Software is The Glass Bead Game
Posted Feb 2, 2012 18:04 UTC (Thu) by giraffedata
In reply to: Software is The Glass Bead Game
Parent article: LCA: Addressing the failure of open source
However, to consider granting monopolies over certain patterns of thought
Right, I was not contemplating granting a monopoly over the thinking, but rather other applications of the invention such as selling of a machine that uses the algorithm. The criterion you gave for something not worthy of a patent was that it be theoretically possible to do it in your head, not that that was the only way to profit from it. I framed the question from that definition.
If you're right that monopolies are always bad, then it follows that the algorithm invention shouldn't be patentable, but it doesn't explain why there should be a patentability distinction between algorithm and not algorithm, which I think you said there should be.
But if you're right that historically inventors of algorithms have got enough value out of the first application of the invention to repay the investment and the algorithm could not be kept secret, and your implication that that is not true of other kinds of inventions, then that's a good reason for the distinction.
I'm not sure it would be easier for a judge to determine whether an invention is an algorithm or not than it would be to simply determine whether the invention meets those two underlying criteria. I thought you were alluding to some more fundamental property of algorithms. It reminds me of an argument that preference for scholarships should be given to black students because statistics show black families have less money, and the counterargument that you could do even better by just giving preference to students whose families have less money.
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