Subject: Re: patent trolls and X-licensors
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2006 18:43:52 +0900

>>>>> "simo" == simo  <> writes:

    simo>  In theory the patent system should not apply for on
    simo> research, only on product selling, yet some companies have
    simo> been successful in shutting down research and publication of
    simo> results by patents

Maybe in Europe.  In the U.S. it's quite explicit.  Practicing the
patent without license, for any purpose, is forbidden.  Nor is there a
fair use exception, for research or anything else, as far as I know.

    simo> What you don't take into consideration

I did take it into consideration, and I've mentioned it explicitly in
several of my posts.  However, I don't take it as axiomatic that
preservation of the cottage industry of software development is any
more socially imperative than preservation of the cottage industry of
textile manufacture was.

What's more important is that I doubt Bill Gates sees preserving your
job (I assume) and my hobby as socially imperative, either, and he's
more likely to have the ear of both U.S. and European legislators than
you or I do.

    simo> Why do we need patents in software at all?

Who said we *need* them?  One of my points is that we *have* them, and
that those who do advocate them could respond in ways to improve their
social performance, and make them harder to repeal.

My other point is that the problem of reuse is, in certain senses,
precisely what patents are intended to address.  It seems to me that
(a) a technology that reduces the adverse impact of patents on society
would likely be applicable to the generic reuse problem and vice
versa, and (b) we really should be looking at this to see if there's
some way to provide incentives for publication of *reusable* software,
and thus make patents less attractive from that point of view.

Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory