Looking for prior art
Posted Aug 25, 2012 0:15 UTC (Sat) by anselm
In reply to: Looking for prior art
Parent article: Mobile patent wars: Google goes on the attack
Now, if patent applications did include source listings, then patents would apparently be redundant with copyright.
Not necessarily. A patent covering an invention with source code in C would presumably also extend to the same invention if implemented in Prolog. Copyright would only cover the C implementation (and possibly implementations in other languages where the code could be trivially translated from C).
Also consider the following:
- There is a potential problem if the source code (due to bugs or oversights) implements something different than what the patent claims say. Does the code have priority in this case, or does it simply serve as an illustration?
- An invention does not have to actually work in order to be patentable. The patent office as a rule doesn't go for perpetual-motion machines, but other than that, pretty much anything can be patented without having to give a demonstration – it is up to the patent office to prove that an invention does not in fact work. Accordingly, requiring source code for software patents, while a good idea in principle, is probably not going to fly because this principle would be undermined.
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