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01.30.09

Sun Vice President Battles the “Intellectual Property” Propaganda Term

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SUN at 7:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If thought can corrupt language, then language can also corrupt thought.”

George Orwell

THE verbal phrase farce known as “Intellectual Property” was discussed last night in the IRC channel.

Sun’s ambivalent approach towards patents seems to be softening a bit because Simon Phipps has suggested a departure from the notion of knowledge as property as opposed to just a privilege.

[T]he term “intellectual privilege” seems to work. It’s got the right initial letters, which is a huge win! But it also correctly describes the actual nature of the temporary rights we’re considering.

The use of words like “property” encourages the use of words like “stealing” and “theft”, even “piracy”.

Another thing that was mentioned yesterday is the gradual stagnation of software patents, on which TechDirt has this update.

With the CAFC’s decision on Bilski being appealed to the Supreme Court, it’s worth thinking about how the Supreme Court might actually view the question of software and business model patents. While patent system defenders go through all sorts of twists and turns to explain why software should be patentable, Tim Lee has a detailed explanation of why software should not be patentable, based on earlier Supreme Court precedent.

Here is the beef of the argument:

Ctrl-Z: a return to the Supreme Court’s software patent ban?

With the USPTO and courts cracking down on software patents, Ars looks closely at the Supreme Court’s software patent decisions. Yes, the Supremes really did say that algorithms can’t be patented. In spite of the fact that their rulings have been functionally ignored for almost 20 years, the tide may be about to turn.

It’s reassuring to see companies like Sun Microsystems/SUN adjusting to this change. Will Novell join the conversation or will it carry on playing ball for software patents along with Microsoft?

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