business perspective, but it's an honest explanation that the little guy is the loser in a first-to-file rule. Oh, and it might be unConstitutional. So there you have it, some resources to hopefully help you to at least understand what is being proposed.


US Patent Reform | 127 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Go Here Please.
Authored by: Hiro Protagonist on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 03:12 PM EDT
Corrections Go Here Please.

I Grok... Therefore... I am.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT Here Please
Authored by: Leccy on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 03:20 PM EDT
Just leave your Off Topic messages in this thread


To err is human.
To really mess it up takes a software patent

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Patent Reform
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 04:47 PM EDT
The proposal does absolutely nothing to address patent quality, and raises a
number of new obstacles to small inventors.

In particular, this proposed legislation:
1) substantially reduces the ability of a patent holder to obtain an injunction
barring the continued use of his invention,
2) eliminates damages for willful infringement unless notification of
infringement by the inventor provides sufficient detail to permit a filing for
summary judgement in a district friendly to the accused infringer,
3) permits request for reexamination procedure by the patent office after an
infringement action is filed, further delaying a litgation process that can
already stretch to five years, and
4) denies liability for exported infringement.

The last provision appears to be related to the lawsuit last year in which
Microsoft claimed that since some copies of Windows software were pressed from a
gold master in Malaysia, they were not "manufactured" in the US and
not subject to patent royalties.

This bill was authored by Lamar Smith. It should come as no surprise that among
the top five contributors to Lamar Smith's last election campaign were Microsoft
and Dell Computer. (See Microsoft reportedly contributed $13
million to various campaigns in the last round of federal elections.

This bill simply further entrenches a "patent cartel" in which large
corporations trade patents and immunity, using the cost of litigation as a
barrier to keep out new market entrants.

In this scenario, the quality of patents is irrelevant, only the number matters.
The only danger becomes someone who does not manufacture and is immune to
retaliation of coutersuit with mountains of trivial and meaningless patents.
These are the demonized "patent trolls" and large corporations are
crying, "Wolf!"

The patent system is not going to go away. If the open source community failes
to remove their heads from the sand and take a realistic look at their position,
then this is the type of patent reform they will get. This bill is scheduled for
final mark-up by 30 June.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Patent Reform
Authored by: david_koontz on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 05:02 PM EDT
I take it the un-Constitutional part of first to file comes from Article I.,
Section 8. (appropriate?), Clause 8.:

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;

The implication being that Congress doesn't have the power to secure exclusive
rights to someone else.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 05:04 PM EDT
> Deletes the “best mode” requirement from §112 of the Patent Act, which
lists certain “specifications” that an inventor must set forth in an

This doesn't sound good to me. Already, software patents are written so as to
be so removed from the actual "invention" as to be nearly unreadable
even to one skilled in the art of programming. Considering that's a
*requirement* (or was... for all I know this changes that) for granting a
patent, that seems pretty useless.

IMHO, they should have to give up actual source code, at bare minimum, so long
as we have software patents. But yes, I would very much rather see software
patents outlawed altogether. I mean, this is equivalent to having them write
near gibberish text instead of giving blueprints to the machine they're making.
And we *know* they have the source code, so why not force them to give it up?
Yes, I know they might not be able to due to other IP restrictions. That would
keep them from getting their patent. And I think of that as a /good/ side
affect, because I hate software patents to begin with :)

But yeah, I definitely think that first to invent needs to stay. I mean, if one
party doesn't think it /should/ be patentable but invents it first, then another
comes along and does get a patent, why should the first be punished?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: overshoot on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 05:34 PM EDT
Well, at least they're dropping the one-year public-disclosure gap. I was afraid that they'd leave it in.

For those not familiar with the differences between US and European patent law, the US bases priority on first-to-invent [1] and the Europeans on first-to-file. However, the US also allows up to a year following public disclosure of an invention for the inventor to file; in Europe, disclosure prior to filing counts as prior art and bye-bye, patent.

The way things are going I was expecting the first-to-file combined with the one-year grace period. That way, someone could read tech journals, the LKML, etc. and file on what they found. As first-to-file, it wouldn't be enough any more to show prior invention, so as long as you couldn't prove intentional fraud, they could see your invention and file on it, then sue you.

[1] First-to-file is still the effective rule in the USA; it's often difficult to prove any other so that's what the USPTO goes by unless there's strong evidence to the contrary.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Coase's Penguin": A must-read
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 05:46 PM EDT
An economist explains FOSS etc. to lawyers in the Yale Law Journal.

An economic and sociological analysis, with some practical applications to IP

70+ heavy pages: perhaps PJ can create a readable summary in 5000 words or less,
with a joke or two.


[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Facinating - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 07:32 AM EDT
US Patent Reform
Authored by: John Hasler on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 06:13 PM EDT
> Elimination of the best mode requirement

This is very bad. It will create a new species of submarine patent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Patent Reform
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 06:14 PM EDT
This 'first to file' thing.

Suppose you're an Open Source type, who has no intention whatsoever of filing for a patent, but every intention of publishing without restriction on who can read it, every single thing you code.

And you find a public repository, like SourceForge, to do it on.

Would 'publication on SourceForge', i.e. CVS commit of a file, constitute prior art against anyone claiming to have invented anything at a later date (or a later time on the same day) ?

And if someone files a patent application for it, claiming to have invented it earlier, are they not under penalty of perjury if it turns out they 'invented' it by looking at SourceForge ?

Personally, I think that patenting software ... in the sense of restricting who can do whatever they want with a '001001001010101' on a general-purpose computer that they own ... is indefensible; and as such no software author, user, patron, etc. should ever live in fear of being asked to attend court, or pay damages, on a 'patent' theory. Keep 'patents' for devices, like anti-lock braking systems that actually cause real cars to stop without skidding.

But unless/until we get that, clarity about how to use 'prior art' to undermine patents might be helpful. You only have to undermine a patent with 'prior art' once, and all the money that has gone into establishing the patent (and all the threats that the patent represents) go immediately down the drain; and you can have as many goes at producing 'prior art' as you wish, without there being any down-side. That proposition might well give a 'patent holder' cause to hold fire; like the 'well-armed lamb' contesting the vote of the wolves about lunch.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • US Patent Reform - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 06:37 PM EDT
First to file vs first to invent
Authored by: cricketjeff on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 07:08 PM EDT
Some disclaimers, I haven't read all the legalese about this bill, and I don't
intend to, I'm not American and it will change before it gets adopted if it
does. I am also not lwayer or a patent agent. I have been an inventor and am
named as such on quite a few patents.
In most of the world patents are granted to the first inventor to file, not to
the first to invent. This does not mean that in the UK you can get an invention
by reading a paper and rushing off to file an invention based on it. If you dod
any such thing not only should the patent be rejected but you would lay yourself
open to a prosecution for perjury. First to file is a purely practical approach,
what does first to invent mean? Out of all my inventions maybe 10% were invented
in a single event. What would first to invent mean if I started "the
inventive step" on Monday and finished it on Friday and someone else
started on Tuesday and finished on Thursday?
First to invent also makes huge numbers of scientists and technicians in the
states into liars. Researchers working in large organisations are required to
fill in notebooks every day with all thier ideas and activities and then each
page of the book is supposed to be signed on that same day by a witness,
obviously most American scientist is well organised and neat and tidy and
sufficiently lightly worked to make this easy, however quite a few are working
in groups that have just a touch more pressure than that applied and every now
and then, just before an invention report is submitted, 6 months of notebook
pages get filled in and signed in a day. All first to file is intended to do is
to make such activities unnecessary. Since a requirement of a patent that you
don't tell the world about it before applying (although the US law is different
here too) there is normally not a problem.
When a patent application is received it is stamped with the date and time it
can then be considered against prior art from before this point, anything you
could or should have seen before that point can invalidate your application,
anything afterwards cannot. If you can demonetrate you made something public,
and this doesn't mean in an obscure and irrelevant journal in ancient greek, you
can have a patent that covers the same field invalidated, if you made it public
in a way that was reasonable to you but not reasonable for the person who filed
the application the patent may still be granted, but it can be made not to apply
to you. For instance if you invent something that makes a fishing lure work
better and someone patents a very simialr device to make helicopters fly faster
backwards they can keep their patent because reading Angling monthly isn't a
requirement for a man skilled in helicopter design, but they can't sue you for
making fishing lures, they could still sue a jam manufacturer who later used the
same device to make his strawberries more evenly distributed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Eureka! - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 02:49 AM EDT
The Problems with Patents
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 08:24 PM EDT
There are problems with Patents, and the various national Patent Offices that
this bill does not appear to address.

The main point is that the Patented item has to work. If it doesn't work, it
can't be patented. This is the law. So why then does the patent office issue
patents for devices that do not, and can not work?

Many people that I've talked to about this issue don't seem to understand the
problem. One person from the Patent Office came back with the thought that if
the device didn't work then the Patent Holder would be unlikely to sue for
infringement. This of course assumes that the Patent holder understands that the
device doesn't work, and has some morals. While I do not know of any case where
a holder of a defective patent has sued for Patent Infringement, this does not
mean it hasn't happened. I'm one man, with knowledge of a couple of very
specialized fields, and only know some of the defective patents in those

The biggest issue is that companies are selling these Patented devices - in
effect they are selling garbage. Why would anyone buy one of these devices?
Because they might need something that does what this device says it does. If
they are not experts in the field one thing they could look for is a Patent. The
issue of a Patent is in effect a guarantee by the Patent Office that the
invention is a real, working device. It's a matter of law. The invention cannot
be patented unless it works, but due to problems at the Patent office,
non-functional devices are patented with dismaying regularity.

My main field of expertise is emissions controls for internal combustion
engines. We see a lot of defective patents in our field. Whether these patents
are filed in error (the filer believes that the device works) or whether they
are filed on purpose (in effect as a scam) they have a damaging effect on the
world economy. As far as I know no one has done an economic study of defective
patents, however I suspect that they figures involved would be shocking.

Consider the case of a company in Texas who had been visited by the Occupational
Health and Safety Administration. The company ran a large fleet of Propane Gas
powered forklifts in their warehouse where they provide third party logistics to
a variety of customers. The company was found in violation of the regulations
for Carbon Monoxide exposure of the workers, and at once proceeded to search for
and find a method of reducing the Carbon Monoxide emissions from the forklift
engines. They picked a technology that was Patented in the belief that a
Patented technology guaranteed them that the product would produce the required
end, and bought 80 of the devices at a price of $500.00 US each. Unfortuneately
the device in question didn't work as advertised, and they were out $40,000.00
with the Carbon Monoxide problem in their warehouses still unsolved. They could
have tried to sue to get their money back, but sueing a Patent holder for a
non-working invention is a fools game.

In another case that I know of a company that owned a defective Patent sent the
device in question for testing at a government laboratory. The testing proved
that the device did not work. Two months later an employee of that agency
noticed that the company web site now said that they agency had approved the
device. The agency had to send in their lawyers to get the company to remove the
notice from their web site.

Another example of defective Patents damaging the economy concerns a company
with a Patent on another emissions control device that didn't work. The company
was able to raise funds from some venture capitalists on the strength of the
Patent that they held. This is money that could have been used by a company with
a legitimate device to grow their company, instead it was money wasted (note
that the company didn't last long in any case).

Defective Patents are a serious issue. The Patent Offices appears uninterested,
or unable to correct the problem. Again, note that this problem is common among
Patent Offices in the United States, Canada, Britain, and the European Union
(since my language skills are limited to English I have not been able to check
on others).

I've been in contact with a variety of people about this problem. The Patent
Office doesn't seem to understand the problem. Other Goverment agencies are
unable to take action, all they can do is complain to the Patent Office, and
hope action is taken. Industry groups are also helpless. All they can do is
lobby, and hope. Competitors who have a real working devices are loosing sales,
first because some of their potential customers are spending money on junk, and
secondly because customers who discover that they have been burned tend to be
skeptical about other vendors selling devices that to them are simular (they
serve the same function).

This is a serious issue, and one that needs to be addressed before any other
reforms are carried out at the Patent Office.



[ Reply to This | # ]

US Patent Reform
Authored by: inode_buddha on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 09:18 PM EDT
Well.... us "little guys" are sick and tired of having to deal with SW
patents *also*. So would the mega-corps please knock off the fun and games with
them? Hey, there's more than one way to protect your software, after all.

Copyright info in bio

"When we speak of free software,
we are referring to freedom, not price"
-- Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

Proposal: establish a patent court
Authored by: m_si_M on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 09:52 PM EDT

I have read a lot of discussions on patents here and in other places. While preparing an exhibition on the topic of technical innovation in certain area of Germany, I had to contact a patent lawyer and discuss some of the problems of the patent system in general, and especially in Germany. We also discussed the issue of software patents and to my surprise the patent lawyer was a fierce opponent of software patents. The patent lawyer I had conversations with owns the law firm in the third generation, and she considered software patents as something completely contradictory to the spirit of the patent system. But that is only a side note.

Just for fun we sat down and compared some examples I learned of mostly on Groklaw to the current system in Germany. Surprisingly, we found out, that the German system (and those of most of the other European systems) compare quite well to the systems of most Common Law countries (and especially the United States). I'd like to sum up the advantages here.

  • The first advantage is that software patents are (not yet) allowed. It is possible to get a patent for an innovation using a computer. But even if the innovation resides 100 % in the software, there has to be something else that the software does. When I presented her Groklaw's idea of the black box, she agreed that this is the current practice: You need at least 1 % of things happening outside the computer. The patent could be granted on 1 % using 99 % black box (software), while 99 % is protected by creator's rights (the non-Common-Law version of copyrights).
  • A patent application has to be comprehensible for someone skilled in the art. Unclear or obfuscating language will usually result in a rejection.
  • Any applicant has to disclose his innovation completely (because that's part of the deal with patents), to allow others to find new and better ways to solve the problem. That is the reason for most of us, and also for the patent lawyer I talked to, to declare software patents unethical, because they allow to monopolise general ideas, not specific solutions.
  • So far, that's nothing new to the discussion, but the two other points are. One thing I didn't know was that a German programmer has the opportunity to add his work to a database of anonymous creative writings (I don't have a link handy, but I will look for it in case anybody's interested). Once the code is in the database, the ideas can't be patented anymore. Adding code, music, lyrics or whatever, is free of charge. The downside is, of course, this means you make the code public domain.
  • The most important difference between the German approach and the American seems to me that there is a Patent Court in Germany. Most courts in Germany, with the exception of the lowest level, are specialised. We have special chambers in every courthouse for several issues, familiy matters (divorces, tutelage etc.), criminal offences, administrative problems and so on, on county, state and federal level. In several fields that require knowledge beyond the legal profession, you can find some even more specialised courts, e.g. trade law (courts consist of members of the chambers of commerce and lawyers), maritime affairs (sea officers and lawyers). The Patent Court consists of patent lawyers (who, in Germany, have to be natural scientists with an additional training and examination in law) and regular lawyers. The composition of the Patent Court depends on the claim. If someone files a complaint about a patent filing being rejected, the regular lawyers have a majority of one vote in the chamber. If someone wants a patent to be declared invalid, the regular lawyers form a minority. (Please note that all major decisions in German courts are not made by a single judge, but a team of judges -- the "chamber". This doesn't mean that the German system is more expensive (it isn't, quite the contrary), because a team can manage more cases at one. The system was designed to prevent arbitriness and also the number of appeals).

Please don't take this post as some kind of nationalism. I only think that in this particular point, the US system could fare well by applying a foreign model. OTOH, I know that it is hard to turn around an established legal system which has, despite its quirks, a record of being functional in the end.

[ Reply to This | # ]

doomed before it even begins
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 10:41 PM EDT
all you need to know that it is doomed before it even gets started is to read
this quote:

"A New Paradigm for Intellectual Property Rights in Software"?

any publication that uses the term "paradigm" is pure marketing spin.
nothing more.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Open source lobbying?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 12:24 AM EDT
How can the open source community influence this legislation? I fear that we
don't have what it takes to swim in the murky depths of US politics. Open source
is too ... open; too honest, public and clean. I saw one wit on /. a while back
proposing setting up a paypal account to bribe senators. It made me laugh.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Get Real
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 12:35 AM EDT
Did anyone expect a republican from Texas would be a friend to anyone BUT big

If you did expect him to look out for the little guy, I got a piece of the
Alaska-Russia Land Bridge I'd like to sell. :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ, Merkey took comments down claiming DOS
Authored by: technixyoda on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 01:20 AM EDT
This is off topic.

As you know today PJ was threatened with a lawsuit by JV Merkey. At the same
time he set up a comment board on his site and allowed comments on it.

It was a trap.

He used who is reverse lookup and then would post those lookups as replies to
messages he did not like.

I had had enough.

Maybe this was wrong of me. PJ, can advise to me if you feel this was a moral
over reaction, but him threatening you, your family, IP Wars and /. And then
posting that kind of info for posters he did not like it made me snap.

So for every single one of his who is posts, I posted a notice to the parent
poster that this is JV Merkey’s information if you wish to inform your local ISP
or Network Solutions of his tactics. I also posted his comments on how he and
Linus agreed SCO had no case, which came AFTER his visit with Darl and Chris. I
also posted some his more violent reactions on the kernel and Linux lists for
all to see. In I posted 17 times in 45 minutes. The total post count at the
time was 75. If that DOS makes, well.

I oly posted information that was already on the internet. I think Jeff was
looking for the swarm and destroy reaction he would have gotten when he in Linux
in 99. Rather he got a load of smart questions, inquiries, quotes, and
questions about suit funding and the like.

He now removed the comments section claiming a DOS on it. Funny, but main part
advertising his suit works just fine.

I would like to take credit for this on, but others helped, and I just took an
idea and ran with it.

I hope this is morally acceptable to you, esp. PJ

[ Reply to This | # ]

US Patent Reform...
Authored by: clueless on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 01:43 AM EDT an oxymoron.


A farewell to silly .sigs

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US Patent Reform
Authored by: Vaino Vaher on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 02:49 AM EDT
PJ wrote:
Just read this proposed bill from the standpoint of Linus and the thousands of volunteers who first got this project off the ground, and ask yourself: if this patent bill is passed as is, could it ever happen again?
The US is not the world. Of course it will happen again, but maybe not in the US! (As long as the rest of us can resist introducing your type of legislation). Having said that: Yes, we do hope that you will one day re-join the free world.
PS! And when it did happen in the past, it did not happen in the US either. It happened in Helsinki, Finland, Europe. DS!

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US Patent Reform
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 03:11 AM EDT
I like the limiting the scope of compensation to the actual contribution of the
patent and not to the whole product. To me this kills a lot of software patents
by proxy. A lot of the bad ones are so trivial that they are almost always just
a tiny aspect of any software package. That sort are unsustainable and
definitely not worth the trouble to patent unless you can claim the full value
of the software that uses them, or obtain an injuction against their use.
However both of those issues have been partly addressed here.

I noticed that from the list they didn't actually change anything about the
patents other than how they are administered and applied during disputes. This
is the same thing that EU patent legislation seems aimed towards. They don't
want to change patents, they just want to streamline their application.

To us radicals that seems like tip-toeing around the issue but I guess patent
holders and patent officers don't really want the rules changed too drastically
too often.

To me the biggest danger is not this sort of tweaking which largely only
modernizes the patent process in light of the current situation. The biggest
danger is that entrenched patent abusers thwart all progress towards patent
reform. In relative terms they hold most of the cards and are more than happy to
have things continue as they are. While not a reason for review, the risk of
abuses under the current system should be weighed against the risks under the
proposed solution, not against some utopian ideal.

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US Patent Reform
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 05:51 PM EDT
What US citizens need is an organisation such as FFII in Europe that will start the crusade against software patents. Sure, it can be done. There is an American FFII list. man/listinfo/us-parl

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US Patent Reform
Authored by: gwizc5 on Friday, June 17 2005 @ 08:38 PM EDT
I saw one of the hearings reguarding patent reform on CSPAN a while back and I
got the general feeling that the VAST majority of the changes (alas all the ones
listed above) would make patents a market tool for large corporations like

One of the items discussed in the hearing I watched was the issue of injunctive
relief for patent owners. Since patents are things that can be traded, sold,
inherited, many of the large corporations like the big hammer patents can be
(make a patent infringement claim that sounds good stop the competition cold in
their tracks).

I generally got the flavor that a true small inventor that has the means to
obtain a patent needs to be able to stop the big companies from squashing him
but the big company or people who "trade" in patents for licensing
fees only don't really need to stop the competition from making products -- heck
they really should want more companies making a product with their patent
because they can get some royalties.

So: What if injunctive relief is only offered to the true inventor -- not
someone with an interest in a patent or even someone that has bought "all
rights" to a patent -- if you just give injunctive relief to the inventor
make it non transferrable and expire when the patent or his intrest in the
patent expires. Then to put the squash on the competition you would need the
concurrance of the true inventor (who might not work for you anymore).

Imagine: you work for Microsoft (yea i know...) you invent some thing that you
get patented (most likely software) Microsoft paid for the patent, paid for your
time, your employment agreement gives Microsoft some type of ownership of the
patent but YOU are the INVENTOR it was your idea.
You quit Microsoft (again, yea i know....) go to work for the competition --
Microsoft still owns the patent but you are still the inventor. If you make
something at your new company that Microsoft thinks may infringe on a patent
they can't stop the company cold in their tracks -- they can sue for the
licensing and royalties they are due but you still get to practice your
expertise and unless Microsoft convinces you to ask for injunctive relief
(against your new employer) they are NOT entitled it...

Paints a nicer picture for smaller inventors in my mind -- What do you think?

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