Subject: Re: & Patenting
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 13:18:25 +0200

I think you miss much of the point

1 -

even assuming PTO fairness and/or competence (which can be disputed)

  writing disclosure in a way that does protect the freedom of an idea
is as difficult as writing a patent. Hence costly and time consuming.
 ... but has nothing to do with explaining the idea clearly for people
to use (that is textbooks and scientific publications - ideally :-)

  We do not have that kind of resource, serving little
educational/informational purpose (have you read a patent lately ?)

  So the disclosure will not prtect well the ideas ... but will give
them to others for patenting around what has been disclosed.  And you
can believe some people are good at fencing off an invention.

 "We want to build picket fences around the technologies that we think
are most important for the future."
 Jeff George, Vice President, Intellectual Property and Standards,
AT&T. Abstract of presentation (in Technology Review), April 13th,
2000, MIT.

2 -

 note that the PTO is often incompetent, if only  for lack of time
... no reflection on the IQ of examiners. ... but forget that

> themselves. I more or less understand the basic arguments against the
> patent system, and although i generally support the right to one's own
> IP creations, and being able to keep others from it

3 -

>  I more or less understand the basic arguments against the
> patent system, and although i generally support the right to one's own
> IP creations, and being able to keep others from it

on what basis ...  ?

... and keep from it even those who invented independantly ?

for how long  (and again on what basis) ?

etc ...

what do you mean by IP: copyright or patents ... it is not the same.

Just to guide your thought, one citation (from an allegedly communist
propaganda document) :

... To promote Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for
limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their
respective Writings and Discoveries.

the first part of the sentence matters.



On Mon, May 14, 2001 at 02:25:47PM -0400, Adam Theo wrote:
> I first must say I have mostly followed this thread, although it often
> goes way over my head, since I've never been involved or educated
> about the patenting system, especially when it comes to the court and
> legal aspects of it. But with that said, I still do have my own
> opinions on it, and want to reply to the arguments going on that I can
> still remember.
> First, on the issue of the PTO. It has been said (can't remember who,
> read it a few days ago) that and those like it are a bad
> idea because they will effectively destroy any chance of stopping a
> new patent by taking away opponents best weapons in the court: prior
> art the PTO did not consider. I say i think it is doubtful (with my
> very limted knowlege and experience about the PTO's record, anyway)
> the PTO is so biased or incompetant that they will disregard all prior
> art no matter what. i think that all prior art brought before the PTO
> would be effective if it clearly showed (i heard the proper
> terminology for this used in this thread, but can't remember) that the
> new patent being applied for was not significant enough. So prior art
> should not be brought before a new patent application at the PTO only
> serves to wrack up costs in court, delay the ultimate decision on the
> matter, and be overall a waste of effort when it could be done in the
> first place at the PTO.
> Second, on the issue of PTO fairness. One of the arguments for
> withholding prior art from the PTO to bring it up in court is that the
> PTO *is* biased or incompetant (or something else with the same
> effect). It *will* almost automatically disregard all prior art and
> grant the patent anyway, and therefore destroying any chance of
> getting the patent "undone" in the courts. To this i say the problem
> then is not the openness of prior art, but fixing the PTO. I know,
> many will think this is impossible, or not worth the effort. I say it
> can be done, and is very worth the effort to try. It is, after all,
> dealing with the entire IP system of the U.S., and indirectly the
> world.
> Third, on the issue of the Courts' fairness. Basically follow the
> point above, just replacing 'PTO' with 'The court', with the same
> conclusion.
> Fourth, on the issue of economic benefits of 'open patents'. (i'm using
> that 'open patents' term until i know what else to use, i'm sure there
> is a proper name for it.) (and also to say i am not an economist,
> although i always wish to learn more of it.) with the lagal issues of
> prior art and whether patens should exist in the first place, i feel
> the best situation for the american people, and also american business
> and government (although they would not think so, preferring the
> status quo) is to have prior art readily accessible not only for the
> PTO and court cases, but also for potential patent applicants
> themselves. I more or less understand the basic arguments against the
> patent system, and although i generally support the right to one's own
> IP creations, and being able to keep others from it, i do feel the
> current patent system... well, sucks. it gives way too much power to
> some, and not enough to others, creating a system where it's becoming
> increasingly easy for those with the power to gain more at the expense
> of those who don't. I like patents overall, and think they should be
> kept, so the best solution is to have all patents readily accessible,
> and allow, even encourage, everyone else to look at them and try to
> create similar creations that are only slightly different, hopefully
> improved. the original patent holder still has rights to his creation,
> but the new guy has rights to his slight alteration. this
> re-introduces free competition into the IP system, and although this
> could result in higher costs for developing old technologies, it will
> reduce the cost for developing new ones. what i mean is it would favor
> the newcomer over the person who is already in the field, but i don't
> know enough economics or law to fully develop this point. i am very
> imnterested, however, so if anyone can help educate me on his, i would
> be much appreciative.
> -- 
>    /\    --- Adam Theo ---
>   //\\   Theoretic Solutions (
>  /____\     Software, Politics, and Advocacy
> /--||--\ email:   AIM: Adam Theo 2000
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>    ||  "Did you ever get the feeling the world was a tuxedo,
>    ||     and you were a pair of brown shoes?"

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