[ILUG] Enda Kenny and Patents
enda at unison.ie
Mon Jul 12 00:31:52 IST 2004
Kevin Lyda wrote:
>> > none of those are patented.
>> Which says nothing of the argument against software patents.
> actually, yes it does. my point is that the software industry has
> progressed quite well w/o patents.
Yes, for certain people with pre-existing monopoly powers and who can afford
to squeeze non patent protected companies out of the industry by replicating
their achievements and killing the marketplace with subsidised loss making
alternatives just for the sake of maintaining their monopoly position.
> patents exist as a tool for governments to encourage innovation. if
> innovation is already occuring in a field w/o patents, then the tool
> is not required.
Not entirely correct. Patents exist as a tool to encourage private sector
R&D spend. Government can encourage innovation all they want by directly
funding the R&D. Patents gives the private sector the protection needed to
grant the opportunity to take the risk of R&D
> the argument that pro-software patent people make is that software
> patents are required for innovation. that argument is demostrably
You've picked up the argument wrong. The argument is that software patents
are required to protect the financial investment made in an R&D process. 10
man team working for 3 years on an R&D project and they turn out a solution
at a cost of 30 man years development work just so that anyone else can reap
the benifits at their expense? I don't think so.... thats exactly whats
hampering true inovation in the Irish software industry (as was aptly
described by Chris Horn circa '97 in his famous speach to the Irish software
industry) which leaves an industry of implementors rather than innovators.
> uh, you're not getting the point. yes, a patent is a gov't granted
> monopoly. however it is granted with the goal of encouraging innovation.
> however the software field was already generating a huge amount of
> innovation before software patents even existed.
And the resulting trends where the innovators were swallowed by the fat cats
without due recompense has left the industry in a situation where we'd
rather implement than innovate.
> uh, no. the link you point out has a few flaws. first, the credited
> inventor of the spreadsheet is not the person who got the patent - all
> the way back in 1961. second, visicalc came a while after that patent
> expired. i doubt visicalc's creator even knew about the patent.
Thats the biggest flaw I see in the patent system, where someone could
accidentally and unknowingly infringe somone else's IPR and then get
strangled with a loss of revenue claim that doesn't even match nor
proportionatly match the associated revenue gains the IPR infringement gave
the infringer. This is an issue that could be resolved properly with policy,
and is an issue that is not confined to the software industry. I imagine if
we spoke to a patent atty they have plenty of precident to quote that deals
with the issue.
>> > patents are a useful tool in other industries.
>> Why wouldnt they be useful in the software industry then?
> they demonstrably have not been.
You have examples to back that up? I bet if you do, then you're examples
will pertain to cases where patents were granted for obvious solutions /
where prior art existed. That is a known problem in the patent system in
other industries. The legal system seems to be the way to resolve the
issues, however I would agree that policies / procedures need to be changed
to better prevent the scenario occuring in the firstplace. It is not however
an inherent flaw in a patent system, its an inherent flaw in how the patent
system is being implemented and operated.
> we coulf go into long, technical
> discussions as to why, however the request was for a letter describing
> the issue for a layman. the links already presented go into much
> further detail - and i suspect a few minutes into those links enda
> kenny's eyes would glaze over and he'd move onto more important issues.
Its a simple task to sway this man one way or the other. Our economy depends
on exports bringing in foreign cash. We either export raw materials or
labour. Show that patents would increase or decrease that, and you've proven
the point of the worth or lack thereof of software patents. Plain and
simple, software patents gives the Irish software industry the necessary
investment protection to fund R&D and innovate and produce exportable
software produce as a raw material resource being homegrown, produced
without government funding, and exported for foreign cash to drive the local
economy. A lack of software patents yields a software industry that trickles
along in project implementations circulating some local money and depends on
foreign investment for mass production labour and the occasional foreign
implementation project to bring in foreign cash and typically done so at the
cash expense of government through subsidies. Writing is on the wall unless
you can show otherwise.
> first all that funding WAS from the 1st world. second i was describing
> the ways gov't has benefited the software industry in a positive way. i
> wasn't saying it should continue, i was merely pointing out that not all
> government interaction with the software industry is unwelcome - just
> software patents.
So in a nutshell, dear Mr Kenny, we believe you should continue to bribe
foreign companies with our tax money through the IDA to maintain growth in
the Irish software industry, and any notion that the Paddy's will start to
self invest in software R&D when given the financial protection to do so is
false, and should be ignored at all costs because I say so. ;-)
>> Universities, especially in US, make a lot of money by way of the
>> patent system, either by direct patent licensing or by spinning off
>> successful research into commercial entities or by acting as "R&D for
>> hire" for private sector interests (who then reap the rewards of
>> patent licencing if the R&D is successful).
> again, that's a recent phenomenon.
I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as being a whipper snapper nor an
oldie, but based on the above logic, whichever is the case, I was born
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