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Comment: Re:We need 'loser pays' laws (Score 1) 221

by ephraim (#29307923) Attached to: How To Survive a Patent Challenge?
So, let's say that your patent troll is a single corporation with no resources other than a single patent.

Said corporation then hires a lawyer who agrees to take the case on contingency and files suit against Deep Pockets Company. Two years later, Deep Pockets Company wins the case and has the patent declared invalid, after having paid out a cool $2 million in legal fees.

Deep Pockets Company now demands its legal fees from the patent troll.

There's only one problem. The patent troll's only resource was a patent that is now worthless. It has no money. What benefit does your "loser pays" law get you in this case?

Comment: Re:Hire a lawyer (Score 2, Interesting) 221

by ephraim (#29307845) Attached to: How To Survive a Patent Challenge?
You can refuse to accept it all you want. But the fact is that somebody with training and experience in ANY area will always know more than somebody without the same training and experience.

(Caveat: I disagree with your suggestion that a lawyer is a "wizard" and also disagree with your attempt to equate the reasonable suggestion that somebody hire a lawyer to do complex legal work with the idea that "the legal system ... can only be interpreted by some wizard class.")

If you wanted to design a new jet airplane, would you refuse to hire a trained expert engineer because the laws of physics are (theoretically) observable by anybody? How about police work -- do you think that any guy with a concealed weapon permit will have better instincts than a trained police officer with years on the force?

The "legal system we are all obligated to conform to" includes many disparate parts. No individual -- and certainly no lawyer -- is an expert in all of them. You describe the system's complexity and its centuries of growth and specialization as "convoluted." I would describe it as a feature of our democratic system -- as the world around us changes and modernizes, the law must grow and adapt as well.

You're more than welcome to suggest that the system's complexity makes us "subjugated by the legal system." Then again, somebody who grew up with MS-DOS and SunOS 4 is also more than welcome to make the ridiculous suggestion that modern day users are "subjugated" by Windows Vista and/or Linux because of the complexity of those systems.

The power to create law DOES derive from the people. You have the right to vote for your legislators. And to run for office. You also have the right to go to law school and learn about the basic mechanics of how the "system" works. The fact that you have made a personal choice not to do any of these things is not a fault of "the system."

And the fact is that a patent attorney with 20 years experience writing and/or litigating patents will know a thing or two about the system that you can't possibly know without his or her experience.

Comment: Law and a CS degree (Score 1) 352

by ephraim (#26322579) Attached to: Interesting Computer Science Jobs?

I see that there have already been some posts about going into law. I'll try not to repeat what's already been said. Here's my own advice, based on good experience:

(1) Work for a few years doing something CS-related. Whether coding, sysadmin work, user interfaces, or software design, pick something and stick with it for at least a few years. The benefit of doing this is that you'll get invaluable real-world experience and you'll learn what you like and what you don't like. If you're lucky and good at what you do, you might also get some exposure to the business side of CS.

(2) If you're happy with what you're doing and you believe that there's a high potential for growth, stay in your field and look no further; you've found your dream, why break it?

(3) Keep yourself informed about legal issues related to CS. These may be intellectual property, privacy, computer security, computer crime, or even HIPAA/FTC/FCC/securities regulation. Think about how the knowledge you've gained from work has help you understand the issues better.

(4) Take the LSAT. Apply to law schools. As much as it pains me to say so, you MUST be aware of how a law school's ranking affects your ability to get a good job out of school. If you go to Yale, then a good job is virtually guaranteed. It's certainly possible to get a good job out of St. John's and Brooklyn, but the risk is also higher. For some schools, you must be at the top of your class. (FYI, the more technical your skillset, the more likely that a patent prosecution firm will overlook your grades in favor of your experience -- one of the few exceptions to the general rule that LSAT/undergraduate grades/law school grades define your future.)

(5) Again, think LONG and HARD about the financial risk you'll be taking by returning to school. You may not have an income for 3 years.

With all that said, I personally find computer law to be an incredibly fascinating field. A CS background allows me to talk with computer professionals and ask the right questions. It's my job to translate computer knowledge into plain English for a judge and jury. I love the logical puzzles -- both technical and non-technical -- that I need to solve every day. I have the ability to see much more of the "big picture" that CS programmers rarely see, and I hope to eventually apply that knowledge to important policy questions.

Security

+ - Crypto researchers break electronic car locks

Submitted by ephraim
ephraim (192509) writes "Researchers in Israel and Belgium have cracked the cryptography of most automobile keyless entry systems. The remote car keys use cryptographic technology from the 1980s, and the researchers were able to make a master key in less than an hour. A short slideshow summarizing their findings (and concluding that "Soon, cryptographers will all drive expensive cars") is available here."

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.

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