Subject: Re: Novel anti-software-patent article
From: DJ Delorie <dj@delorie.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 14:59:50 -0500


> So, *totally* abolishing patents seems to have the effect of turning
> crypto algorithm research from a business into a hobby.  How does
> that advance the state of the arts?

The original idea was to encourage businesses to do the research by
allowing them to profit off their work *for a time*.  IMHO, the
biggest problem with the system is that the "time" is too long.  If
algorithm patents were good for, say, a small number of years from
application, and software copyrights were only good for a small number
of years from publication, instead of being good for (effectively)
forever, we'd see a good blend of companies striving to push
technology and new technology entering the public domain.  The expiry
times for patents and copyrights should be long enough for companies
to recoup their costs and make a reasonable profit, but no longer.

I wonder - can the public sue companies who have profited too much
from patented works, on the basis that they have unjustly kept the
work out of the public domain?

Another wonder - could patent and copyright law limit profit from
works to some multiple of investment?  For example, if FooCo spent
$10mil on a work and patented it, once they'd made $100mil they'd lose
all legal protection for their patent and works derived from it?