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Comment: Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (Score 1) 584

by Petrini (#41425409) Attached to: Federal Judge Says No Right To Secret Ballot, OKs Barcoded Ballots

Dear Interested Slashdot Reader,

None of the Federalist Papers, Declaration of Independence, or the collected wisdom and sayings of Thomas Paine are law in the United States of America. I wouldn't appeal to those as sources of authority for constitutional law, although they are fine reading on the history surrounding the formation of our laws. Yes, I understand you said constitutional "history", but you're really arguing for how the constitution should be interpreted by suggesting context. My point is that we're going to go to the document itself, as we should.

Additionally, I agree with your overall perspective and occasionally present it to others. That said, you'd get far more traction citing argument from the Constitution, US Supreme Court judicial decisions, and Federal laws. These are actually binding, whereas the sources you cite are entertaining (and at best, persuasive) reading. None will hold up when flatly contradicted by what was actually passed or decided, despite their other merits.

Finally, I'm in GP u38cg's camp on this one. I read far too much sophistry and pomposity on /. to take it seriously. Federal judges have no understanding of constitutional law and some random poster here does? Right. Doctors probably don't understand medicine or anatomy because I read an article and have an opinion, too.


Comment: Re:Does not Affect Prior Art Doctrine (Score 1) 362

by Petrini (#35438892) Attached to: Senate Passes Landmark Patent Reform Bill

This isn't true. A prior art will still cause an application to be denied under 35 USC 102. This means that if any sort of prior art is published (i.e. available to the public) that would anticipate or render an application invalid, it would still operate to render the application unpatentable.

Yeah, sure.

Like USPTO concerns itself with prior art searches. .

Right there was where you revealed you have zero experience with the US patent system. Strong opinion, though.

Comment: Re:First-to-file is good, not bad (Score 1) 362

by Petrini (#35438874) Attached to: Senate Passes Landmark Patent Reform Bill

There has been no prosecution for lying on a patent application under perjury laws since 1974, when the patent office closed its enforcement department. Lawyers sometimes get penalties if they are caught in inequitable conduct, but not the lying applicants. Thus, there was no penalty for pre-dating your invention.

Inequitable conduct by either the applicant or the attorney results in an invalid patent. So, yes, the lying (or deceptive or misleading...) applicants do have a penalty.

Comment: Re:Confiscated? (Score 1) 1060

by Petrini (#34478478) Attached to: Wikileaks Founder Arrested In London

Confiscated and closed the account are not the same thing, and do not have the same effect.

His account was closed: he will have his money returned to him.

His account was not confiscated as the government did not take his money for itself.

His account was also not frozen, where the bank held his money, but he was temporarily unable to access it.

Comment: Re:wtf? (Score 1) 129

by Petrini (#34155480) Attached to: USPTO Decides To Lower Obviousness Standards

I'm not sure if you're trolling or not, but what the hey.

Many inventions, even some of the best, are only obvious after you've seen them. Hindsight is 20/20. How many times have you seen a new product and said to yourself or someone else: why didn't I think of that?!

Does that mean that none of these are inventions that are deserving of patent protection? The consensus among people who think about these things is: no, obvious in hindsight isn't a good reason to reject a patent. That's the rationale. So, I guess there can be one.

So, how do you decide what would have been obvious to someone who was thinking about the problem, without having seen the solution, as you now have? These tests are how the USPTO tries to answer that question.

Finally, what makes you think patent lawyers are ignorant? By definition, all of them have a technical degree or university-level training. Many practicing in the biochem field have advanced degrees. PhD is almost a requirement for entry. Many were also researchers before making the transition. Patent lawyers have a much older average starting age than your prototypical lawyers. Heck, I know one who was a tenured university professor for 20 years before looking for a new challenge.

Your post reads to me like the simplistic reaction of someone who's spent maybe 2 minutes thinking about this in the last month -- and both of them after reading this article. I could very well be wrong, but then I'd say you're just poor at communicating.

Comment: Re:Indeed (Score 1) 973

by Petrini (#32805726) Attached to: A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars

Just so you know, minors can enter into contracts. They're legally voidable by the minor, but they are not void. An example should make this part clear:

A minor buys a car from a dealer using a sales contract. The minor can choose, a week later, to void the contract, return the car, and take back the money paid for it. The dealer cannot. If the minor pays for the car and then the dealer doesn't deliver it, the minor can sue for breach of the contract, choosing an enforceable contract over a void one. Minor's choice.

That's how the law allows for contracts between competent parties and minors: we place the risk on the non-minor.

Comment: Re:No Surprise... (Score 1) 283

by Petrini (#32751846) Attached to: Liberal Watchdog Questions White House Gmail Use

Fortunately, there's a politically-neutral website tracking this for you, in case you forget things.

The Obameter currently stands at:

118 promises kept;
36 compromises;
19 promises broken;
82 stalled;
247 in the works; and
3 unrated.

So, yes, I think there are some he has kept, along with some of every other sort.

Comment: Re:Just give us a name (Score 1) 1204

by Petrini (#31995974) Attached to: Police Seize Computers From Gizmodo Editor

The finder wanted to return the phone to its rightful owner and couldn't confirm it was Apple and didn't trust that the bartender wouldn't just sell it once he realized it was valuable.

2) A thief would say that. And we know he's a thief because he sold the device that he didn't actually own.

Well, in the land of found-property law, the bartender actually has better claim to the found phone than the person who found it. The rationale is that the store proprietor is a permanent resident, and the rightful owner would probably return to the place he lost it -- here, the bar. And, in fact, that's what happened here. The bar owner reported the phone's owner calling repeatedly and frantically to find out if the phone had been turned in. It would have been better for all involved to give it to the bartender.

Comment: Hello? (Score 1) 881

by Petrini (#28973815) Attached to: Murdoch Says, "We'll Charge For All Our Sites"

I sense some cognitive dissonance here. You say, "[H]aving newspapers that are controlled by a wealthy megacorp oligarchy is the exact opposite of [an informed citizenry]. And your sig says, "This video reveals Obama's Real Agenda in his own words" with a link to... foxnews.
It looks like you're trying to inform the citizenry by sending them to news controlled by a wealthy megacorp oligarchy. Maybe I'm missing something. It's early.

Comment: Patellar reflex desensitization (Score 1) 121

by Petrini (#28654725) Attached to: Cell Phones That Learn the Sounds of Your Life

The whole government? If so, I'm pretty sure they'd never be able to agree on how to get to my house.

What useless fearmongering. When cell phones first became pervasive, people had this same kind of hysteria: Oh no, we're all carrying microphones attached to a phone network! The government can work with cell phone companies to eavesdrop on our lives! 1984 was just a decade late!

After all the repetition of not outlawing technology that has legitimate alternative uses (i.e. p2p software), it's sad to see how many kneejerk fear responses there still are to each new advance that could be misused. The point of the article isn't that cell phones now have microphones that can be enabled, it's that the software is getting better at sound identification in context. And that has plenty of good uses, which the article lists, if you could disturb your paranoia to take look.

Yes, I readily agree that spying via mining of the resulting data could easily accomplished. But let's be serious: most of these phones already have a GPS receiver -- you're not panicking about "the government" tracking your every movement already, are you? And if you are -- just don't buy one. Nothing's making you use a phone with these capabilities.

Friday afternoon, when all the crazies come out.

Comment: Law is Complex (Score 1) 339

by Petrini (#28518307) Attached to: Of Catty Rants and Copyrights

I'm a mechanical engineer-turned-patent attorney.

My undergraduate degree was chock full of tests where you drew a square centimeter-sized box around the final, right answer. Bridge fell over if it was too small, collapsed under its own weight if too large. Either way, someone was unhappy.

Law school was the polar opposite. I expected this, because it deals with an infinite permutations of human situations conflicting with abstract guiding principles. I accept this. To some degree, I enjoyed it during the education phase. I certainly enjoy it in the practice phase. Makes things challenging, keeps me on my mental toes.

If you want the cut-and-dry world, stay in programming. Nothing where human interactions are managed will ever be clearly-defined with immutable rules of logic and physics. To expect the law to be that way is naive and/or unrealistically simple. This is not to say that lawyers don't exacerbate the situation from time to time. But there is little that makes for easy decisions in the world of human behavior.

Comment: Paper or plastic? (Score 3, Interesting) 399

by Petrini (#28430137) Attached to: Kodak Kills Kodachrome

My family's house did burn down while I was in high school, with two younger siblings. Many photos were lost. Some, forever. Most are back, however, including photos of my childhood and that of my parents. Over the years, we had exchanged photos with our family. After we were settled and life had returned to normal, everyone returned pictures. We even got some new ones I'd never seen before.

Digitize your photos, if you like. Don't forget to grab all your thumb drives as you're evacuating, or have them stored remotely and/or online, if you like. Whatever you choose.

My only purpose in commenting was to share the experience I had of witnessing how my family's cultural/social interaction had provided for off-site data recovery. I don't know if anyone was trading pictures for a reason, but it worked out nicely. The lesson is applicable to digital photos as well: off-site backup! The medium isn't nearly as important as the practice.

Comment: Re:quote (Score 1) 435

by Petrini (#28312049) Attached to: 14-Year-Old Boy Smote By Meteorite

I interpreted that sentence to mean there is only one chance in a million of surviving being hit by a meteorite, not that the chance of being hit at all was so small. I would guess the odds of being struck at any second are far less than one in a million, or we'd be splattered all over the place. Similarly, it seems like the odds of surviving are much higher than one in a million, unless, in addition to our two survivors, there are 1,999,998 smoten people we haven't heard much about.

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken