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Comment No, actually, we don't. (Score 1) 535

Most Atheists seem to be more on the Agnostic side of things; in that they acknowledge there might be, or there might not be a god. There is no solid proof either way though it's looking less and less likely given the claims of the Theists.

Stop trying to marginalize us. Agnostics call themselves agnostics or use a phrase of some sort to summarize their beliefs, and are usually fairly upfront about not wanting to be called atheists. Atheists by definition (hint: a-theist) do not believe in a god, and most of us are pretty goddamn emphatic about it.

Comment Re:The article you linked quotes exactly what I sa (Score 1) 150

Oh, a little clarification on the US Supreme Court and US law.

The Supreme Court handed down some good, but somewhat murky, rulings a few decades ago. Since then the lower courts have gone batshit insane throwing out all limitations on patentability.

Part of the reason is that many court cases involving a megacorp on one side demanding they be given a patent on X, and on the other side is some lawyer from the patent office arguing X isn't a valid invention. And of course the army of megacorp lawyers tends to steamroll the patent office lawyer, establishing some new tidbit of twisted precedence. Case, after case, after case, they steadily pushed the line (and the rules) off into the Twilight Zone.

Oh, and the corporations are free to file their case in any US district they want. So they ALL file in the same district... the Eastern District of Texas. That district has a well deserved reputation for judges having the most extreme ideology, granting and uphold anything that has the word "patent" scribbled on it in crayon.

In the last few years the Supreme Court has taken notice and started issuing some harsh smackdowns against the nutty logic of the lower courts. Unfortunately the Supreme Court has been issuing "narrow" rulings, basically they've stated that X Y and Z are insane interpretations of patent law, they've said invalid patents are being granted, but haven't clarified which or how many invalid patents are being granted, and basically all the Supreme Court said is "Yo, you're fucking up, go back and follow our old rulings on patents". Except the lower courts have spent the last few decades becoming experts in how to actively not understand those Supreme Court rulings.

So, the current general practice of US patent law is that they still accept insane patents from Twilight Zone, but the judges know most of the basis for doing so has been struck down, and the judges are arguing with each other in utter confusion desperately trying to figure out some coherent set of logic and rules.

And a major problem is that any sane set of rules, anything coherent with the old Supreme Court rules, is basically going to invalidate over a HUNDRED THOUSAND existing patents. Many of the district judges are dead set on the mindset that those patents are valid, and the more reasonable judges are insecure at the prospect of making a "radical" ruling that would create chaos by invalidating vast numbers of existing patents.

Ummm... this post was supposed to be a "small note" explaining the Supreme Court quote from my other post, and why we're in a mess despite having that obvious-solution quote. I guess I got carried away. Chuckle.


Comment Re:The article you linked quotes exactly what I sa (Score 1) 150

My perspective on computer programs is that they're always implementations of some kind of algorithm

Agreed :)

And you'll probably appreciate this U.S. Supreme Court quote:
[this] Court explained the correct procedure for analyzing a patent claim employing a mathematical algorithm. Under this procedure, the algorithm is treated for 101 purposes as though it were a familiar part of the prior art; the claim is then examined to determine whether it discloses 'some other inventive concept.'

It just seems so intuitive and obvious to me that it's hard to understand how anyone can read it differently.

Yep and yep. It has been a long and painful wrapping my head around the language and logic they use. Unfortunately being able to read it has pretty much only accomplished one-way communication so far. Every time I discuss it with a software-patent advocate I can't seem to get them to wrap their head around the (obvious to us) point that certain patent-claims disclose nothing more than new-math, and that a new math equation or new math function or new math algorithm isn't an invention.

Hell, the New Zealand law was uncommonly easy to understand. In a lot of these cases they state "Software, as such, is not patentable", without the extra explanation given in this law. Now, I'm sure you look at that and think it says software isn't patentable. But in their language "software, as such" means "software that doesn't do anything". You see, you're not claiming a patent on the software (as such), you're claiming a patent on software that does something.... you're claiming what the software does. And what the software does isn't "software as such".

Laws that loudly and pointlessly proclaim they exclude patents on "software-that-does-nothing". If you ever see "as such", that's what it means.

Yeah. Painful.


Comment Re:The article you linked quotes exactly what I sa (Score 1) 150

That's what this law says, so I think it's a victory for common sense.

No. Common sense says that new-poetry is not an invention, new-movie-plots are not an invention, and new-math is not an invention. A survey of programmers found 94% of programmers saying it's not an invention. And pardon my America-centric reference here, but the U.S. Supreme Court said it's not an invention:

[this] Court explained the correct procedure for analyzing a patent claim employing a mathematical algorithm. Under this procedure, the algorithm is treated for 101 purposes as though it were a familiar part of the prior art; the claim is then examined to determine whether it discloses "some other inventive concept."

Software is nothing more than a particular form of written-out algorithm. "New software" is nothing more than a written out "new math algorithm". All software is required to be treated as familiar prior art. You can certainly list software inside or in conjunction with an invention, the presence of software obviously doesn't remove patentability, but software itself cannot be an invention. "new math" cannot provide the requisite novelty or non-obviousness. Describing a new math algorithm isn't an invention, you only have an invention if you disclose "some other inventive concept" beyond the (presumed familiar prior art) software.


Comment Re:a sampling of responses (Score 1) 57

Alexis Parrish: My name is Alexis Parrish And I need to get my own patent please have someone. Contact me at
alexisparrish28@gmail.com... US should come up with its own distinct logo that must be present
somewhere on every item traded ;)

Ooooh...... was this supposed to be a thread for posting fake responses? Sorry, my bad.


Comment Re:OK, it's moderately amusing, but... (Score 1) 535

Makes me think of when a religious person posts an opinion on Slashdot.

Having people comment - even very caustically - because someone has paraded their superstition on a web site frequently mostly by rational people who aren't still stuck in a primitive time warp isn't the same as being shot. You get that, right?

Comment Re:The article you linked quotes exactly what I sa (Score 1) 150

where the actual contribution of an invention lies solely in it being a computer program, it is ineligible for patent protection... it will not be possible to obtain a patent for an invention that involves or makes use of the computer program if the sole inventive feature is that it is a computer program

It seems to be saying that computer programs by themselves, even if completely novel, are ineligible for patent protection

Maybe I've spend too much time learning to read patent law (and copyright law), but I'm baffled how you think it says that. It's clearly saying the only time you can't get a patent is if the *sole* contribution is that it's a program. A "contribution" means "the new thing I'm teaching the world."

Consider the classic software-patent-catastrophy example, the GIF patent. It is a purely mathematical contribution teaching how to convert one series of numbers (representing a picture) into a shorter series of numbers (representing the identical picture). This is "useful" because the picture can now be stored in a computer using less memory, and because the picture can be sent over the internet more quickly. That's the "contribution".

The law mandates that this sort of pure software patent, pure mathematics patent, must be patentable.

The only thing excluded is a patent which contributes NOTHING beyond adding the words "on a computer" to some old non-patentable thing.

And we have many in the software community cheering victory, when in fact this is a complete bait-and-switch defeat.


Comment Re:actually, no (Score 1) 150

The 237 supplement mandates that any software passing the usual "new" and "useful" requirements MUST be patentable.

10A Computer programs

        (1) A computer program is not an invention and not a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act.

        (2) Subsection (1) prevents anything from being an invention or a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act only to the extent that a claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such.

        (3) A claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such if the actual contribution made by the alleged invention lies solely in it being a computer program.

The ONLY thing excluded from patentability is something like a program to fill out your tax form, where the SOLE contribution is that it's software doing it. It rules out "X on a computer" if X is something old, and NOTHING is added to it other than "on a computer".

All the standard software patents, the GIF patent, the RSA encryption, patent, the MP3 and other audio/video codec patents, all contain novel mathematical contributions. The GIF patent contribution is that compresses image data. The RSA patent contribution is a new public-key encryption.

This is a complete and utter loss for programmers. They ruled out a laughable narrow category of blatantly bogus patent claims, and otherwise mandated any software that does anything "novel" and "useful" must be patentable.

It's appalling that such a large segment of the geek community have been completely swindled by it.


Comment Re:Just goes to show... (Score 1) 622

The closest you came to mentioning any specific codes of behavior should not be lightly discarded was your mention of the Bible. I did the best I could attempting to address your completely non-specific assertion that there was something valuable in archaic religious codes of behavior that was being (improperly) discarded lightly by modern society. I tried to imagine what you had in mind, and I'll admit some of the possibilities I considered led me to a negative expectation. However I was also firmly conscious that it would be invalid to draw any conclusions based on my imagination of what you might mean. So I specifically asked you to identify one or more examples. Like I said I suspect they won't be very good, but I'm listening and I want to fairly consider what you were trying to say.

What did you have in mind?


Comment Re:Just goes to show... (Score 1) 622

These were not arbitrary codes of behavior, these were proven ways of keeping society working over time. That doesn't mean everything is right or that one could improve upon most of it, but there's good solid advice there that should not be lightly discarded.

There is ZERO problem with anything being "lightly discarded". We're talking about crap that is literally taken as "word of god" by a majority of the population. It took fucking SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND dead Americans to get rid of slavery. It countless court battles every year, and countless criminal arrests every year, eternally fighting back Biblical versions of Sharia law. We have a large minority of the population who vote for whatever politician proclaims their adherence to the Bible the loudest, and an overwhelming majority of the population who refuse to vote for any politician who doesn't make at least some statement proclaiming the Bible is the Word Of God. We have people being murdered in Exorcisms.... and before you dismiss that as merely a few rouge extremists let me point out that one of the leading contenders for the next presidential race published a description of his own participation in a partcularly abhorrent violent crime, one which not-uncommonly ends up in a murder. And think deeply on the fact that many voters take that as reason FOR electing him to the presidency, and many are be accepting/neutral about it. If you strip the Biblical/religious angle out of that story, everyone involved should obviously be in fucking PRISON for what was done to that poor woman.

Most people aren't religious fanatics, but for a large majority of the population anything related to the Bible is given at least a passive level of default acceptance... even when it's a State Governor and possible presidential candidate recounting their participation in an abhorrent violent crime, it is passively accepted as a non-story. Even when it's someone actually campaigning for presidential candidate nomination on video participating in a ritual for protection against witchcraft in the name of Jesus, it's a non-story. No reporter cites Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live and asks whether there should be capitol punishment if a witch is caught.

No, there's NOT ONE case of "good solid advice" from the Bible being "lightly discarded". What we have in anything Biblical being deeply entrenched, with literally violent force from fanatics and passive acceptance by "moderates". What we have is an almost impossible series of struggles over endless centuries trying to dislodge the most toxic bits one-by-one.

If you want to argue your case you're going to have to do better than some empty handwave that there exists some sort of "good advice" being "lightly discarded". You're going to have to have to identify one or more examples of supposed "good advice". I rather suspect that any example you try to give will fall into at least one of three categories. Either (1) it was never particularly good advice (2) maybe it was "good advice" for a primitive barbaric society but it's not very good advice today, and/or (3) maybe it is "good advice" but it's a Golden-History fantasy to believe the advice was actually applied more in the past than it is today.


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