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The primary principles of patent reform are switching the U.S. system from "first to invent" to "first to file" by replacing legal challenges to patents with a more administrative challenge process, and by practically eliminating injunctions through which a patent holder forces an infringer to stop using his intellectual property....
Absent-minded inventors lose in this system, which also encourages patenting anything and everything just in case. We can see this in recent Microsoft patents, for example, like 20050108349 -- "Business inquiries and operations using messaging service" -- which seems to cover looking up a number in the telephone directory. Does this qualify as "innovation? ...isn't a patent supposed to be "non-obvious," which would make looking up numbers in the phone book unpatentable?"
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" ....
...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?)
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
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors...
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!
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 :)