decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal


User Functions

Username:

Password:

Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

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.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.


What's New

STORIES
No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


Sponsors

Hosting:
hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Webmaster
Two Worlds of Software Patents | 217 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Two Worlds of Software Patents
Authored by: Ian Al on Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 04:14 AM EST
From the report by Tkilgore on the Software Patent Conference in Santa Clara.
Next up was Michael Risch. His views are familiar to many of us from the previous discussion here, on Groklaw. He made the following points:

We need to apply existing laws more rigorously.

...

3. Obviousness. He mentions the Groklaw discussion and the view that the invention was the general-purpose programmable computer and not the programs which people write to run upon it, which therefore will all be in some fundamental sense obvious. He explicitly rejects this characterization, and says that the problem with obviousness is: What was the problem? That might be the biggest part of the problem. Because of this, he is unwilling to reject categorically the patenting of software.

My comment:

It is not clear to me what Risch's boundaries are for patentability. If patentability hinges upon non-obviousness due to having asked the right question to solve, are we not back again to patentability of ideas and concepts?
The Groklaw argument (on which I did not comment) was that the computer was prior art and not novel and that use of the computer was obvious. That left the issue of whether the software on the computer was also obvious.

Since the entire body of the software is algorithms out of the software language book, it is all obvious. The non-obvious aspects are the clever, new, abstract ideas that went into the solving of problems by the application of reasoning and logic. The skill of the art of writing source code is then used to encapsulate those non-obvious ideas. These ideas are not fixed in the medium of the computer. The algorithms are all that is fixed in a medium and are the expression of the results of the application of reasoning. The ideas, reasoning and logical thoughts are not protectable by either copyright or patent.

It could be that Tkilgore missed the point that Michael Risch made and that Risch was not proposing that it was legal to patent the solution to a problem. Then software patents would not be, as Richard Stallman put it, patents on thought, which amount to patents on the use of the human brain to reason and to solve problems by the application of reasoning.

Tkilgore was there and had an iron grip on the issues being discussed. I am fully confident that he did not misreport Michael Risch.

---
Regards
Ian Al
Software Patents: It's the disclosed functions in the patent, stupid!

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )