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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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"extreme position" ? | 354 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
"extreme position" ?
Authored by: IANALitj on Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 08:31 PM EST
In a comment above, I pointed out that -- technically speaking -- a program that
does not terminate is not an algorithm. There are other problems with applying
technical mathematical terms to real life situations. One cannot find the
length (in the mathematical sense) of a physical object by measuring it with a
physical measuring tape. Perhaps I should try to patent the Banach-Tarski
method of manufacture (but who would infringe?)

Now let me put on my lawyer hat, rather than my programmer one.

Speaking as one who was trained by professors most of whom were Legal Realists
(a philosophy rampant at Columbia Law School over 40 years ago when I was a
student there) we really don't know -- absolutely for certain -- whether
computer programs are patentable. However, right now, in the United States, the
great weight of authority is that at least a lot of computer programs are
patentable.

It is possible that this will change.

The Supreme Court might rule that no software is patentable as such, when the
issue is brought squarely before them. (This would still leave the possibility
that a specialized machine that has software as one of its elements is
patentable, as I think a Supreme Court case has squarely held. Or the Court
could overrule that, too, but I doubt that it would.)

Congress may enact that no software is patentable as such. It surely has that
power, if it chose to change the law (or at least go against the common current
understanding of the law).

Until the present state of the law changes, pejorative terms such as useless,
expensive, and disaster may all apply, but they do not change the actual state
of the law.

There are numerous laws that are in force and are useless (and with respect to
some of them there is even general agreement). So what?

There are numerous laws that are in force and are expensive (and with respect to
many of them there is even general agreement). So what?

There are even some laws that are in force and are -- in my opinion -- entirely
a disaster (though I must admit that for most of them opinions do differ). So
what?

Until it changes, the law is what it is.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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