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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 23, 2013
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
Patents with source code
Posted Sep 2, 2012 4:52 UTC (Sun) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Posted Sep 2, 2012 6:40 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
Posted Sep 2, 2012 11:17 UTC (Sun) by SecretEuroPatentAgentMan (guest, #66656)
First of all the initial milestone patents tend to be narrower in scope than first expected by the inventor thus opening up for patenting or publishing of alternative embodiments that bring about the same effect. The first lasers were like the ruby laser but it has been shown that with dye lasers even flowing liquids can be used. Chemical gas reaction lasers are even more different.
Secondly the practical embodiments can turn out to be patentable in which case a cross license agreement with the patent proprietor of the first patent is the normal approach.
Also patents do not last for ever, future embodiments can reuse features from the first patent and still come up with something patentable without the need for licences from others.
It should also be remembered that in some jurisdictions around the world you are allowed to work a patented invention if it is for research and not for commercial or operative purposes.
Posted Sep 4, 2012 9:54 UTC (Tue) by Wol (guest, #4433)
Not that the courts will actually throw the switch, but if there's only one way to do it, then that way is not patent-eligible subject matter!
Posted Sep 7, 2012 20:15 UTC (Fri) by SecretEuroPatentAgentMan (guest, #66656)
Can you provide a reference for this?
Posted Sep 2, 2012 18:28 UTC (Sun) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
and how does giving one person a monopoly on something like a LASER
encourage the needed experimentation to get it to actually work,
I don't know anything about this patent, but I highly doubt it gave someone a monopoly on something that still required experimentation to get it to work.
Though the patent holder might not have got it to work himself, he described in detail how to do so without extensive additional experimentation, and if those instructions don't result in a working, useful laser, that patent didn't give him a monopoly on anything.
I suspect it's an issue of a patent on a simple laser that was fully invented and useful, but then covered all the far more useful kinds of lasers that were invented later as extensions of it. In those cases, the inventor of the extension also gets a patent, and one needs both patents in order to use it.
In my one patent law class, we studied the patent for the electron tube diode. An electron tube diode is a very useful thing, and the holder of that patent had it fully working before applying for the patent. That inventor did no work on an the electron tube triode, but ended up controlling the manufacture of those anyway, because you can't make a triode without practicing the technologies claimed for the diode. (We studied that because apparently the diode inventor wouldn't let the triode inventor sell triodes and the triode inventor wouldn't let the diode inventor sell triodes either and triodes were thus withheld from the world -- a classic breakdown of the free market economics that are supposed to make the patent system work).
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