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From "Andrew C. Oliver" <>
Subject Re: [definitely OT] LZW patent [was Re: MathML package structure?]
Date Fri, 18 Jan 2002 13:31:10 GMT
On Fri, 2002-01-18 at 06:30, Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:

> I think there are just a few software patents that really deserve their
> status (the RSA encryption algorithm, for example) but there are *TONS*
> that don't. Or, at least, I would *personally* have came out with if I
> had to build a system of that sort. Almost all speech recognition
> patents are dumb, but they use very complex math so they scare the crap
> out of the patent office! like using convolutions to match signals! wow,
> that's non-obvious! NOT! 
> good for Cauchy and Cantor that aren't here to witness the result of
> their geniality :(
> Patents aren't the problem: the incredible ignorance of the US patent
> office is!

I dunno.  Personally I agree with the author of this page, that it
equates to a theorem and I don't think that mathematical laws should be
patentable.  At the very least I think the patents run for way too
long.  US Patent laws were base on the idea that you'd have to build a
big factory and ramp up for production in order to profit from an
invention or sell it to someone who can.  This isn't necessarily the
case for software.  Next, a 6-12 months cycle can be a lifetime in
software, let alone several years.  I'm a bit leftist on software
patents.  I think they stifle innovation.  I think progress is a
community effort.  We'll have to agree to disagree on the idea of
software patents.

Lastly, from a practical standpoint -- it would be very difficult to
apply them intelligently as you suggest.  Maybe as the economy melts
down, it will get easier.  The truth of the matter is what software guy
who is general enough to understand all of the different kinds of
software patent submissions he gets in and yet smart enough to be able
to understand the more complicated ones would want this kind of boring,
thankless, probably low paying job?  I'd hate to be the guy/gal that
staffs that office.


> -- 
> Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
>                           able to give birth to a dancing star.
> <>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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-- - port of Excel format to java 
			- fix java generics!

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