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MIT's Free Patent Online Course
Friday, November 18 2005 @ 01:25 AM EST

Groklaw's akStan found something truly useful. He was looking for a paper on symmetrical-components analysis of three phase electricity, he tells me, but he found a patent course instead, on MIT's Open Courseware web page.

Dr. Robert Rines, who has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, taught the class from his book, Create or Perish, and homepage for the course has a graphic showing Thomas Edison's 1879 patent application for an "Improvement in Electric Lights." The entire book is available as PDFs, one for each chapter. The final chapter is interesting, because he talks about some of the problems with the patent system, but you know about all that already. What is probably the most valuable chapter for us to read is the one on how patent law works, chapter 3 [PDF]. It explains what can and can't be patented. They keep stretching that line, of course.

If you attended the course at MIT in person, you'd have the advantage of professor-student interactivity (not to mention credit), but the information is entirely available to the world and for free. Thank you, MIT, for understanding the power of openness. And thank you to the professor for making his book available online.

So, let's learn what we can. If Microsoft is ever stupid enough to attack Linux with patents, the more we understand, the more helpful we can be. The book is a little hard to read, because it seems to be a scan of a Xeroxed copy, but I found I could do it bearably if I made the font larger.

There is a very useful collection of information on patents on Cornell's LII site also. Cornell has a list on the right of the page of such helpful things as the most recent Supreme Court decisions, such as the Festo case. And you can search the database for just the historic cases. I found it by looking at the MIT course's Resources page, and there is a section for links contributed by the students. An unnamed student placed the url there, which goes to show you that you don't have to be a professor to contribute to the world's knowledge commons.


  


MIT's Free Patent Online Course | 75 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
MIT's Free Patent Online Course
Authored by: Peter Smith on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 01:46 AM EST
> If Microsoft is ever stupid enough to attack Linux with patents.

The attack is building up.
This is why MS is a major funder of Nathan Myrvold's "Intellectual
Ventures".

I think it is very likely this company is intended as an MS front to attack Open
Source with the patents weapon.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Xeroxed
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 01:46 AM EST
"Photocopy" is preferable to the term "Xeroxed" for obvious
trademark reasons.

Same as "tissue paper" vs "Kleenex".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic Here
Authored by: bbaston on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 01:53 AM EST
Please include links and post in HTML mode.

---
Ben, Groklawian in training
IMBW, IANAL2, IMHO, IAVO
imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold
Have you donated to Groklaw this month?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here
Authored by: bbaston on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 01:55 AM EST
All in one place so PJ can find them. Thanks!

---
Ben, Groklawian in training
IMBW, IANAL2, IMHO, IAVO
imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold
Have you donated to Groklaw this month?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another very useful patent course online
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 03:01 AM EST
Crash course on patents at Ius mentis.

Table of contents

Written by a European patent attorney.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sony Music and DRM
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 08:59 AM EST
For those who are interested in Sony’s DRM rook kit issue there is another side
to the balance sheet besides the income side [i.e. the side in which Sony rips
off the customer] and that is the expenditure or cost side [i.e. the side in
which Sony rips off the band].

For a good financial analysis of the band’s income and Sony’s income read the
following

http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Sony Music and DRM - Authored by: stevec on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 10:18 AM EST
    • Hee hee - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 06:15 PM EST
MIT's Free Patent Online Course
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 09:30 AM EST
I took Prof. Rines' course years and years ago as an undergraduate at MIT, and
it was very good!

[ Reply to This | # ]

SONY: the mess is compounding...
Authored by: boxopen on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 10:28 AM EST
New Sony Digital Camera Installs Rootkit to Stop Photo Sharing http://www.bbspot.com/News/2005/11/sony_photo_sharing.html

[ Reply to This | # ]

MIT's Free Patent Online Course
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 11:29 AM EST
MIT OpenCourseWare is excellent, but MIT doesn't completely understand openness.
Some of their courses have a frustrating technical requirement...

RealOne™ Player software is required to run the .rm files found on this course
site.

Annoying, but at least they don't require Windows Media Player.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MIT
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 12:44 PM EST
is of course Massachusetts Institute of Technology, how appropriate.

Tufty

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • MIT - Authored by: Cyberdog on Saturday, November 19 2005 @ 01:59 PM EST
Re: Patents...
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 12:57 PM EST

Another source of some interesting viewpoints on patents, in general, is on Don Lancaster's [1] web site. I haven't (yet) plowed through all the links to the PDFs included on that page. However, I think the introduction alone is worth reading.

--
RT

[1] -- If you don't know who Don Lancaster is then, IMNSHO, you're a newcomer to the world of computing. Think "TTL Cookbook" and "TV Typewriter Cookbook" and maybe it'll come to you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MIT's Free Patent Online Course
Authored by: th80 on Friday, November 18 2005 @ 01:04 PM EST

I find the last chapter of the book, "A Formula for Economic Decline" (chapter 9), to be one of the most interesting chapters. I wasn't able to locate a publish date from the PDF, so I did some research. Create or Perish was published in 1964.

I find it amusing that Dr. Rines had the foresight, nearly 25 years before globalization boom, of the problems facing the United States' education and research institutions. Dr. Rines recognizes that innovation can't be achieved in an environment of "vested interests". In a sense, he makes a case for FOSS by arguing creativity is key to economic success. Isn't that the philosophy of the FOSS movement? To innovate freely?

[ Reply to This | # ]

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