On Tue, 22 May 2012, Matt Giuca <matt.gi...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I can never quite justify why I think software deserves a special exemption
> from the patent system. I think what it comes down to is that *so very very
> little* of what we invent is actually non-obvious. I don't wish to deride
> software engineers in any way -- we do a lot of good work. But the fact is
> that nearly all solutions are obviously derivable from the problem
> definition. Ask any software engineer how to stop someone from installing a
> copy of a program on multiple computers and they will probably invent
> something that infringes on Richardson's patent. Unfortunately, lawyers,
> judges and juries don't appreciate the obviousness of most of these
> inventions.

That isn't a reason for exempting software.  It's more of an example of how 
the patent system is broken.

I think that the RSA patent was reasonable.  If Xerox had patented a lot of 
their interface work then that would have been reasonable too.

Patenting simple uses of basic mathematical operations such as XOR is however 
quite bogus.  Submarine patents of all kinds are also bogus as are patents for 
basic derivative works.

> This is the first time I've seen an argument that "the average person
> doesn't know it's a problem, so therefore it's not a problem." Is this guy
> really a lawyer? "Your honour, although witnesses have testified to my
> client's guilt in great detail, if you were to pick a person at random on
> the streets, the chances are that they wouldn't know my client is guilty.
> Therefore, is it really such a great crime?"

I was under the impression that one of the reasons for a jury trial is to 
limit the scope of unjust laws via jury nullification.  So if the system 
worked properly then juries would just void bad patents etc.  Unfortunately 
things don't work that way, rumor has it that the best way to avoid jury duty 
is to make it known that you are aware of the possibility of nullification.

-- 
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