Home Forums Business and Legal Software Patents targeted – you heard it here first Reply To: Software Patents targeted – you heard it here first


But that was your argument! Or have I missed something along the way? Confused [/quote:69b9dc8e2b]

I believe you said that one good reason for patents is that the protect the R&D investment.
If they aren’t used to protect the R&D investment, but mainly subsequent investments, the argument that patents are good because they protect the R&D investment doesn’t hold.

Dont want to get back into the details, but I hope that clarifies my reasoning. :)

This can be done in pretty much every industrialised country if the patentee is unduly affecting the market by not licensing (i.e. if he’s not meeting market demand by unduly maintaining a stranglehold on monopolised supply). Ample legal provisions (within Patent law) for this. In Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, the US, Europe… [/quote:69b9dc8e2b]
This I did not know. It’s good to hear that a patent can be forced to be licensed in case of an uncompetitive or exploitative monopoly.
I would be surprised, but very happy, if this area of patent law was one which was enforced sensibly, even in the US, where they seem to do a lot of patent stuff.

And sometimes not…side/flipside…black/white…etc.
Remember: shades of grey. There is one system for all fields of arts and business situations. It has to be flexible enough to cater for all – no matter when it serves and when it dis-serves (and don’t forget the ever-changing nature of business: what was useful yesterady for a deal may be another deal breaker tomorrow). [/quote:69b9dc8e2b]
Yes, I havn’t forgotten the shades of grey :) I thought you made a general statement that it would always be smarter for a business to license rather than monopolise – I was saying I couldn’t agree with that assertion (and not just in pathelogical cases either).

Doesn’t make any difference. My experience of litigation is that if the effect is the same (what the software makes the hardware do), you can keep it all closed that you want – the Judge is still gonna nail your @ss to the barn door. [/quote:69b9dc8e2b]
Yes, assuming it becomes known you have infringed, you can get nailed for it, that makes sense.
But competitors have to somehow get some sense you have infringed first.
So softcos close their source to minimise the external knowledge of which algorithms and approaches they use, thus minimising the chance a competitor can accuse them of patent infringment.
If you have to reverse engineer your competitors software to find the patent infringment, its a lot harder than just looking at the source. And again, many SMEs cant afford to pay for their code to be certified patent infringment free (this is a severe task at the best of times), so to minimise their exposure to a claim, they hide everything, wont reveal the techniques they use.

The reason I brought this up is it seems to be contrary to one of the frequently stated arguments in favour of patents – which is that they promote the sharing of new techniques and innovations, rather than promoting a culture of secrecy.
Perhaps there are times when a company that would share and discuss it’s technology, will not, because they are worried about possible patent claims (which they dont have the resources to guard against). This would not be good.

I have also noted your points with interest, and hope that I’ve provided not-too-biased replies throughout (patents are my game, yes, but my points have been grounded in business reality, not coding reality or a hypothetical socialism for all things ‘code’) Wink[/quote:69b9dc8e2b]

Everyones perception of business reality is, of course, different, and it’s always going to be a stretch to claim one’s points are grounded ‘there’ in some meaningful way.

I must point out, after that statment, that you come to this issue – at least partially – from a legal perspective, and while that obviously gives you a very good understanding about certain business issues – especially to do with IP – it also biases you in favour of a world where patents are important (as you have acknowleged before).

It’s always very important to be careful when dismissing someone’s arguments because of what you think there perspective is – unfortunately perhaps this happens too much in the software patents debate before hand – some anti swpat people may dismiss pro arguments because they seem them as coming from the suits, rather than on merit, and vicea versa.

Additionally, I don’t believe I’ve ever claimed here to buy into the “hypothetical socialism for all things ‘code'” as you describe it. I do acknowledge that there are strands of this sort of ideology running through the anti-software patents lobby. I did mention some concerns those in the free software world might have about patents, (freedom of expression etc) but I did so to provide examples of why people may have differing opinions about patents, rather than because I subscribe to those particular concerns.

I also wouldn’t say that the anti software patents ‘side’ is exclusively made up of people pushing this perspective, as you maybe sometimes imply?
I believe there are many there who believe that patents are generally bad for the software industry in europe, from a business point of view.

It’s these complex issues I was looking to explore here, and it has been very enlightening to talk to someone who comes from an interesting perspective on them, so thanks :)