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Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 2) 84

Is the author high, or trying to sneak in support for an invalid patent, or just plain confused? Patents affect who can make a product. Not the sale or use of the item after the initial manufactures sale.

35 U.S. Code 271 - Infringement of patent

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent.

Use is in general covered. The court has in 1992 upheld this:

The plaintiff in the case owned a patent on a medical device, which it sold to hospitals with a "single use only" notice label. The defendant purchased the used devices from hospitals, refurbished them, and resold them to hospitals. The Federal Circuit held that the single-use restriction was enforceable in accordance with the 1926 General Electric case,

But now it's not so clear:

The 2008 Supreme Court decision in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., arguably leaves unclear the extent to which patentees can avoid the exhaustion doctrine by means of so-called limited licenses (...) At least two district courts have concluded that Mallinckrodt is no longer good law after Quanta.

Can you avoid patent exhaustion by only giving a limited patent license? There is no clear answer in law, it's a common law doctrine. If they go back to the 1992 decision and say we meant that, the Quanta case was different then single use cartridges will be legal. The Quanta case was more if the product embodies all the essentials of the patent, the right is exhausted. In which case the sticker doesn't bind anyone else from reusing the cartridge.

Comment Re:Given that Venezuela's economy is tanking (Score 1) 54

because of a temporary drop in oil prices (we're a long way off from oil becoming worthless) why the heck are they doing so bad? I'm not gonna chuck if up to gov't corruption because _everywhere_ has that. Usually the rest of the world will send some aid to a country floundering like this. Heck even Greece got some. Did they piss everybody off somehow?

As I understand it the main problem is that the shortages and massive inflation means that most people spend most of their day standing in line for the scraps rather than do anything productive. And when they do get to buy some subsidized goods they overbuy and go to sell them on the black market, which means even more time is wasted on finding places to buy, places to sell and bartering. Running any kind of shop is pretty hopeless because you can't get reliable supplies or reliable customers or pay reliable wages. If you want anything done it's bribes, that again don't do anything productive.

Nobody will give a country loans without concessions and Chavez won't give any. Since the country is reduced to pretty much a giant money sink it's hard to see how anyone sane would invest in that economy. The only half functioning market is the black market, where anything is available to those who can pay but that too is running on fumes because so few still have money to buy with. Those who have money can get to do and have pretty much everything they want though, almost everything and everybody is for sale.

Comment Re:Please stop (Score 1) 199

It's a major problem in technology that really needs to be addressed if this country is going to be competitive in the future. It's unfortunate that it's so inflammatory, but it needs to be addressed.

Somehow I doubt it's particularly bad in the US tech industry compared to other countries, maybe there's more lawsuits but that's the American way. Anyway I think there's two quite different forms of sexism:

1. The belief that one sex is much better at something than the other by nature of their sex.
2. Inappropriate sexual comments/jokes/propositions that belong in locker rooms or on Tinder.

I'm pretty sure the first one is mostly dead and buried in the western world, at least I've never met anyone that has hinted to a natural order where doctors, engineers and mechanics are men and nurses, secretaries and hairdressers are women. Slight surprise yes, but no more than finding a man in a female-dominated occupation and never questioning their capability.

The second kind, well IT tends to attract people who are short on social antennas. Not that they're particularly wanted, but they don't get work in "people jobs" but as long as they can operate a computer they can do a tech job. That often means they haven't bonded on an emotional level and only think about women as objects for sex. Maybe they have experience from casual sex or prostitutes that reinforce that view.

Then there's the whole man-woman dynamic, for the most part men want sex and women relationships so the proposal is likely to be far more sexual. When a woman indicates she's attracted, most men will be flattered. When a man indicates he's attracted, many women will be insulted. Basically I think women in general are far more sensitive about unwanted sexual attention or objectification than men are.

P.S. Once me and one male, one female coworker had a conversation that started about her "cracking the whip" and it took a BSDM turn. And even though tolerances are higher here than in the US, I was wondering if this one had gone out of bounds. Then she took it to the next level with one of our other male coworkers as her leather gimp and a strap-on. I guess he should be the one suing about sexual harassment, if only he knew...

Comment Re:Top four comments (Score 1) 187

Man, you're completely wrong. The Earth doesn't have a population limit. 8 billion is no closer than 1 billion. We can all live comfortable, luxurious lives. The problems we're facing have nothing to do with resource exhaustion (aside from petroleum), but inefficiency and pollution. We can absolutely produce goods without air pollution. We have sources of essentially limitless energy. We can absolutely use nuclear reactors to ship goods - no need for bunker oil. It's a question of economics and political engagement.

Cool. Get back to me when you've convinced the world to put a potential nuclear meltdown in every town and every cargo ship and drive EVs so they can use it for charging. Back in the real world, CO2 levels keep going up, up and away as countries like China go modern. After that comes India, Brazil and the rest of the developing world. Even if the population boom has subsided we'll still hit 10 billion people, that's another 33% growth.

The people who talk about reducing emissions are smoking crack, we're likely to double the world's CO2 emissions in the next 40 years if the technology doesn't evolve. Make that quadruple if everybody decides to pollute as much as Americans, because if they can why can't we? Whatever improvements we make will only make the explosive growth slightly less explosive unless we invent a working fusion reactor or something. Say what you want about nuclear but in the public opinion it's beating a dead horse. We're shutting existing reactors down, not building new ones.

Comment Re:Research to extend lifespans should be banned (Score 1) 122

Correlation or causation? After all, education and prosperity are in that mix too.

Mostly correlation I think. The whole "have enough kids that some grow up" is driven by need, not love. It's not like parents consider them replaceable as human beings as if they have a spare. The need to have your kids support you in your old age is primarily economic, if you have a public system you get help and if you have private money you can hire help. So prosperity -> money for care of elderly, healthcare -> lower child deaths -> double effect of lower risk and less need. I think that's also why there's such a delay and population bulge in the transition, people have to see that hey these people had two kids and they're doing okay now as elderly, do we really need five more?

Comment Re:Top four comments (Score 1) 187

Well the two main root drivers of emissions is population growth and increased standard of living. Really poor places don't have much emissions because they don't have cars and AC and 50" TVs. It's mostly sociology and not so much science. Against this near impossible to stop tide we try to act like "green" technology will save the day. Yes, not putting CFCs in refrigerators is probably a good idea. But it's doesn't really change that most of the world's 7.5 billion people will want one and even an A+++ rated one has to be manufactured, shipped and powered.

If they were really serious about solving it, we'd have an session in the UN to introduce China's one-child policy globally until the world population is sustainable is down to a billion. Until then we have to deal with people that think recycling, driving a Tesla and eco-tourism will save the world. It's cute but horribly naive as long as most of the remaining population and the world says thanks for taking one for the team, now we don't have to sacrifice anything or make any effort. Again, making a meaningful collective change is more sociology than science.

Comment Re:Asymmetrical warfare and rules of engagement. (Score 1) 99

Realize the Russians are not trying to win this war. They want to pressure the Ukraine government to stay away from the EU/NATO (...) As soon as the Ukraine gov gives up the war will disappear.

That is to win the war, just not by military means. You make it sound like Kiev could stop, then Russia could stop, then things would be fine. Ukraine is the second poorest country in Europe, only beaten by tiny Moldova. They need good trade relations either with EU to the west or Russia to the east. Traditionally it's been east. They were in talks with the EU to open up to the west. The president was trying to halt those talks and instead make a new deal with Putin, which lead to the revolution and a pro-western government.

The only way they could "stay away from the EU/NATO" would be to basically give up on everything they've stood for and that people have died for and come begging on their knees to Putin for a new trade deal. Quite likely they'd have to formally surrender Crimea and rebel controlled territory in the east to Russia too. That's close to unimaginable and it'd probably start a new war of secession in western Ukraine. So the talks with the EU/NATO must continue while the conflict areas will be used to interrupt and delay the process.

At this point it's only a question of how long they can be kept in limbo. But the EU has shown before with Cyprus that they can accept nations with territory they consider illegally occupied, without taking any action. Whether they'd have the balls to do it with Ukraine is a different story, but it's not an absolute blocker. Already things are opening up with the association agreement, it looks like visa-free tourism is going to happen... they're heading down that track whether Putin wants them to or not.

Comment Re:Uh.... what? (Score 1) 188

I was once asked to list every address I had ever lived at. That's just about impossible unless you stayed in the house into which you were born for your whole life.

That's highly individual but I think a lot of people can do that. I tried to do a count for myself and arrived at eleven, I can name all the cities and most the roads, but if I dug through all my papers I could probably find all the addresses. I don't think I know any that's literally lived all their lives at the same address, but I know one that's only had two. Now this might be statistically biased since the only people I can follow through most their lives are the people who stayed in my home town, but I know quite a few that are between five and ten. The stereotype is often:

1. Birth home. Because parents don't want to take kids away from friends etc. same place ~20 years.
2. Collective or other shared accommodation, often combined with studies.
3. Own apartment / relocate for work
4. Share bigger apartment with partner
5. Get kids, buy house or the other way around. Stay in house (see 1)
6. Sell house, buy apartment for retirement.

And maybe few extra that is essentially the same, but nicer. Like going from a basement to a penthouse apartment or one house while you had babies/toddlers but then a nicer one with more space to kids' rooms before they start school or stuff like that. Or they're looping a bit on that move together, move apart but really most couples hold off until they're fairly sure this is a keeper. Now there's exceptions to this, people who rent with furniture and switch places al the time but for most moving is a giant pain in the ass that they don't do very often.

Comment Since SpaceX is so in favor of reuse (Score 1) 102

Fans of the book/movie "The Martian" would be happy if SpaceX does select Arcadia Planitia for their first landing site as that was the landing site of the Ares 3.

Since SpaceX is so in favor of reuse, I'm sure they wouldn't mind reusing the sound stage. Unlike those throwaway moon sound stages.

Comment Re:Conversely... (Score 1) 242

Thank you for affirming as much of my argument as you did and, also, for the corrections in the second half of that post. That's some good information, of which I was not aware. Out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on shortening the term (of both, but primarily patents, as that's your focus)?

I think patents are probably about right as is. As you note, some industries develop faster than others... but if you start basing patent term off that, then do you create different term lengths for every industry? Like pharmaceuticals get 20 years, but software gets 3? Airplanes are 15, but cars are 5? Given the number of industries and the fine delineations we could make, you'd end up with more law than the tax code... 8-bit retro indie video games get 7 months; but 8-bit retro AAA video games get 9 months... two legged walking robots get 4 years and eight months, three legged wheeled robots get 3 years and 11 months, etc. Congress would spend all of its time passing new patent term laws. And what about the cross-over technologies? Software for developing pharmaceuticals? Biological computers? Simulated cars for video games?! And what about a revolutionary new technology, where the patent is the first in a whole new industry? Hundreds of years? Or none?
20 years seems like a pretty decent compromise, particularly with the maintenance fees. One thing that could help is additional maintenance windows... Right now, you pay your fees at 3.5 years from issue, 7.5 years, and 11.5 years (with the costs increasing each time). Many software patents are abandoned before hitting that 11.5 window. But what about 5.5, or 9.5? Or even annual fees, steadily increasing? That would help encourage shorter terms for patents that are obsoleted early.

As for copyright, there are multiple parts there (copyright is often compared to a bundle of rights, with exclusive rights to make copies, distribute works, perform the work publicly, make derivative works, etc.). I think piracy - direct copies, identical to the original - is less morally defensible than, say, sampling, which falls under the derivative work umbrella. Like, if you make and distribute a copy of someone's album because you're too cheap to pay or whatnot, that's just wrong. Heck, at best, it's plagiarism. But if you sample their bass line and make a new song over it, you've created something new, and the world of art is enriched due to your joint contribution.
With that in mind, I think that the term for a derivative work should be short - like 5 years. The original artist gets to do remixes, screenplays, etc. for that period, but if they don't, then it should be up for grabs - as source for further creative works. But pure copying? That term could stay as long as it is, frankly. Let the authors exploit their original work, but let others also improve upon it.

Comment Re:Digital Rights? (Score 1) 236

I can't recall the last time I looked for media that wasn't available in an unencrypted stream within hours of being released in digital format, whatever the DRM.

Well, just checked Amazon now and there's 366 4K BluRays out, as far as I know there's no decrypting those yet. Not that I'm sure how you'd play an UHD HEVC HDR 10 bit Rec. 2020 stream properly anyway. BluRays look pretty good though...

Comment Totally not gloating (Score 4, Informative) 171

Norway
Mean: 47 Mbit
Median: 27.7 Mbit
People <4 Mbit: 3.9%
People <1 Mbit: 0.5%
People who can't get fiber: 54%
People who can't get 100/10 Mbit: 22%
People who can't get 4 Mbit on a fixed connection: 5%
People who can't get 10 Mbit LTE outdoor w/antenna: 0.06%

I thought maybe the fiber rollout would slow down, but the last stats indicate a speed up going from 41% to 46% in last year. Next year it seems likely a majority of the population can get fiber.

Comment Re:The mass of batteries never changes (Score 1) 87

The problem with all battery operated vehicles is that as the batteries get depleted, their mass never changes. With Jet fuel, gasoline, etc, as the fuel gets depleted, the mass is reduced, and thus the energy required to move the vehicle is reduced.

True, but it's hardly like a rocket where only a tiny fraction of the launch weight reaches the destination. The specs for the 747-400F (freight version) says 164 ton dry weight, 124 ton capacity, 397 ton takeoff weight. So max'ed it's (164+124)/397 = 73% plane and cargo, 27% fuel. The benefit of reduced weight will be on a weak exponential but if we round up 27%/2 to an average 15% lower fuel consumption compared to a plane that was constantly refilled by a tanker we've probably been generous. So if we could design an electric plane with 85% of the performance of a jet plane and recharge it with cheap, clean power from the grid I think it would be a smashing success. Of course we're nowhere close to that, but it's because the energy density of batteries to jet fuel sucks, not because the jet plane loses weight.

Comment Re:Conversely... (Score 4, Informative) 242

They are written vague on purpose, because to be specific, would allow others to build upon your patent, and patent their improvements, locking you into a stale old way of building said invention, never able to improve it.

This is precisely the type of abuse, by a handful of unscrupulous assholes (patent holders being, relative to the entirety of the population, a handful of people), which I propose we amend patent laws to prevent.

And, by amend, I truly mean "actually enforce the laws as written", since they already require some degree of specificity.

I am a patent lawyer, and I completely agree. My patents, of course, are clear and informative; but yes, there are many terrible ones out there. Frankly, it's partly unscrupulous assholes, but mostly incompetent and lazy assholes: to write a good patent application, you have to understand the invention... too many patent lawyers skip that step, take whatever the inventor sent them and slap some boilerplate "in some embodiments" language on it, and file it. Heck, you can still charge the same amount as a well-written patent, but can crank it out in an afternoon! What a world!

Fortunately, the courts and the patent office are finally pushing back on this. Most of the "abstract idea" rejections under Bilski and Alice Corp and other related 35 USC 101 cases are really about badly written patents that claim "A method for doing something awesome, comprising: applying rules, by an expert computer system, to do something awesome." What rules? How does it achieve that awesome result? Fark if anyone knows... the person drafting the patent sure as hell didn't. The cases that are being upheld are the ones that go into detail about what calculations are being performed, how the thing works, the low-level specifics of what it does, etc.

That said, patent law and courts and such are glacial. It'll be another decade and change before patents drafted and granted, say, 5 years ago, expire. And patent litigation with terrible patents will keep popping up over that time. But maybe by the 2030s, things'll start looking better. \_()_/

It's debatable whether the term should be shortened; many would argue it should be extended, as was done with copyright. Personally, I believe that patents and copyright were given the terms they were originally given based on how long it took to produce and circulate a work at the time that those respective laws were written; as both now take considerably less time, yes, I agree that the terms should be shortened.

Patent term has only ever been extended twice, and the second one wasn't a real extension (the change from 17-years-from-issue to 20-years-from-filing was based on an average 3 year prosecution queue, so the result is the same). Copyright has big money publishers on one side like Sony, Disney, Columbia, etc. wanting longer term and, what, pirates? The public? No money on the other side. So your bought-and-sold Congresscritter happily votes for term extensions.
But in patents, Apple, say, wants longer terms for their own patents, but shorter terms for Google and Microsoft's. And vice versa. So you get this pressure on both sides, with no real imbalance in money and lobbyists.

Incidentally, there's a safety valve in patent term already - patent owners have to pay maintenance fees that increase over the life of the patent, or it goes abandoned. Most patents in the tech sector are abandoned long before that 20 year term expires, because, after 10 years, say, they're obsolete. It's the pharmaceutical people who try to keep them alive until the very end, because of how long R&D and FDA approval takes. Increasing those maintenance fees would have the same effect of shortening patent term in fast moving industries while keeping it long where it's needed.

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