Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Creative solution to patent trolls (Score 1) 455

It seems to me that if more people sued when patents were not implemented, we might have less patents out there making every developers life worse.

There never has been and never will be a practice requirement in US patent law (i.e. use your patent or lose it). Tons of things are patented because they are technically possible, but never marketed for a variety of reasons: too expensive to manufacture, not enough consumer demand, can't get enough financing, etc. Sometimes these inventions turn out to be useful later when technology / market demand catches up.

You will never convince the vast entrenched interests (companies, universities, solo inventors) to sacrifice these potential future gains just to hamper patent trolls. I suspect the trolls would adapt anyway ("See, we have one guy making widgets to sell on the street corner! We're a manufacturer!").

Comment Re:Primary factor (Score 1) 455

Let's understand the REAL issue here; the PATENT prevented everyone else from implementing a safety.

Nope, not at all. I work in patents. Another company could easily implement this feature exactly as claimed in the patent by negotiating a license with the patent holder (Apple). Or they could devise another system that works much the same way but avoids the precise bounds of the patent. Companies do this all the time, it's called design-around.

I'm dubious whether the patented system is feasible anyway. You would need some extra hardware in the phone and/or car to determine an occupant's position, or some heavy-duty AI / object recognition to tell where every person is sitting in every car in the world using the view from the phone's camera. A patent just means it's possible on a technical level, it may be completely impractical (read: expensive) to do in practice.

Comment Re:Yes please (Score 1) 304

We have members of congress regularly voting on bill that they themselves haven't read and don't understand.

Life is complicated. Legislation addresses thousand of issues, many of which are niche regulations affecting various industries, schools, government agencies, etc. Congress(wo)men can't possibly have expertise on them all.

The fact that ordinary people can't understand them is irrelevant - a regulation on sulfur emissions from coal plants has no meaning to Joe Shmoe. The U.S. is a big complicated country. Having laws only the average citizen understands would put us back in the age of robber barons.

The process (mostly) works because interest groups on all sides have experts who do understand the laws being proposed, and congress(wo)men regularly hear their opinions - including groups representing the public interest like EFF, ACLU, etc. Sometimes their concerns are dismissed, and sometimes congress(wo)men vote on interests besides good public policy (whether as favors to friends, placating donors, getting funding for their district, ideological rejections, etc). But almost nothing is passed without dissenting views at least being heard and considered by the committee.

Given the potential for abuse, it's shocking the system works as well as it does most of time. But it does work fairly well - the system hasn't imploded in 200 years (100 if you count from the beginning of industrial regulation).

Comment Re:kind of ruins the point....... (Score 1) 308

What is the university? Does it exist apart from the people giving it being? The "university" is nothing but shorthand for a group of people. If the vast majority of those people care about teaching, saying that the university cares about teaching is a useful and meaningful shorthand. It's like saying the teachers care about teaching - teachers are just another grouping of people. Pedantic troll is overly pedantic.

Comment Re:To hire specific people (Score 1) 465

Hello, I am the CEO of a giant company. Regarding your comment, can you explain the term "good faith" ? I have never heard this term before. Thanks.

Yes you have, just in different terms. It means don't leave a paper trail. Off the record. Send the secretary out of the board meeting to get coffee before discussing.

Comment Re:actual "platform" (Score 1) 668

Here is the actual Tea Party platform

Any group can come up with a bland set of principles that no one could possibly disagree with. "You don't like helping orphans and widows? You monster!"

As always, the devil is in the details. What are "excessive" taxes? How exactly does one "abide by the constitution"? This is where the Tea Party's interpretations diverge into fantasy land. But you'll never get that from a generic list of "principles".

Comment Re:Not sure. But I am opting out of the new slashd (Score 1) 193

I've seen and was horrified. Once the "old" slashdot goes away, so will this nearly two-decade user.
by Anonymous Coward on Fri Oct 18, '13 04:18 PM (#45169199)

Finally! That anonymous coward guy has been filling the forums with spam for years. I thought we'd never get rid of him.

Comment Incomplete Story (Score 5, Informative) 153

The Ars Technica piece is very slanted, pulling quotes our of context. Here's the full text of the speech itself:

For instance, compare these quotes, which give a very different perspective:

"But it is equally important that patent protection be properly tailored in scope, so that programmers can write code and engineers can design devices without fear of unfounded accusations of infringement. And we know that inconsistency in software patent issuance causes uncertainty in the marketplace and can cause threats of litigation that in turn can stifle innovation and deter new market entrants."

"Software experts have long observed that programming is incremental in nature, with modest improvements not worthy of patent protection. KSR gave us the ability to recognize this valid observation and incorporate it in our examination process."

"Should we just accept the problems, given the importance of the innovation and the illogic of discriminating against great technology that happens to be implemented in software? Of course not. The right point of inquiry is quality. By getting that right, we grant patents only for great algorithmic ideas worthy of protection, and not for everything else. This administration and its innovation agency understand that low-quality patents do no good for anyone. Low quality patents lead to disputes, uncertainty, and lost opportunity. Quality is central to our mission. All of this especially for software."

"One such initiative has already begun crowdsourcing searches for software prior art. It's called Ask Patents and is an online network hosted by Stack Exchange, where software experts engage in robust discussions of possible prior art for given applications, then submit the best prior art along with helpful commentary."

"You know, the history of software patents is not a perfect one, although things are improving. Some of the most troublesome patents have expired; others can be challenged with new post-grant proceedings; and newer patents are quantifiably clearer, and aligned with current legal standards."

"For those who feel more needs to be done, we encourage you to keep reaching out to us at the USPTO, as well as to other actors who also have an important role to play. The USPTO administers the laws, while Congress and the courts write the laws and interpret them, respectively. Working together, we can find the right balance for software patents. We can find a balance that ensures market certainty, encourages investment and research and product development, and guarantees that patents issued going forward are appropriately tailored."

Comment Calm down (Score 4, Informative) 198

All IP is not created equal. Here they are simply talking about trademarking by regions. Why? Because of vanilla. Madagascar vanilla was recognized as the best in the world. But Madagascar farmers got like 10 cents per pod, while the pods sell in NY for 50 dollars a pod (made up numbers, but you get the point). So the farmers create a geographical indicator (GI) for Madagascar vanilla, certify their product, and now make 25 dollars per pod.

Coffee is just following this model, so you can market Zimbabwe coffee and Ghana coffee and wherever else and the farmers get to keep a greater share of the profits. Honestly I don't see how this is anything but good - poor farmers keep more of the market value of their product.

When you hear the word IP, don't foam at the mouth picturing Simon Legree twirling his mustache. Stop, think, and listen. IP is just a tool, it can be used for good or ill.

Comment Re:"Fewer suites per patent", but 5x the patents (Score 1) 152

And of course I don't need to address the "if it wasn't a good idea, we wouldn't be succeeding", around here, do I? So damned fallacious.

Yes, that argument is fallacious. However what he should have said is "If software patents are such a terrible drain, why do we still have the most valuable, innovative software industry in the world?". Proof by example can't show you have the best system, but it can show you have a functioning system. And that's a much harder question to answer.

Comment Re:With all due respect... (Score 1) 152

Patent-intensive industries have the lowest number of self-employed workers, at 2.2% (vs 16% for copyright-intensive industries). This indicates to me that patent-intensive industries do not support capital-poor startups very well.

Does not compute. Patent intensive industries are technologically complex fields like biotech, semiconductors, etc. Such sophisticated endeavors require teams of people working together. Progress is too difficult for one person to go it alone. Even a healthy startup ecosystem will have many more employees than entrepreneurs at a given moment - how many startups survive past the first year? Past five?

Compare to copyright industries where you have many freelance authors, graphic designers, musicians, etc. Its no wonder the percentage is much higher.

tl;dr - Nothing to see here, move along.

Comment Re:I know this won't be a popular sentiment, but.. (Score 1) 198

What the IPO is basically saying is they don't give a shit if the developing world gets clean technology or not.

No they're really not. What they're saying is they don't want to be forced to give away their technology. They're perfectly willing to help on mutually beneficial terms - they just don't want anyone putting a gun to their head and forcing them to. Can't really blame them there.

I know several people at IPO, and more at the companies they represent. They aren't evil industrialists, swirling brandy in their mansions while snickering at the unwashed masses. They know climate change is a global problem and want to help. They'll forego profits and even donate resources in most developing nations to do so. But not if it means their tech is copied by hundreds of Chinese knock-offs eating into their first-world profits. Would you give a homeless man a gun for protection if he used it to break into your house and steal your stuff?

For example, GE is one of the biggest owners of green tech / climate change IP (patents). And they're also investing heavily in developing countries like Brazil and India. They know they need to get involved there, both to address the problem globally and because if they don't their competitors will.

They're not worried about IP rights in those places. With few exceptions, they don't even have IP rights in most developing countries in South America, Africa, SE Asia. They're worried about their technology (a combination of IP rights, trade secrets, technical know-how) being forcibly handed to low-bid manufacturers to churn out limitless cheap copies for developing nations at cost, some of which ultimately find their way back to the U.S., Europe, Japan, etc to compete against their own products. It's a basic free-rider problem - the knock-off manufacturers don't have to recoup any of the development cost. IP rights were created precisely to avoid this very situation.

I don't work for IPO or GE, or even in the industry. I just understand where they're coming from. This issue is much more complicated than it appears on Slashdot.

Comment Re:"Backed by Obama and business groups..." (Score 1) 205

-1 factually incorrect. The one year grace period to file is not going away. What does go away is the one year grace period over someone else's prior art. But why should that exist in the first place? You still have a year to file over your own prior "art" (use, sale, etc).

In practice, few use the grace period anyway because you lose all rights in foreign countries (which mostly don't have grace periods). So anyone even thinking about foreign markets files before any public use.

IAAPA (patent attorney)

Slashdot Top Deals

"Why waste negative entropy on comments, when you could use the same entropy to create bugs instead?" -- Steve Elias