07.25.13

Gemini version available ♊︎

No Such Thing As a “Bad” Software Patent, They’re All Bad

Posted in Law, Patents at 1:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Joel_Spolsky
An image by D. McGinnis
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada licence

Summary: Joel Spolsky et al. advance the notion of “bad” software patents, shifting the debate about software patents to ‘quality’ rather than scope

Fred Wilson, a VC who opposes software patents (he has opposed them for years for business reasons), says that famed developer and writer Joel Spolsky is going after a patent of his former employer (Microsoft), putting an end to it:

Yesterday Joel Spolsky, Stack’s CEO, wrote a great post about how he used Ask Patents to squash a bad software patent applied for by Microsoft.

Here is the original post which says: “The other 40,000-odd software patents issued every year are mostly garbage that any working programmer could “invent” three times before breakfast. Most issued software patents aren’t “inventions” as most people understand that word. They’re just things that any first-year student learning Java should be able to do as a homework assignment in two hours.”

But that seems to leave room for exceptions, as if some software patents are “OK”. And that’s not okay…

The trend-setting media echoes Spolsky, calling it one of “the best sentences we read today”. To quote:

The other 40,000-odd software patents issued every year are mostly garbage that any working programmer could ‘invent’ three times before breakfast.”

Actually, all of them are garbage and should not have been granted. This whole notion of “Bad Software Patents” (classifying others as “Good”) can be found in the Forbes blog of an author we rarely agree on, this time writing about “Crowdsourcing The Fight Against Bad Software Patents“. Guess who inspires this false classification:

The basic problem is that the USPTO grants waaay too many patents on software, patents that don’t actually accord with the basic principles of what is necessary before a patent is justly granted. These two are that the invention must be novel and that it be non-obvious. If, just as an example, there are four wheeled cars, three wheeled, and motor bikes with two, there are also cycles with four and two wheels, then the idea of a three wheeled cycle is pretty obvious. Arguably a patent application for the tricycle would fail. The novel part is usually worked through by looking for prior art. Essentially, evidence that someone had descibed or even made something similar before. And prior art can come from anywhere. It wasn’t possible for anyone to patent the geostationary satellite because Arthur C Clarke described it in some of his popular science writing.

Actually, the problem at the USPTO is that it grants software patents, not that it grants “too many” software parents. It is important to pay attention to those who legitimise software patenting while pretending to be against them. Scope is the real issue, not scale of plaintiffs or ‘quality’ of particular software patents.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 27, 2021



  3. Links 27/11/2021: Nvidia’s DLSS Hype and Why GNU/Linux Matters

    Links for the day



  4. [Meme] Linus Gabriel Sebastian Takes GNU/Linux for a (Tail)'Spin'

    If you’re trying to prove that GNU/Linux is NOT Windows, then “haha! Well done…”



  5. GNU/Linux is for Freedom and It'll Gain Many Users When (or Where) People Understand What Software (or Computing) Freedom Means

    Software that respects people's freedom (and by extension privacy as well) is an alluring proposition; those who choose to try GNU/Linux for the wrong reasons are likely the wrong target audience for advocates



  6. Amid Reports of Microsoft's Competition Crimes in Europe...

    European companies are complaining, but they seem to overlook the principal aspect of an imperialistic system with bottomless pockets (almost 30 trillion dollars in debt already; US national debt soared again last month); Microsoft is shielded by a political system with military (“defence”) as bailout budget to help cushion international expansion for data grab and technical leverage, as we've seen in the case of EPO (this is all political, not technical, and should thus be treated as a political/corruption issue)



  7. Is Linus Trolling the GNU/Linux Community?

    This new video responds to what many sites have been provoked into amplifying



  8. Links 27/11/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and SeaMonkey 1.1.19 in EasyOS

    Links for the day



  9. [Meme] Keeping Our Distance From Microsoft

    The OSI is the dagger, the Linux Foundation is the knife, and many others are the sword by which Microsoft tries to get into the very heart of GNU/Linux and extinguish the Free software movement



  10. Microsoft Edge Encourages Indebted Americans to Guilt-spend Just in Time for Christmas

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  11. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  12. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  13. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  14. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  15. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  16. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  18. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021



  19. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day



  20. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously



  21. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    Links for the day



  22. [Meme] So Desperate That Edge Cannot Even Exceed 4% That They Block Rival Web Browsers

    Linux/Android/Free Software/GNU (they go by very many names/brands) may continue to grow to the point where Windows is as irrelevant as Blackberry; this means that Microsoft’s grip on the Web too has slipped — to the point where Microsoft frantically uses 'bailout' money to hijack LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. (it also rebrands almost everything as "Azure" or clown to fake a perception of growth)



  23. Windows Vista Service Pack 11 (Vista 11) Has Failed to Curb the Growth of GNU/Linux

    Windows market share continues to decrease in spite of billions of dollars spent bribing the media for fake hype, especially in light of a new Windows Service Pack (SP), Vista SP 11



  24. Links 25/11/2021: Proton 6.3-8 and Linux Mint Compared to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  25. 3.5 Years Later the 'Master' of Fedora is Still Microsoft and IBM Cannot Be Bothered to Alter Git Branch Names (Refuting or Ignoring Its Very Own Directive About Supposedly Racially-Insensitive Terms)

    Today we demonstrate the hypocrisy of IBM; years after telling us that we should shun the term "master" and repeatedly insisting it had a racist connotation at least 65 Fedora repositories, still controlled by Microsoft, still use "master"



  26. Changing the Arrangement While News is a Bit Slow(er)

    I've made it easier for myself to keep abreast of things like IRC channels and networks (incidentally, a day ago Freenode reopened to anonymous logins) and I've improved monitoring of the Web sites, Gemini capsule etc. (this video is unplanned and improvised)



  27. Links 24/11/2021: Alpine Linux 3.15 and Endless OS 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  28. [Meme] Jimmy Zemlin Loves Microsoft

    It’s funny, isn’t it? Lying for a living and sucking up to the liars pays off; you get to plunder actual Linux users while leaving Linux morally and financially bankrupt



  29. Links 24/11/2021: PHP Foundation and Flatpak Criticisms

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 23, 2021


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts