obviously. They (large corps) are the ones bribing the lawmakers with free trips, private plane rides, free diners etc.
If the US keep going on like this most innovative stuff will come from europe and (more likely) china and india.
At least there won't be a shortage in lawyers ;)
It's so screwy. Laws used to be there to help protect the little guy. Those days are long gone.
"Laws used to be there to help protect the little guy"
Really? I thought it was to protect the little guy who can afford vast sums on lawyers. Most people can't afford to stay the course to the end and corps know that.
Unfortunately, it is simply the larger corps like MS protecting their market positions by working to rewrite the rules in their favor (in this case having the patent office switch from "first to invent" to "first to file")...MS has a whole division dedicated to the patent process (much like IBM..though they recently opened up a bunch of their patents to the marketplace)
If you can't "out innovate" the competition...you can certainly "legally position yourself to profit at every turn and twist of the marketplace or suppress real innovation with legal tactics" ....
Well, this bill is not yet law - and as Cringely mentions in the beginning of his article:
|...someone in the press noticed the unusual hearing and decided to attend, essentially scotching the intended markup of the bill a week later and passage just as an unwary Congress was heading home. |
I do sometimes dispair that the US press has completely degraded into infotainment, bread & circuses mode -- but here's a clear case where the press's watchdog role was still an important factor.
Even a mega-corp like Microsoft, and even with a strong lobbying presence, cannot just write a blank check ... not right now anyway. But they will try (and so might any of us if we were in the same position, right?)
This stuff works both ways. When smaller "patent mill" companies go after the big guys there can be very very big bills to pay.
Most webmasters are familiar with Acacia, SCO, and other bogus patent companies. These are the guys doing most of the harassing and they are far from being big mega-corps.
Yeah.. these patents are only an attempt to fight off open source, it's not an attempt to hurt the little guy.
As said, patents make the little guy very dangerous. If anything, these big companies want to defang patents.
I think this somehow applies.
Not really sure, but it is interesting...
"To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries"
- Constitution of the United States, Article 3, Section 8
(quote above is from "Article I" not "Article 3"... typo)... sorry.
THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
Article. I., Section. 8., (Clause 8)
Pretty interesting that the framers chose to include this in the first article of the constitution, and delegated it's oversight to Congress...
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors...
Yes that is interesting, and patents can achieve this if
a) The person filing the patent is an author or an inventor
- I don't think MS authored or invented the idea of looking up business listings
- The 'filed first' idea violates this ... i.e. it's to help authors and inventors, not lawyers and large companies
b) If the times really were reasonably limited ... many patents exist for far too long IMO.
c) If the patent really stands to 'promote the progress of science' by rewarding innovators... This is ironic since all of the scientists I know use a lot of open source software for their research ;)
In a way I think the software patent thing has become kind of a cold war... patent it before the other guy ... even if you don't really want to, beware how you enforce your patents for fear of reataliation, and of course watch out or THEY'LL SEE THE BIG BOARD!
|THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION |
Article. I., Section. 8., (Clause 8)
When I first glanced that I thought it was a scorecard of the constitution vs reality.
As in success or failure scorecard of:
Spirit of Constitution
Actual Law bypassing Spirit of Constitution
|Spirit of Constitution: 0 |
It's kinda like today's "half gallon" of ice cream, (which is actually 1.75 quarts).
Laws are subject to interpretation. Once a law [or the spirit of a law] is interpreted in a way that weakens (or stregthens) the law, the threshold gets lowered (or raised), and that becomes the baseline for subsequent interpretations.
... can't write more now, gotta run to the store and pick up a half gallon of ice cream :)