Subject: patents
From: Seth Gordon <sethg@ropine.com>
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 14:21:00 -0400

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
>     Taran> Is there a way out of this mess that any of you see?
> 
> (1) Ameliorate the patent system by raising the absolute bars of
> novelty and unobviousness, and by introducing an adversarial process
> where the claims are published and analyzed publicly.  (I suggest this
> only because I think these reforms are far more likely than abolition
> of software/business method patents, and it would help.)

I wonder if a great deal of chaff could be cut out of the patent system 
by simply requiring that a patent must involve a combination of *more 
than two* previously known methods in order to qualify as "not obvious", 
so that

(a) you can't get a patent for "doing X on a computer" or "doing X over 
the Internet", when X is something that everybody and his brother knows 
how to do with paper and pencil

(b) if someone patents a process that requires X, Y, and Z, then any 
process achieving the same result by doing W, X, and Y would not infringe.

Then I wonder if the typical patent lawyer is glib enough to work around 
such a simple requirement.  Probably, eh?