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From "Roger I Martin PhD" <>
Subject Re: [definitely OT] LZW patent [was Re: MathML package structure?]
Date Sat, 19 Jan 2002 16:49:53 GMT
Just my two capitalistic cents:  As I understand it, the patent office was
not set up to only provide protection of inventions for would-be
manufacturers but to get all ideas and inventions into the hands of the
military as quickly as possible so they can pick through 'em(I happen to
agree with this. It "wouldn't be prudent" having US citizens selling
military ideas to the country with the highest bid!).  Therefore what is
considered patentable has been kept very broad to give people an incentive
to submit their ideas.  For example, if you figure out how to make a bullet
travel further and more accurately by "rifling" a gun barrel, they want to
know about it and "convince" you to keep it a US military secret! You get
patent protection for civilian and commercial applications and if it has
miltary significances, a fat contract.  If you can't manufacture in a timely
fashion the US military has the right to get it done.

I agree that software and algorithms don't patent well.  Mostly because of
lawyers (this is not proverbial lawyer bashing) just a fact. Code blows 'em
away.  It's too much for 'em.  They can't handle patenting something
progressively changing with more words than the patent.  Try explaining to a
lawyer what a reserved word is or all the "prior art"!  I had to write a
patent for one .com and by the time management and the lawyers were
satisfied with the patent prose, .coms were no longer getting VC money for
fledging ideas. Since this experience I've stayed away from patenting
software alone!

Why deal with gif? Why not jpg, png, etc?

Blame this OT continuation on it being Saturday morning.


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