Patents != innovation
Posted Oct 16, 2007 1:25 UTC (Tue) by bojan
In reply to: Patents != innovation
Parent article: A visit from the trolls
As for (a), well then obviously they were to reap the benefits of copyright protection, right?
Regarding (b), that's not a problem, IMHO, it's a feature. And it is well suited for software, because software is essentially text.
In terms of (c), that's the whole point. The secret would refer to the implementation bit only, which is also protected by copyright.
As for (d), I started high school (year 9) in 1981 and that's when we received a donation of eight used Cromemco computers from UCLA. So, the doors to cheap stuff were opening big time in 1980's. By the time I started my university studies, PCs were everywhere. And I didn't live in a developed country at the time. I would venture a guess many middle class people in the U.S. could afford a PC of some sort in 1980's.
> These guys, and the rest of the PARC crew, came up with central innovations because they were smart, because they were working together, and because innovating was their full-time job, because their employer wanted to drive innovation (and reap the attendant benefits).
I don't doubt that they were smart. I don't doubt they came up with a lot of new stuff. I just think that double-dipping (or triple if you like) is way, way over the top.
> Not sure what the reference to auto parts is meant to suggest
It is meant to suggest that you cannot copyright an implementation of an auto part (you can the blueprints). And once it's out in a car, anyone can see it, so it's no longer a trade secret either. Hence, it's fair inventors gain patent protection for these things, as otherwise anyone could easily imitate without compensation.
On the other hand, if you're in the software business, you get to copyright both the blueprints (source) and the implementation (shall we say binary here), you also get to keep things secret by binary only distribution, obfuscation and trade secrets using contracts with licensees. And you get patent protection (for mathematical algorithms, no less) on top of all that.
The problem with governments in the U.S., Australia and similar countries is that they started equating progress with economic activity (i.e. such and such number of billions of dollars were made in patent trade) - two things that may be correlated, but are not the same.
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