Subject: Re: Patents (was Re: DiBona, Allman, Tiemann, O'Reilly, Perens interview)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 18:39:14 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "kms" == Karsten M Self <> writes:

    kms> On Mon, Jan 31, 2000 at 01:54:55PM +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull
    kms> wrote:

    kms> There's still the problem of providing an incentive for a
    kms> stricter rating of patent applications.  I don't see this
    kms> happening, whether the resources for doing it are available
    kms> or not.

Same one as you have for writing good software:  pride in one's work.
Plus some push from the outside: examiners will not like having their
names associated with egregriously bad patents.  Nor will their
downstream employers.

Sure, we need to push hard on the standards, too.  But I think the
examiners themselves would like to do a better job, and would do so
given the tools.

    kms> provisions, with DMCA it's possible to make a common carrier
    kms> pull content on *assertion* of infringement, not proof.  I'm
    kms> not sure if this requires and injunction or not, my reading
    kms> of the applicable law is not.

"Make" != "injunction"?

    >> And remember, even this scenario would probably only apply to
    >> patents held by professional patent extortionists.  Companies
    >> like IBM would probably prefer cross-licensing, pools, or
    >> reasonable fees.

    kms> How about, say, and E-brokerage house defending its market
    kms> turf against other comers.  Leaving IBM alone, but picking on
    kms> smaller targets.

The other comers are going to be Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Merrill
Lynch, et al.  "Small"?

Sure they can chase you or me out, but MSDW will have an incentive to
fight that one.

    >> So I suspect that even when some F500 firm takes a hit, in many
    >> cases the outcome would be proposals for reform of a type that
    >> would be particularly ugly for OSS, tending to support the IP
    >> of well- entrenched companies with large portfolios who are
    >> well-behaved leeches, but make life difficult for people who
    >> hold one or a few patents.

    kms> Thanks for making my day, Steve.

We ain't called the "dismal science" for nothing.

It's possible that we can educate those F 500 firms, of course.  But I
don't think their natural tendency is going to be to blow away IP
protections, since most of them have legal departments with vested
interests in that.

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