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RE: Patent law

Ah intellectual property wars...  Thanks for the info,
I get it now.  I guess it's the same process in which
something like Steamboat Willy never enters the public


--- jeff larson <jeff.larson@sailpoint.com> wrote:

> From: mark sottilaro
> [mailto:zerocrossing2001@yahoo.com] 
> > Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a patent a
> > protection of an idea's implementation and not an
> > idea?  
> Yes, that was the original intent of the patent
> system.  The problem
> is that there is now widespread abuse of the system,
> especially in
> software, to patent concepts or ideas rather than
> implementations
> or processes.  Hell, back in the internet glory days
> people were
> even patenting *business models*, like the concept
> of an online
> auction for plane tickets which someone thought they
> should
> "own" for the next 30 years.
> A great number of these patents are invalid because
> the inventions
> would be "obvious to practitioners in the field" or
> there is "prior
> art" that someone has already come up with that
> invention.  But this
> doesn't matter because in order to prove either of
> these you have to
> enter into a very costly legal battle.  Individuals
> and small companies
> generally just give up and make annoying changes or
> go out of business.
> This is a very important issue not only for software
> developers, but
> for consumers that want choices.  If you want some
> background, a good
> general introduction is James Gleick's article
> originally published in
> the New York Times Magazine:
>     http://www.around.com/patent.html
> For more of a scientific perspective, Jeffrey Ullman
> has an excellent
> paper here:
> http://www-db.stanford.edu/~ullman/pub/focs00.html
> Jeff

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