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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.

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Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Exactly
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 15 2013 @ 06:34 PM EDT

That's why I kept my mouth shut while it was previously being worked on :)

It's easier to suggest something when you're not arguing with yourself over the pros and cons of it.

RAS

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

My only concern: Software IS Abstract
Authored by: Wol on Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 12:30 PM EDT
Not sure how good this is, but if we're aiming to educate rather than draw hard
and fast lines in the sand, then the following might make it clear why software
is abstract.

What is software? Why is it abstract? Let's look at the following - a printout
of a computer program's source code, a text file of the same, and a stack of
punched cards of the same. Where is the invention? What is patentable here? Any
one of them can be mechanically converted into any of the others.

Let's now go to an old-fashioned computer that uses punched cards. We have three
bins - the program input bin, the data input bin, and the data output bin. We
switch the machine on, it reads the program input bin, reads the data input bin,
and chucks a load of freshly punched cards into the data output bin. Once again,
this freshly punched stack can be converted to a text file on disk or a
printout.

We now drop this fresh stack of cards into the program input bin, a new set of
punched-card data into the data input bin, and and run the new program to get
fresh data in the output bin. We drop this output stack into a printer input bin
to get a readable printout. Where in all this is anything patentable?

All that needs to be pointed out now is the drift in the meaning of words. This
ancient computer was pretty much just an ALU, now known by hardware technicians
as a CPU. The input and output bins have been replaced by a hard disk. What we
now call a computer (what many members of the public now call a CPU!) was in the
days of this old computer the entire contents of the computer room!

But at the end of the day, the software is - and always has been - the
INFORMATION that is stored on printout or punched cards or text file. This is
not patentable material, although the machine it is fed into, or through, or out
of, may be patentable. And as this example also shows, software can be data, and
data can be software, after all we fed the contents of the data output bin into
the program input bin :-)

Cheers,
Wol

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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