Software Patents Stifle Innovation

cageymaru

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Jonathan Rosenberg is the VP/CTO Collaboration at Cisco, SIP lead author, and a VoIP industry pioneer. He has written a blog post about the vagueness of software patents and how this has created the modern day patent troll. Patent trolls are companies that don't make a product but collect patents with the intent of using the vagueness of the descriptive language contained in the patent to "creatively" apply them to as many products as they can.

The patent trolls operate as a "protection racket" as they sue companies that make real products to collect a "tax" on their work. They often win in court because older patents are written absurdly vague so that they can apply to a myriad of products. This in turn stifles innovation as the companies have to hold off on hiring more workers to pay the patent troll for example. Mr Rosenberg suggests that software should be forbidden from having a patent. If that is too radical a change for today's society, then he suggests that only companies that actually create products based on the patent should be able to sue for damages.

It is expensive to file patents though, and so a more recent tactic that companies are taking to defend themselves is to publish inventions on a website. Once published, an invention cannot be patented by anyone else subsequently. If a troll should have a patent which is claiming something similar to the published invention, the patent can be overturned on grounds of "prior art"--meaning it had already been invented previously, and the website serves as proof.
 

DrBorg

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What blew my mind is that you can patent something from the 30's, and it will get approved.

Most Patents fail the "obviousness" test.

As you said, "Water==Wet" that's probably patentable, unless there a current patent.
 

Aireoth

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What blew my mind is that you can patent something from the 30's, and it will get approved.

Most Patents fail the "obviousness" test.

As you said, "Water==Wet" that's probably patentable, unless there a current patent.

The patent system is the biggest single weakness in Western countries competing with say China.
 

pfc_m_drake

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Fundamentally, the idea of patents (to protect innovators) is fine. In practice, it simple comes down to who has the most money for lawyers these days.
You need look no further to the fact that Apple was granted a patent on a paper bag about 2 years ago to convince yourself of that fact.

edit: A link for those interested. I love the abstract. "A paper bag is disclosed." LOL.
 

cjcox

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Here's the way I see it. Patents in the USA are designed to protect "big companies" by allowing companies in foreign countries to advance and all the while watching those same USA "big companies" ship all their jobs over seas. Nicely played legislature. It's a lose, lose, lose, lose for the USA. And while we feel we're reaping the outcome of this today, it's only begun folks.
 

chili dog

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I read somewhere that because all computer programs can be expressed as math equations using Lambda calculus, and since you can't patent an equation, you therefore can't patent a program.
 

Mazzspeed

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Patents stifle innovation, in other news the sky is up, and water is wet.

Except we can't control the fact the sky is up and the water is wet. Unlike the laws of reality, the meager laws governing us as a race need to change. The problem is the Governments of the world are equally as corrupt as the patent trolls.
 

SamuraiInBlack

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I think once you're awarded a patent you should have x amount of time to have a working product using stuff that applies to that patent. If you don't have a product on hand by that time, the patent becomes void/anulled.
 

Xrave

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Don’t think this is accurate. US changed a few years ago and you can no longer file based on prior art. It’s now first to file like every other country.
 

Uvaman2

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Eliminating software patents make sense. Requiring that the company ' has products' or some such could be a problem that leads to even more market domination of already dominant companies.. its not like ms google apple and so on are above " patent trolling" .
 

shspvr

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Eliminating software patents make sense. Requiring that the company ' has products' or some such could be a problem that leads to even more market domination of already dominant companies.. its not like ms google apple and so on are above " patent trolling" .
Many patents make absolute no sense what so ever as the description is mostly base on visual display and layout and input which to get the desired effects or results on a screen which can be done in many different ways if you take look at past prior art it petty much was the same way only done in different method.
As for Jonathan suggests that only companies that actually create products based on the patent should be able to sue for damages I'm going to have agree but the biggest problem is that patent rules where intended for a mechanical world, Unlike say patents for drug formulas patents and as I see it software often effectively grant ownership of concepts, rather than tangible creations.
I do agree all software patent should some kind need a time limit to more then 15 to 20 years even with a reissue or revision that apply to another patent as add-on an must to all party's you know the joint companies.
Then what to do about abandoned software so what shell we ever do with that LoL.

We dont compete with China. They steal literally every piece of innovative tech we produce.
That hardware not so much software as they don't need to steal anything in this area as software is no different then baking a cake or pie as it can be done only so many way where you still end with the very same results and made for there area no where else.
 
Last edited:
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those companies with billions and billions of cash do not want to buy these stray patents, cause they want to abuse the system as much as the other guy
 
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Messages
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Many patents make absolute no sense what so ever as the description is mostly base on visual display and layout and input which to get the desired effects or results on a screen which can be done in many different ways if you take look at past prior art it petty much was the same way only done in different method.
As for Jonathan suggests that only companies that actually create products based on the patent should be able to sue for damages I'm going to have agree but the biggest problem is that patent rules where intended for a mechanical world, Unlike say patents for drug formulas patents and as I see it software often effectively grant ownership of concepts, rather than tangible creations.
I do agree all software patent should some kind need a time limit to more then 15 to 20 years even with a reissue or revision that apply to another patent as add-on an must to all party's you know the joint companies.
Then what to do about abandoned software so what shell we ever do with that LoL.


That hardware not so much software as they don't need to steal anything in this area as software is no different then baking a cake or pie as it can be done only so many way where you still end with the very same results and made for there area no where else.

free pie or a pie that i need to spend money, including buying a oven , culinary training and paying electric bills, to make myself, which might not be so tasty too?
 

PaulP

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The problem isn't allowing patents on software; it is the fact that the examiners at the USPTO have no expertise in software. They literally have no way of knowing what is "obvious to a practitioner in the art" and what is novel. And just forget about recognizing prior art. Until this is fixed, software patents will continue to be problematic.
 
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