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09.13.11

Google and Commentators Weaken the Popularity of Software Patents, Apple Already Gets Blowback

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tricky - Blowback

Summary: The public and even Google make some noise over the absurdity of software patents; Apple gets sued by Samsung after it had sued Samsung over Android

Yesterday we published several articles about the excessive intrusion of patents into the smartphones arena. Ars Technica has a similar article about how the fight for smartphones domination became a patent fight.

In the last few weeks, the smartphone industry appeared to produce more lawsuits than phones. Apple briefly managed to stop the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in all of Europe, and is now going after the whole Galaxy line. Back Stateside, Google first complained that Microsoft and Apple were using “bogus patents” to target Android, then spent $12 billion for Motorola and its patent arsenal. These are big, high-stakes fights—and the last company left standing may walk away with control over nothing less than the smartphone market itself.

Incidentally, The Guardian too wrote about it on the same day, claiming that “Lawsuits highlight smartphone ecosystem’s prosperity” (the headline) and as a little bit of background it wrote:

First, a word on the general topic of patents. Feast your eyes on this Wikipedia article and you’ll see that patents, those erstwhile royal decrees, have been around for a long time. In theory, they’re supposed to foster innovation by granting the inventor a monopoly on an original process. In reality, things get complicated. Byzantine patent law has created lifetime employment opportunities for those who are expert in the Talmudic parsing of what is actually, legally patentable.

Back in the tangible, “real-world” days, you could invent a new process to temper steel that would result in taller, safer buildings. In patenting your idea, you’d earn a bit for yourself and encourage others to raise the bar.

More publications explain to their readers the subject of patents from a sceptical point of view. This is progress.

In other news, Google seems to be pushing a bit against software patents. “Fascinating,” calls it Alan Lord. “New claim by Google could essentially render s/w patents irrelevant”. Here is the article in question:

Google urged a federal judge to dismiss a patent-infringement case alleging that it copied Oracle’s Java code, arguing that the code installed on Android devices came from foreign device makers.

It is “undisputed” that Google makes Android software available to foreign manufacturers through download only, Google attorney Robert Van Nest noted. He claims that “downloading the software necessarily requires the foreign manufacturer to copy it.” The copy loaded onto the foreign-made device is not supplied by the United States.

“Google claims that copied code is not patent infringement,” claims someone called “Air VPN” in a Twitter tweet regarding this article.

Perhaps something good might eventually come out from this case, which the Microsoft booster claims to have escalated to CEOs and Groklaw keeps tracking closely [1, 2], insisting that Oracle is unlikely to win. It is worth noting that Samsung has begun showing its teeth. The anti-Linux patent cartels won’t have a day field. “Samsung Slaps Apple With Patent Lawsuit in France” says the headline from Mashable, providing context by writing:”After numerous patent lawsuits from Apple, Samsung has responded with another lawsuit of its own — this time in France.”

When HTC sued the thuggish Apple, Apple and Microsoft proponents/spinners pretended it came out of nowhere. They sought to portray the Motorola deal as a prelude to aggression.

Timothy B. Lee adds fuel to the fire by issuing another call (in Forbes) to squash patents on abstract ideas (including software algorithms). To quote:

So I’m extremely excited that three of the nation’s leading libertarian think tanks—Cato, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation—have submitted an amicus brief in the case of Mayo v. Prometheus. As far as I know, this is the first time any of these think tanks has filed an patent-related amicus brief with the Supreme Court, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m listed as a co-author on the Cato site, but the brief was actually written for us by the brilliant Christina Mulligan at Yale’s Information Society Project. We benefitted from the able leadership of Ilya Shapiro, who supervises Cato’s amicus program.

Christina did a superb job of explaining how the Federal Circuit’s decisions from the 1990s contradict earlier decisions from the Supreme Court itself. And she also marshals the growing body of empirical evidence that the Federal Court’s experiment with allowing patents on abstract ideas has done serious economic damage. Because the Federal Circuit’s experiment with expanding patentable subject matter started with software and business method patents, the brief focuses pretty heavily on those two categories of patents.

This comes amid a lot of opposition to software patents and even to the latest 'reform', which the patent lawyers community rallies around. Joe McKendrick’s summary about it states that:

Proposed new patent-reform law may merely speed up tangled system; one observer suggests doing away with software patents altogether.

It is not just software patents, but eliminating software patents would be a good start. As another sign of hope being defensible, the abusively-used patents of Rambus [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] seem to have been sunk for good. Reuters writes:

Two patents that chip designer Rambus (RMBS.O) used to win patent lawsuits against Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N) and others have been declared invalid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to legal documents.

Why were they granted in the first place? This system is dysfunctional and irreparable.

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26 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    September 13, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Gravatar

    Once again: when HTC does what Apple does – you have no problem with it. When Apple does what HTC does – it “proves” they are evil.

    You are an amazing hypocrite.

    Jose_X Reply:

    Yeah, like when a person fires repeated gun shots into your home, and then when they think they have you you start firing back.

    Or like when Bruce Banner is walking down an alley and thugs come and start beating the shit out of him, and then they go too far, and Mr Green comes out and the audience cheers.

    Michael Reply:

    Apple does X. Eeeeeeevil.
    HTC does X. Goooood.

    This is the definition of a hypocrite.

    And your claim that Apple is the aggressor is absurd. The system is messed up… both (and others) are playing the same game.

    *And*: Apple reacted to the idea that someone was abusing their IP (in their view – I take no side on this). HTC did the same thing – though it could be argued that they did not really think anyone was and were doing it just to try to get revenge. But I give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are sincere.

    In other words: it can just as easily be said that HTC was the aggressor by abusing IP.

    But Roy and his minions prefer the biased way of seeing the world. So be it.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> Apple reacted to the idea that someone was abusing their IP

    I’m aware you stated the game was messed up, but you should know by now that the open source world and much of the software world does not look at “violation of (likely) software patents” as something where initializing litigation is justified on ethical and other grounds. Apple is a huge company exploiting a broken system for cash and power. It wasn’t stated here Apple was violating the law, Apple is criticized for various things including their greed and willingness to exploit in order to control markets as much as possible.

    So again, using Linux in a product is not seen as unnatural and a violation of anything, even if technically the court might be willing to hear Apple and even rule in their favor.

    Hopefully, sw patents will be struck down soon enough, in which case there would likely not have been any or much of “violations of IP” in the first place, making it clear that Apple was trying to exercise a right they thought they had but which was not supported by the Constitution or by patent law.

    >> Apple does X. Eeeeeeevil.
    >> HTC does X. Goooood.

    To be clear, being the first to fire a gun is usually considered rather different (and not the same thing) as using a gun for self defense. One can land you on Death Row in some places while the other may very well land you safely back home after your court visit.

    Notice that a patent gives the holder the right to kill the other firms business in a particular area. Apple already got various other types of injunctions in Europe (instant death as opposed to losing over time in competing directly in the market). This is not the same thing as to compete with someone.

    So to justify Apple, you are making the statement that you consider it fair and ethical business for a very large firm to exploit software patents to initiate litigation. I don’t think it would be hypocritical to consider that view to be unethical and consider it different than to counter-sue in defense.

    I don’t see the hypocrisy. They weren’t similar X unless you consider it identical to take a particular action no matter the context.

    Michael Reply:

    > > Apple reacted to the idea that someone was abusing their IP
    >
    > I’m aware you stated the game was messed up, but you should know
    > by now that the open source world and much of the software world
    > does not look at “violation of (likely) software patents” as
    > something where initializing litigation is justified on ethical
    > and other grounds. Apple is a huge company exploiting a broken
    > system for cash and power. It wasn’t stated here Apple was
    > violating the law, Apple is criticized for various things
    > including their greed and willingness to exploit in order to
    > control markets as much as possible.

    When Apple was a couple of months behind on following through with IP commitments on the GPL there was talk of suing them.

    > So again, using Linux in a product is not seen as unnatural and a
    > violation of anything, even if technically the court might be
    > willing to hear Apple and even rule in their favor.

    Neither Apple’s nor HTC are suing anyone for using Linux.

    > Hopefully, sw patents will be struck down soon enough, in which
    > case there would likely not have been any or much of “violations
    > of IP” in the first place, making it clear that Apple was trying
    > to exercise a right they thought they had but which was not
    > supported by the Constitution or by patent law.

    I think IP holders should be able to place restrictions on how their IP is used and those who use the IP should abide by those rules. Othewise the GPL is meaningless – people can use open source code and ignore the IP stipulations of the GPL.

    > > Apple does X. Eeeeeeevil.
    > > HTC does X. Goooood.
    >
    > To be clear, being the first to fire a gun is usually considered
    > rather different (and not the same thing) as using a gun for self
    > defense. One can land you on Death Row in some places while the
    > other may very well land you safely back home after your court
    > visit.

    Ok, so it can be argued that Apple was right to defend itself from IP violations and HTC is just fully in the wrong. Personally I do not buy that. I think both are playing a system which is heavily broken. And they are not the only ones: http://rww.readwriteweb.netdna-cdn.com/mobile/Reuters_Patent_Chart.jpg

    That is just absurd… but it makes no sense to blame just one or two of the players. With that said, Apple is tied to a lot of these suits – then again, they also have been instrumental in big changes in many industries and have a lot of investment in that. There is no simple answer here.

    > Notice that a patent gives the holder the right to kill the other
    > firms business in a particular area. Apple already got various
    > other types of injunctions in Europe (instant death as opposed to
    > losing over time in competing directly in the market). This is
    > not the same thing as to compete with someone.

    Looking at Samsung’s products before and after the iPhone/iPad, I think it is hard to say Samsung was not *heavily* inspired by what Apple has been doing. Should this be illegal? Should Samsung have a rights to the fruits of Apple’s labor? At what level is a company being inspired by another and competing fairly and at what point are they crossing that line? I do not pretend to have all the answers – but it is not as black and white as many seem to think.

    > So to justify Apple, you are making the statement that you
    > consider it fair and ethical business for a very large firm to
    > exploit software patents to initiate litigation. I don’t think it
    > would be hypocritical to consider that view to be unethical and
    > consider it different than to counter-sue in defense.

    Notice your language: “exploit”. One can just as easily say HTC was “exploiting” Apple’s IP. Again, it is not so black and white.

    > I don’t see the hypocrisy. They weren’t similar X unless you
    > consider it identical to take a particular action no matter the
    > context.

    The context is the same: a company believed another was abusing its IP and ended up taking the other to court. In neither case am I taking a side as to whom is right or wrong… to blindly do so *is* hypocritical.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> When Apple was a couple of months behind on following through with IP commitments on the GPL there was talk of suing them.
    >> Notice your language: “exploit”. One can just as easily say HTC was “exploiting” Apple’s IP. Again, it is not so black and white.
    >> In neither case am I taking a side as to whom is right or wrong… to blindly do so *is* hypocritical.

    I don’t think there is blindness here. It’s that patents are a legal concept but not viewed as a good law.

    Legal use of the GPL: It is seen as different to use the law to curtail the rights of others vs use the law to defend them.

    I understand not everyone sees all shades of gray the same, but there is wide recognition that software patents are rather anti-competitive and an exploitation of the patent system. Also, it is believed by many FOSS advocates that use of open source to strengthen a closed source product or platform, especially if done by large company with lots of market share is exploiting the generosity of others to control (which is the opposite of the wishes of those who open source).

    Again, it is a judgement call, but because of the differences in use of the law, we can certainly criticize some uses and not others.

    >> they also have been instrumental in big changes in many industries and have a lot of investment in that.

    1 — They have made a ton of money.
    2 — They have copied others heavily.
    3 — They are well placed to compete, yet they are avoiding competing in the market, denying users options and lower price points.

    “we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU and they also gained a lot from open source.

    Jose_X Reply:

    I’m not pretending people have different opinions on IP. The main point I have is that it is reasonable to see Apple as overly aggressive.

    If you are an employee (eg, Apple), you tend to get the short end of the stick, so that Apple stock price and profits have soared may or may not have been a major blessing to you.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> I’m not pretending people have different opinions on IP.

    I’m not denying people have different opinions on IP.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> Neither Apple’s nor HTC are suing anyone for using Linux.

    I haven’t looked at the patents. A few are likely software patents. I guess you can fill in some details for me here if you want to make the case to me that the patent attack is not a threat to a realistic usable Linux system on such gadgets. [Gosh, I'm lazy!]

    Google is not an angel, and many firms understandably fear Google’s growth; however, this sort of attack, especially at this point, looks like a cheap/dirty attack on competition and on Linux ecosystems and uptake. .. Yeah, there are few angels here, but we should also think of the consumer. If Apple were less proprietary, I would have a lot more sympathy.

    Michael Reply:

    > I don’t think there is blindness here. It’s that patents
    > are a legal concept but not viewed as a good law.

    I agree the system is messed up, but also think that if, say, Google puts out some innovative way to better search that Microsoft cannot just step in and do the same thing.

    The GPL protects IP and I think that is fine, but I do not think the types of IP it covers is the only IP that is worthy of being covered, nor do I beleive its stipulations are the only that make sense.

    > Legal use of the GPL: It is seen as different to use the
    > law to curtail the rights of others vs use the law to
    > defend them.

    Just as one can say one company is was going against another’s rights by suing them, it can be said that what was done to incite the lawsuite was the real infringement.

    I believe people (and companies) do have a right to sue others or infringing on their rights – though when things get as out of hand as they are it is a sure sign that there is something wrong with the system.

    > I understand not everyone sees all shades of gray the
    > same, but there is wide recognition that software patents
    > are rather anti-competitive and an exploitation of the
    > patent system.

    If so then HTC is just as wrong to be “anti-competitive”. Or Apple is just as wrong to go against HTC’s IP (assuming each did – again, I am taking no sides in either case).

    > Also, it is believed by many FOSS
    > advocates that use of open source to strengthen a closed
    > source product or platform, especially if done by large
    > company with lots of market share is exploiting the
    > generosity of others to control (which is the opposite of
    > the wishes of those who open source).

    If you use the license as it is designed you are not exploiting it. It is not like these companies are finding clever loop holes – they are following the license.

    In terms of Apple: they use a lot of OSS and they also do a lot for the OSS community. Webkit and CUPS are both theirs (though they did not originate either… esp. in terms of WebKit it has grown a *lot* since they adopted it / forked it). And who else has gotten Apache on so many desktops? There are many such examples. Apple spreads OSS likely more than all desktop Linux distros combined. It is not, of course, all they use. I have no problem with that.

    > Again, it is a judgement call, but because of the
    > differences in use of the law, we can certainly criticize
    > some uses and not others.
    >
    > >> they also have been instrumental in big changes in
    > many industries and have a lot of investment in that.
    >
    > 1 — They have made a ton of money.

    And I think this is the main problem people have with Apple. They compete very, very well in the market and earn lots of money. Yes, that brings on anger from some.

    > 2 — They have copied others heavily.

    Yes… but where are you thinking? Would love to know.

    > 3 — They are well placed to compete, yet
    > they are avoiding competing in the market, denying users
    > options and lower price points.

    They do not avoid competing in the market, they simply chose to compete only at the high end of the market (esp. with computers). And they compete very, very well.

    > “we have always been shameless about stealing great
    > ideas” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU and
    > they also gained a lot from open source.

    Roy has used this quote. I give the full context and why it is irrelevant here:

    http://trw.gallopinginsanity.com/2011/09/08/apple

    > I’m not pretending people have different opinions on IP.
    > The main point I have is that it is reasonable to see
    > Apple as overly aggressive.

    I suspect any company which has been highly innovative and has theri IP protected would be seen that way.

    > If you are an employee (eg, Apple), you tend to get the
    > short end of the stick, so that Apple stock price and
    > profits have soared may or may not have been a major
    > blessing to you.

    I have no Apple stock.

    Michael Reply:

    > I haven’t looked at the patents. A few are likely
    > software patents. I guess you can fill in some details
    > for me here if you want to make the case to me that the
    > patent attack is not a threat to a realistic usable Linux
    > system on such gadgets. [Gosh, I'm lazy!]

    To the contrary, if you want to show how Apple’s pretection of their own IP is an attack against Linux you will need to show it. I am merely noting there is no such sign of that.

    Heck, Jobs suggested people use Android if they do not like aspects of iOS, such as its lack of porn applications.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> To the contrary

    The platforms which give Linux a fair shake today are being attacked.

    Besides that point, you also have the burden (certainly in my eyes) if you are trying to eliminate all attempts at reasonable competition. This isn’t small Henry 1 attacking medium Joshua 2.

    Michael Reply:

    You say companies are being attacked… and then assume it is the ones using Linux. It can just as easily be said Apple is being attacked when others use their IP outside of the law (or when others use any companies). This is the premise of yours which has not been supported.

    You also assume I am trying to eliminate fair competition. To the contrary, I support it – and when a company competes unfairly by abusing someone else’s IP there should be consequences (no matter what company that is).

    I am not saying this is the only way to look at things – I am noting you are looking at things from one angle and ignoring the other. There are two sides to this issue – and each side has some valid points.

    You want to push one side… but I am not accepting it blindly. I am asking you to defend your claims.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> When a company competes unfairly by abusing someone else’s IP there should be consequences.

    I said different people have different view on various IP, but then so do different people have different views on the taking of others’ lives.

    Software patents are widely recognizes to be unfair, crippling tools. They don’t respect freedom of original speech and original independent invention, and they stifle greatly.

    So I see your view as the IP version of a Jack the Ripper claiming that other people are trampling on his right to murder those who offend his way of life.. except that this analogy is an exaggeration, and we also have never accepted such views of property (I own my right to not be offended and can use murder to defend such rights) while we have allegedly accepted the not as bad but still harmful in many ways software patents rights. Yes, some will argue that Jack should have that right, but I and many others will argue that he should not.

    My point is that Roy and others are taking a position that X is wrong (attack with software patents). You are taking the position that some see X as wrong but others see it as right so I (Michael) view it as wrong and hypocritical to take a position.

    Michael Reply:

    >> When a company competes unfairly by abusing
    >> someone else’s IP there should be consequences.
    >
    > I said different people have different view on
    > various IP, but then so do different people have
    > different views on the taking of others’ lives.

    Irrelevant.

    > Software patents are widely recognizes to be unfair,
    > crippling tools. They don’t respect freedom of
    > original speech and original independent invention,
    > and they stifle greatly.

    Abusing other’s IP can just as reasonably be said to be unfair and to show no respect for an original independent invention (that is, after all, what is being protected).

    > So I see your view as the IP version of a Jack the
    > Ripper claiming that other people are trampling on
    > his right to murder those who offend his way of
    > life.. except that this analogy is an exaggeration,
    > and we also have never accepted such views of
    > property (I own my right to not be offended and can
    > use murder to defend such rights) while we have
    > allegedly accepted the not as bad but still harmful
    > in many ways software patents rights. Yes, some will
    > argue that Jack should have that right, but I and
    > many others will argue that he should not.

    I am noting there are multiple sides… and your analogy shows you do not understand the other side. I explain the “other side” better here: http://trw.gallopinginsanity.com/2011/08/30/stopping-linux

    In short – it is widely recognized that taking others ideas without their permission is wrong. When you compare working against that wrong as being in some way similar to defending Jack the Ripper’s murdering tendencies that is just silly. It is more like saying we recognize that killing is wrong, so when Jack the Ripper did wrong people had the right to fight against him.

    But that is too strong – it is not as though I am saying the IP abuse is as black and white as seeing murder as being wrong. To be clear: it is not. Not even close.

    > My point is that Roy and others are taking a position
    > that X is wrong (attack with software patents).

    And my point is that they do not defend this claim. I would like to see them do so.

    > You
    > are taking the position that some see X as wrong but
    > others see it as right so I (Michael) view it as
    > wrong and hypocritical to take a position.

    Incorrect. I am asking Roy and others to back their unsupported position. I also have noted the hypocrisy of Roy when he claims Apple is wrong for doing X but HTC is right for doing a very similar X’.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> it is widely recognized that taking others ideas without their permission is wrong.

    Replying to this and generally to your comment:

    Did you read the Steve Jobs quote and see the youtube clip? That does make Steve a hypocrite of sorts, right?

    Of course, perhaps you didn’t catch other things I meant in my prior reply.

    Patents have force against people who don’t copy ideas or details. I’ll repeat.

    Patents have force against people who don’t copy ideas or details.

    There are many people who think this is unconstitutional and an abridgement of First Amendment rights and is generally recognized as very unfair. Very recently (I think today) techrights posted this: http://www.cato.org/pubs/legalbriefs/Mayo-brief.pdf which is a Supreme Court brief arguing this and other points against software (and process) patents.

    In addition, another main point I hinted at was that it’s hypocrite to get a monopoly against everyone else in society for something that you were able to create only because of the many influences you have taken from society. Steve certainly did not hide in a cave for 20 years before filing each of his patents (ie, or whoever is the patent author).

    A third point is simply that evolution, progress, science recognize that people must collaborate and study the influences of others (they surely do even if they greedily take out patents). Whenever someone comes up with something, they are standing on the shoulders of others. Also, they are but the last runner in a baton race of many participants. Patent Offices even allows people to mostly copy others and simply write up the application. When you have many people participating, as is the case for software, allowing monopolies is very antisocial, hurting the progress of many other individuals and of society itself (even assuming lots of copying takes place). You then end up with stagnation relative to what you could have and you end up with higher prices for consumers. It’s just bad for society.

    >> as being in some way similar to defending Jack the Ripper’s murdering tendencies that is just silly

    The Jack the Ripper is a fair analogy (understanding that it was an exaggeration).

    I just argued how antisocial and unjust are software patents. To a greater extent, so is it antisocial and unjust to give someone the right to defend their “happiness” by murdering if necessary. Patents do exact a sort of murdering, and a very unjust kind. And in each case we’d be giving someone the legal right to such an unethical action.

    Again, I recognize there are different degrees of using software patents, but I am going by what the law allows and which some firms will exploit if they see it as profitable. I think there is enough evidence that these patents greatly hurt society and individuals. It would be much more just IMO not to give them legitimacy.

    Michael Reply:

    With the Steve Job’s quote:

    I discuss the context here:

    http://trw.gallopinginsanity.com/2011/09/08/apple

    “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas. And I think part of what made the Macintosh was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.”

    Jobs is not talking about stealing ideas from competitors; he is talking about taking ideas from many fields of human knowledge and using them to make the best products you can.

    There is nothing hypocritical about that.

    With innovation:

    You talk about people standing not the shoulders of giants and people learning from each other. Given how nobody has suggested otherwise, you are arguing against a straw man.

    With patents:

    There are many which should not be granted, and while you can say that all software patents are “antisocial and unjust”, it can just as easily be said that copying someone else’s work is “antisocial and unjust”. I talk about that in more detail here: http://trw.gallopinginsanity.com/2011/08/30/stopping-linux. Even in a book for kids, the concept of IP is discussed and it is just assumed kids will get this. It is not a hard concept nor an uncommon one.

    And a conclusion:

    I get that you do not like software patents. And I have noted where I find them problematic (the chart showing how many suits are being made). So what is the remedy? To allow companies to do what even children can see is wrong? No, that is clearly “antisocial and unjust”. So how is this supposed to be handled? How is a company such as Apple – who has turned multiple industries upside down with their innovation – supposed to protect the work it has done? Do we discourage such advances by showing that anyone who does manage to push things forward can have their ideas used in a way even a child can see is wrong?

    On the other hand, how do we make sure that this is not taken to an extreme and that other innovations are not stifled?

    There is no easy answer… and to assume that one side is right and the other wrong without answering these questions does no good.

    And before it is said that just getting rid of such IP protection is fine: remember, this allows the legality of actions even a child can see is wrong. That is clearly *not* the correct remedy.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> Jobs is not talking about stealing ideas from competitors; he is talking about taking ideas from many fields of human knowledge and using them to make the best products you can.

    Patents can block that. He could have been blocked, and he is willing to block others.

    >> Given how nobody has suggested otherwise, you are arguing against a straw man.

    Patents block people from effectively standing on the shoulders of others.

    >> it can just as easily be said that copying someone else’s work is “antisocial and unjust”

    No, not as easy to say that because software patents block original progress, and that handcuff of liberty and expression is worse than the idea of copying. One is about suppression and is associated with dictators. The other is something parents wants their kids to do (mimic, learn behavior and patterns, etc), teachers want their students to do, and which we really all always do to many degrees as part of having a society and culture. Copying is a natural process.

    So it’s not the same thing to block growth (“original” or otherwise) as it is to allow copying (which we do all the time subconsciously anyway).

    As a society, we have considered placing limits of some sort on copying, but the closer we get to hand-cuffing and stifling, the more “evil” those doing it will be seen by more people.

    >> To allow companies to do what even children can see is wrong?

    Children are taught to study good patterns (not to mention it is a survival instinct), and society teaches also that “creativity” is rewarded extra (no patents needed).

    What people tend to agree is wrong is that a person with capability be stifled (whether by law or because of unfair life .. say poverty) or that people lie (eg, take credit for things largely put together by others — plagiarize).

    I think you are confusing these issues.

    Patents were intended to allow a small entity to raise lots of capital. More fundamentally, they are only allowed in order to promote the progress (never to stifle it). They are too broad to include software and other forms of written and though out expressions.

    These are my opinions, of course. .. and note that FOSS is all about sharing and empowering others so that all are empowered more.

    Michael Reply:

    >> Jobs is not talking about stealing ideas from
    >> competitors; he is talking about taking ideas from
    >> many fields of human knowledge and using them to
    >> make the best products you can.
    >
    > Patents can block that. He could have been blocked, and
    > he is willing to block others.

    Irrelevent, unless you can show Jobs is against people in completely different industries learning from Apple (maybe with the colors of items from the early iMacs?). Still, that is not relevant to the current situation.

    >> Given how nobody has suggested otherwise, you are
    >> arguing against a straw man.
    >
    > Patents block people from effectively standing on the
    > shoulders of others.

    Already responded to. They also protect IP, something even children can see is a reasonable thing to do.

    >> it can just as easily be said that copying someone
    >> else’s work is “antisocial and unjust”
    >
    > No, not as easy to say that because software patents
    > block original progress,

    We are talking about copying others – not “original progress”. Remember, I have already shown even kids get the concept of protecting IP.

    > and that handcuff of liberty
    > and expression is worse than the idea of copying. One
    > is about suppression and is associated with dictators.
    > The other is something parents wants their kids to do
    > (mimic, learn behavior and patterns, etc), teachers
    > want their students to do, and which we really all
    > always do to many degrees as part of having a society
    > and culture. Copying is a natural process.

    As noted: IP violations are recognized even by kids as to be wrong. Yet you just focus on the other side. Why?

    > So it’s not the same thing to block growth (“original”
    > or otherwise) as it is to allow copying (which we do
    > all the time subconsciously anyway).

    This does not excuse IP violations.

    > As a society, we have considered placing limits of some
    > sort on copying, but the closer we get to hand-cuffing
    > and stifling, the more “evil” those doing it will be
    > seen by more people.

    Incorrect: remember, even kids understand that IP should be protected.

    And you have offered no other remedy to protect IP.

    >> To allow companies to do what even children can see
    >> is wrong?
    >
    > Children are taught to study good patterns (not to
    > mention it is a survival instinct), and society teaches
    > also that “creativity” is rewarded extra (no patents
    > needed).
    >
    > What people tend to agree is wrong is that a person
    > with capability be stifled (whether by law or because
    > of unfair life .. say poverty) or that people lie (eg,
    > take credit for things largely put together by others —
    > plagiarize).
    >
    > I think you are confusing these issues.

    So Samsung is OK to change their whole line up based on Apple’s work as long as they are honest about it?

    > Patents were intended to allow a small entity to raise
    > lots of capital. More fundamentally, they are only
    > allowed in order to promote the progress (never to
    > stifle it). They are too broad to include software and
    > other forms of written and though out expressions.

    > These are my opinions, of course. .. and note that FOSS
    > is all about sharing and empowering others so that all
    > are empowered more.

    You have yet to present a way an innovative company, such as Apple, can have their IP protected.

    Jose_X Reply:

    I accidentally replied below this thread.

    Michael Reply:

    Aha! Running from the topic I see!

    [I am *completely* kidding... just so you know]

  2. Jose_X said,

    September 14, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Gravatar

    The 2 (of 3) patents aren’t yet sunk for good (the third patent is still being re-evaluated).

    From the Reuters link:

    “The patent office in early September notified Rambus that two of the Barth I patents were invalid. Despite the ruling, the patents will remain valid if Rambus appeals the rejection to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.”

  3. Jose_X said,

    September 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Gravatar

    Apple is violating patents. It’s common knowledge that you can’t build software of any complexity without violating patents.

    “Between 90 and 98 percent of modern patent lawsuits are filed against independent inventors, not copiers.” Mark A. Lemley, The Myth of the Sole Inventor 8 (2011).

    Your claims disagree with what the industry and the researchers are saying. Patents block independent creators in the same industry.

    I am almost certain you have not explained to kids what is allowed or not by our patent laws because adults who are not lawyers largely don’t even know. I think you are getting your hopes up that kids understand what adults don’t because you saw a book somewhere that mentioned that topic. Kids don’t know what patents block and don’t block, so they couldn’t possibly be understanding patent “right” or “wrong”.

    It’s pretty clear to me and to many that software patents hurt people. They are an unjust monopoly tool. It is wrong to use them.

    Michael Reply:

    I am not talking about kids understanding patents – I am talking about kids (and adults) understanding the concept that going against IP rights is wrong.

    I agree the patent system is messed up. Just eliminating it, even just for software, without having another system to protect what we pretty much all know should be protected is not going to solve anything.

    What system would you propose to protect companies whose major value to society is their innovation?

    Michael Reply:

    “Between 90 and 98 percent of modern patent lawsuits are filed against independent inventors, not copiers”

    How would one even pretend to define and measure this? Really… I do to see how.

  4. Jose_X said,

    September 14, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Gravatar

    For entertainment purposes:

    “Nintendo Wii Accused Of Willfully Infringing Patent That Was Applied For After Wii Was Introduced”

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110908/09364115848/nintendo-wii-accused-willfully-infringing-patent-that-was-applied-after-wii-was-introduced.shtml

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