Patents - An Alternative View (Groklaw)
Posted Oct 11, 2004 22:40 UTC (Mon) by iabervon
In reply to: Patents - An Alternative View (Groklaw)
Parent article: Patents - An Alternative View (Groklaw)
Actually implementing mpeg4 decoding? Invention.
Right, so if you build a blueprint for this invention, which is what pseudocode for it is, you can submit this to the patent office for patent protection, because that's how you protect inventions. If you used a copyright on the pseudocode, this wouldn't cover implementations in actual languages, which would be independant works, as the similarities between the pseudocode version and the runnable version are determined by conformance to a standard (c.f. the limitations on copyright which protect Linux against claims that ELF implementations are derived works of the ELF specification).
The standard for all patent descriptions is that they be sufficient for a person knowledgable in the field to be able to produce a working version from the description. This is essentially the pseudocode for making a toilet; if you know how to do the usual things (like a computer), you could build the invention without needing any insight into the particular problem.
We have patents not primarily because it is difficult to keep secrets (although that is a factor) but because it is beneficial to society for people not to keep secrets, as others can learn from the invention.
to post comments)