Subject: Re: patents and web services
From: "David H. Lynch Jr." <>
Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2006 13:34:00 -0400

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Precisely.  Patents are not intended to be a reward for discovering
> answers to engineering problems.  Any troglodyte with a mail-order BS
> in engineering can do that.  Patents are a reward for answering the
> question, "Why would anybody think they need this?"
> The implementation is very inaccurate, which makes patents a very
> expensive device to accompish such reqards.
    So patents are about marketing not inventing ?
    I would agree that the reward (to the patent holder) of a patent is
proportional to marketplace success.
    But the purported purpose is "the advancement of the useful arts"
which to me sounds alot like the the public benefits of solving
engineering problems.

    Your view of talented professionals is fairly dim. One of the
strongest arguments that patentable solutions are "invented" as opposed
to "discovered" is that it is supposed to require both a high degree of
incite and a great deal of skill to come up with a patentable solution.
My experience is that all professions are made up of a high percentage
of  troglodyte's most of whom are marginally capable of meeting the
mundane requirements for their profession much less actually conceiving
of a truly innovative solution to anything.

>     simo> Same level of bogus assumptions you do, you seem to assume
>     simo> that a Company would like to share a secret without taking a
>     simo> very big advantage out of doing that.
> No such assumption is necessary for patents to be socially beneficial
> (it's also unlikely to be sufficient for software patents).  It is of
> course necessary to ensure that the privileges that hackers have
> enjoyed to date are maintained.
    Once again, why are patents socially beneficial ? That is a
fundamental underlying presumption to this whole discussion.
    At a purely practical level there seems to be building evidence that
patents are much more societally expensive than we previously presumed.
    I think at the core of the anti-software patent argument is the
intuitive belief of software developers that software development is not
practical within the patent model.
    But more fundimentally, there is atleast some evidence that patents
do not produce the societal benefits they were created to accomplish.
That they do not actually foster innovation.
    And that in many instances they reduce innovation.

    If patents are such an obvious societal good, then it should be
fairly easy to prove benefits beyond assertions that the benefits are
known and obvious.


Dave Lynch 					  	    DLA Systems
Software Development:  				         Embedded Linux
fax: 1.253.369.9244 			           Cell: 1.717.587.7774
Over 25 years' experience in platforms, languages, and technologies too numerous to

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of
genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
Albert Einstein