Novell, buyer's remorse, and the patent threat
Posted Nov 23, 2006 1:59 UTC (Thu) by giraffedata
In reply to: Novell, buyer's remorse, and the patent threat
Parent article: Novell, buyer's remorse, and the patent threat
No, plain creativity can be illegal. It's even illegal if I write the software for my own use and never distribute it. This is one reason why software patents are so stupid -- they are essentially a type of "thought crime".
That's really overstating it. The thought doesn't infringe. The creativity doesn't. You can invent something someone else did and not go to jail or owe anyone anything. You just can't use it.
And that's obviously required by practicality. There's no way to tell if someone got an idea from a publication by someone else or dreamed it up himself. So if an inventor is going to get paid at all for disclosing his invention, the law has to assume that anyone who uses an invention after it was disclosed got it via the disclosure.
(That doesn't seem to explain why it's an infringement if you independently invent something after the patentee invented it but before the patentee disclosed it, though. I don't know what the rationale for that is).
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