Subject: Patents (was Re: DiBona, Allman, Tiemann, O'Reilly, Perens interview)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 11:08:54 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "kms" == Karsten M Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com> writes:

    kms> The implication being, of course, that the idiocy of the PTO

Can somebody please point me to a reference where the patent office
advocates the continuation of the current state of affairs?

As I understand it from the few citations I've seen where patent
examiners are actually quoted, the Patent Office itself would rather
not deal with software patents, but they feel under pressure to move
these things because of poor court decisions and their statutory
obligations.  Please remember that those of you in the jurisdiction
across the Pacific live under a legal system with real checks and
balances and distributed powers (albeit too many and too much) of
government.

Of course they're not going to admit they're doing a bad job on prior
art in order to move those applications, and that's a little bit
sleazy.  Big deal, everybody fudges that way, including most open
source advocates.  So if this is not policy desired by the PTO, can we
stop slamming people most of whom are just doing their jobs, as far as
I can tell, and would probably like to do them well if only the rules
would let them?

Maybe we could actually get the PTO on our side if we stroked them a
bit.  Novel idea, that?

    kms> coming of a stage where it impacts Wall Street and the
    kms> ability of the F-500 to transact daily business.  We bay be
    kms> reaching a watershed at which the breakage is so immediately
    kms> apparent that there will be calls for reform, from interests
    kms> more monied and politically connected than the (free)
    kms> software industry.

Wishful thinking, IMO.  Patenting business methods probably works in
favor of the Fortune 500; they can afford to pay the license fee if
reasonable or break the patent if that's cheaper (and most of them are
breakable).  And the traditional brokerage firms would love to see
E*Trade and company tied up in patent litigation.  And not just in
finance---there are lots of traditional firms (even in non-traditional
industries) out there who see substantial benefits in a Luddite stance
on e-business.

I think it works both ways, of course; I just think that those who
would like e-business to go away, at least for a while, are more
wealthy and more entrenched than those who stand to gain from it.

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