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You are missing the point | 756 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
You are missing the point
Authored by: stegu on Friday, July 20 2012 @ 10:12 AM EDT
You really think you have the answer, do you?
The Groklaw crowd likes to dig a little deeper
than that into things, and we think rather more for
ourselves than other crowds of more conventional
flavor.

Inquisitive minds (some even part of the patent
industry) debate over this, and you just say
"sorry, this is how it is, end of discussion".
Black and white. The world is not like that,
and not even law works like that. Laws change
over time, and sometimes the law gets it wrong
and needs to be changed. Laws created for one
purpose with good intentions may become outdated
and irrelevant, awkward, even wrong over time.

I am afraid that you are not going to convince
the crowd here on Groklaw with your blank refusal
to listen to reasonable arguments and throw bad
examples back at us. Mechanical inventions like
the Wright flyer are certainly patentable. They
were around when patent law was written, and
patents work more or less the way they should
for such things. The patent system is broken for
*software*, and that is what we are discussing
here. You should not pretend it is a simple matter.

The argument here is that software is not a
part of the machine. It is operating instructions
on how to run the machine to perform a certain
task. The strange legal construct of a "particular
machine" built from hardware and software has the
unusual property that the hardware can be interchanged
with a totally different but compatible general
purpose computer running the same or equivalent
software. What part of the invention is then tied
to the hardware? I would say that nothing is in
the hardware, the entire invention is in the
software, and software as such cannot and should
not be patented.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Was the Wright Flyer patentable?
Authored by: darkonc on Friday, July 20 2012 @ 02:12 PM EDT
This actually adds to my point.

The fact that the Wright Flyer was mad of wood burlap pulleys and rope wasn't an intrinsic part of their patent. The patent was in how they were combined to make a flying machine.
There's only one way to load memory into processor memory, so loading memory locations is not, in and of itself, a patentable step.

Getting most birds to fly is pretty easy (just run at it). Getting a person to fly is not so easy (and, thus, patentable back them). -- but even then, it wasn't just the idea that you could get a person to fly that was patentable -- it was how you got them to fly.

Software patents often attempt to patent a general idea, without even to bother describing how the implementation method is unique... .. thus they end up patenting the idea rather than the method (and method is what patents are supposed to protect.)

---
Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

The addition of the software is SUGGESTED by the computer maker.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 20 2012 @ 06:12 PM EDT
Your analogy is correct as far as it goes, but then you make a fundamental
mistake: you assume that adding the new software is in some sense a new,
original use of the general-purpose computer.

*It isn't*. The general purpose computer was *explicitly designed* to run *all
possible software*.

Now, using your XBox (a computer designed *only* to play games) to run
scientific computation software -- *that* might be patentable, perhaps, as a new
use of an old device.

But the PC was designed to run literally *any* software.

Claiming that putting new software in it is patentable is *exactly* like
claiming that putting a new LP on the phonograph is patentable.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Was the Wright Flyer patentable?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, July 21 2012 @ 03:58 PM EDT
The Flyer was probably patentable. It was patentable subject matter in my view. It is a new machine. What was not patentable is the process of using the Wright Flyer to fly, nor the process of using the Wright Flyer to make loopings (if the machine was able to do that.)

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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