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The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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Exactly... | 756 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
General purpose trumps special purpose?
Authored by: stegu on Thursday, July 19 2012 @ 04:35 PM EDT
Many modern patents, and software patents in particular,
deliberately over-reach to try to encompass all possible
extensions and applications of doing something vaguely
similar to the patented invention, to be able to extort
patent license fees from people who come up with new
ideas for unpredicted and potentially unrelated uses.

In this context it is indeed strange that patent law
does not consider all "special purpose computers" (in
this case, programmed computers) as special cases
trivially encompassed in the invention of the
general purpose computer on which the program is run.

I'm not saying this is the silver bullet that will
strike the killing blow to the current interpretation
of the law, but it could certainly be used to point
out the current internal inconsistency in the field.
Lawyers tend to listen more closely to what you say
when you point to such discrepancies. They don't like
it when stories don't match up even when the law is
viewed as a closed system, without pointing to the
disconnect between law and reality.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Exactly...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 19 2012 @ 06:52 PM EDT
If the hardware is exactly the same, and the 'new machine' is solely due to
exercising a function the hardware was specifically designed for - running a
piece of software - then this should never be patentable as it is obvious.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Was the Wright Flyer patentable?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 20 2012 @ 09:41 AM EDT
1. Wood had been around for a few years. (prior art)
2. Burlap had been around for a few years. (prior art)
3. Pulleys had been around for a few years. (prior art)
4. Rope had been around for a few years. (prior art)
5. Birds had been flying for a few years. (prior art)

Inventions are more than the sum of their parts.

Every invention is made of known components. It is the new arrangement or
combination of known components (where components includes both hardware and/or
steps or a series of steps) wherein the invention lies.

New software plus old machine = new machine or at least improved machine.

New machines and improved machines are both patentable. Sorry.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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