Thursday, February 28, 2008

patention deficit disorder

Just been reading (prompted by last months CACM article) about peer to patent:

seems a fairly sensible movement, but really lacks teeth ...there's some
big company guns behind more large scale US federal changes


and Cisco:

viz...costs keep mounting just to fight the mountains of nonsense...
and there are some recidivists

Kind of old news...but I am catching up....

for me, the key thing is that
a) software patents are silly - we have software copyright, and algorithms are discoveries and should be in the public domain as they are knowledge that underpins many things as in mathematical theorems, whereas the effort lies in turning them into useful computing products and that is supported adequately by copyright for software and patent for hardware
b) all patents should have
i) use it or lose it clauses based on reality check - does someone intend to
do something other than hold other people to ransom with their invention?
ii) lifetimes that reflect the domain of activities typical time to product, service, and profit - for example, in Internet time, this might be about 5 years - in Big Pharma, maybe 10. In vacuum cleaners, perhaps 7.

c) Clearly patent applications need testing properly by motivated experts - one trick would be to tax patent lawsuits (say 10%) and use the tax to allow the patent office to hire patent reviewers (see peer to patent above).

d) intellectual property is not a good - it has some rather different flavour; as with spectrum, and other new aspects of 21st century life, we need the law to move on from simple notions of property and commons to some wider range of notions....

to be continued... ... ...

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