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From "Andrew C. Oliver" <>
Subject Re: [definitely OT] LZW patent [was Re: MathML package structure?]
Date Sat, 19 Jan 2002 14:43:26 GMT

> > 
> > 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.  
> Oh, here I totally agree! Two years should be plenty to get enough
> visibility to become big and healthy enough, without stopping everybody
> else.

I guess I can buy that, enough to get compensated.  Which if it was
worth patenting anyhow shouldn't take so long.  

> > 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.
> I think that protection of intellectual property is not a bad thing, per
> se. The concept that 'information wants to be free' is screwed: for the
> first time in the history of mankind, the marginal cost of copying
> information is *zero*, not 'low' or 'low for big numbers' but *zero*.
> This changes the picture a lot (see napster and friends), but doesn't
> mean that people shouldn't be rewarded for the brainwork they did.
> note that *rewarded* doesn't mean 25$ per CD or 3% of your software
> revenue per 15 years!

+1.  The trouble is protecting the little guy from the Microsoft and
Suns of the world, but I believe oneupmanship and competition is the way
to do this.  Supposing we were competitors, you come up with an idea, I
build on it and improve it.  You build on my idea and improve it.  This
kind of competition causes rapid innovation.  Once again the trouble is
protecting the little guy from the sharks who can control his access to
the marketplace.  In the US we don't do this very well anymore.

> I give away my software and my patents (yes, a few things in Cocoon
> could be patentable) but I get *rewarded* with respect, fun, knowledge,
> vibility, better code and new ideas.

yup thats why I started POI.  The jobs I get paid for are boring work.  
> And most of these things you can't even buy with money!
> the people must understand that 'reward != money'... interesting enough,
> europeans seem to appreciate this disequation much more than
> americans... probably because wellfare give europeans benefits without
> always having to pass thru money exchanges.

Hehe, yes someone jokingly told me I couldn't work on Jakarta because I
wasn't European or from Sun.  :-)

I've found Europe is a lot more laid back then the US.  People here have
bought into the "Corporate culture."  Its kinda scary.  

Of course Europe tends to be very socialist and Socialism gives me a
nasty rash.  (get a job you bum...oh wait...I don't have one either)

I'm a capitalist but an anti-corporatist (before too long 3 companies
will rule the world)

> ah, well, getting too off topic, I guess :)
> > 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.
> Yes, but I'd love to be part of an open and meritocratic community of
> 'patent rejection'. Wound't you?

And work in a government building in DC.  No way.  (having nothing to do
with the possibility of 747s landing on your head).  I've worked in a
government building before.  Its kinda like being in jail.  Secondly,
spending all day reading patents would make me nauseous. :-) 

-- - port of Excel format to java 
			- fix java generics!

The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to
-Ambassador Kosh

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