Subject: Re: Examples needed against Soft Patents
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 20 Dec 2004 11:14:20 -0500

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org> writes:

> >>>>> "Ian" == Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com> writes:
> 
>     Ian> Unlike the traditional view of patents, software patents are
>     Ian> a mechanism which favors the entrenched companies against the
>     Ian> innovators.
> 
> It's best not to make that point as a dichotomy.  It's a matter of
> degree, and the particular parameters of the patent system.  LZW and
> RSA are arguably "good" patents; non-obvious and novel.  Net social
> benefit?  Would they have been produced anyway?  Arguable, IMO.

I take your general point, and I agree that those are arguably good
patents.

But I do think that your example of RSA, at least, is unpersuasive, as
the algorithm was published as an academic paper years before the
patent was granted, and it was years more before M.I.T. assigned the
patent to RSA, Incorporated.

Ian