Patents with source code
Posted Sep 2, 2012 18:28 UTC (Sun) by giraffedata
In reply to: Patents with source code
Parent article: Mobile patent wars: Google goes on the attack
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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