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Posted: 8/6/2012 9:42:11 AM EDT
I'm open minded towards this but don't know what it means.  I've always thought our patent laws seem a bit old school.  Afterall all the easy stuff has been invented.  That is stuff that requires one person with an idea and a few days of building it  These days it seems like new stuff requires $100 million and a team of PhD folks plus a few MBA's to manage them properly.

I've also heard patent reform is a way that large corporations are trying to stick it to small inventors.  So splain this issue to me.

Link Posted: 8/6/2012 9:46:51 AM EDT
The biggest thing I see needing fixed is that technology companies are able to patent a concept.  Not a technology, not a way to do it, but just an idea.  "Streaming video over the internet" should not be able to be patented by itself.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 9:50:12 AM EDT
basically it means that when you get awarded a patent it is promptly sent to China for them to steal it, and dupe it. I mean, to do otherwise it selfish and bigoted.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 9:52:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 9:57:38 AM EDT
Patents are now being issued for "first to patent" without regard to existing products.

So you find some product on the market that nobody ever bothered to patent, and then patent it and put the other company out of business.

The whole patent system now is just about process and not products.  That kind of model favors large outfits with a dedicated legal staff who just play the game full time.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:01:02 AM EDT
It's a system designed to line pockets of big coprorations because they can afford to buy the lawmakers. Its no different than the copyright system we have now. Disney bought enough lobbyied congressmen to change the laws over the years so that it's now 72 years after the death of a creator before something created enters the public domain.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:02:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:02:23 AM EDT
Since the head of the government believes that the person/firm applying for the patent "...didn't build that ...", I presume he thinks intellectual property should belong to the state.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:04:05 AM EDT
As others have pointed out, software/technology patents have gotten out of hand.

But at least some lawyers are making big money litigating them, so someone's reaping the rewards.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:04:37 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
I don't know but the Apple v. everyone else patent fights do not seem in accordance with the original intent of patents


I blame it on the decision to allow software and algorithms to be patented.   The stupidity is rampant.


Yep.  Now everyone just buys up patents so they can threaten patent suits against anyone who tries to sue them.  It's a pretty messed up situation.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:09:32 AM EDT
I hesitate to recommend the podcast.....usually pretty lefty NPR, but it will shed a ton of light on some current patent issues.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack/
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:12:19 AM EDT
Hopefully patent reform will bite Apple's "litigation over innovation" trolling ass big time.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:39:27 AM EDT
Quoted:
Patents are now being issued for "first to patent" without regard to existing products.

So you find some product on the market that nobody ever bothered to patent, and then patent it and put the other company out of business.

The whole patent system now is just about process and not products.  That kind of model favors large outfits with a dedicated legal staff who just play the game full time.


That's not true.

An existing product is published material and therefore is impossible to patent because it's not new, novel, or unique.


People who decry patents don't realize that, without patent protection, the amount of technology, innovation and invention would have NEVER been EVEN CLOSE to what the US has experienced in the last 100 years.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:42:01 AM EDT
As a person who has my name of 40 patents::

The problem is that the patent office grants too many patents. One of the preconditions to obtaining a patent is that the invention not be obvious to someone skilled in the art. So, when more than one patent application arrives at the patent office inventing substantially the same thing, they should ALL be thrown out as being obvious to someone skilled in the art. That is multiple simultaneous invention is not patentable, but falls under "obvioous to one skilled in the art".

Now the price structure of obtaining a patent has taken obtaining a patent out of the hands of the inventor (unless independently wealthy) so that only corporations can obtain patents.

In addition, only corporations can procecute suits brought on my owners of patents ($$$ again).

So, the patent is no longer protecting the inventor, but protecting the corporation. And with the revision of the mid 1990s, the corporation can essentially hold onto the patent for decades, reducting the utility to society at large, which was to original premiss for patents (limited grant of rights).
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:45:21 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Patents are now being issued for "first to patent" without regard to existing products.

So you find some product on the market that nobody ever bothered to patent, and then patent it and put the other company out of business.

The whole patent system now is just about process and not products.  That kind of model favors large outfits with a dedicated legal staff who just play the game full time.


That's not true.

An existing product is published material and therefore is impossible to patent because it's not new, novel, or unique.


People who decry patents don't realize that, without patent protection, the amount of technology, innovation and invention would have NEVER been EVEN CLOSE to what the US has experienced in the last 100 years.


Tell me why this patent exists.

Patent
A point-to-point Internet protocol exchanges Internet Protocol (IP) addresses between processing units to establish a point-to-point communication link between the processing units through the Internet. A first point-to-point Internet protocol includes the steps of (a) storing in a database a respective IP address of a set of processing units that have an on-line status with respect to the Internet; (b) transmitting a query from a first processing unit to a connection server to determine the on-line status of a second processing unit; and (c) retrieving the IP address of the second unit from the database using the connection server, in response to the determination of a positive on-line status of the second processing unit, for establishing a point-to-point communication link between the first and second processing units through the Internet. A second point-to-point Internet protocol includes the steps of (a) transmitting an E-mail signal, including a first IP address, from a first processing unit; (b) processing the E-mail signal through the Internet to deliver the E-mail signal to a second processing unit; and (c) transmitting a second IP address to the first processing unit for establishing a point-to-point communication link between the first and second processing units through the Internet.


This is patenting the idea of having 2 computers talk to each other without a server in between.


Edit: I'm a software developer.  I understand the point of protecting your software.  Software patents, however, are pretty ridiculous.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:48:53 AM EDT
Quoted:
As a person who has my name of 40 patents::

The problem is that the patent office grants too many patents. One of the preconditions to obtaining a patent is that the invention not be obvious to someone skilled in the art. So, when more than one patent application arrives at the patent office inventing substantially the same thing, they should ALL be thrown out as being obvious to someone skilled in the art. That is multiple simultaneous invention is not patentable, but falls under "obvioous to one skilled in the art".

Now the price structure of obtaining a patent has taken obtaining a patent out of the hands of the inventor (unless independently wealthy) so that only corporations can obtain patents.

In addition, only corporations can procecute suits brought on my owners of patents ($$$ again).

So, the patent is no longer protecting the inventor, but protecting the corporation. And with the revision of the mid 1990s, the corporation can essentially hold onto the patent for decades, reducting the utility to society at large, which was to original premiss for patents (limited grant of rights).


When two or more entities are persuing the same goal, they will likely come up with similar solutions. Unless the first to patent is protected and can make a profit from their idea, how many entities do you think are going to try to produce new technology?

Patents can be hammered out for 10-30k on average. Some substantially more. Some substantially less, depending on circumstance.

There are ways around funding patent infringement enforcement.

How is a corp going to "sit on a patent" for decades when it's only good for 17 years.?
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:54:32 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Patents are now being issued for "first to patent" without regard to existing products.

So you find some product on the market that nobody ever bothered to patent, and then patent it and put the other company out of business.

The whole patent system now is just about process and not products.  That kind of model favors large outfits with a dedicated legal staff who just play the game full time.


That's not true.

An existing product is published material and therefore is impossible to patent because it's not new, novel, or unique.


People who decry patents don't realize that, without patent protection, the amount of technology, innovation and invention would have NEVER been EVEN CLOSE to what the US has experienced in the last 100 years.


Tell me why this patent exists.

Patent
A point-to-point Internet protocol exchanges Internet Protocol (IP) addresses between processing units to establish a point-to-point communication link between the processing units through the Internet. A first point-to-point Internet protocol includes the steps of (a) storing in a database a respective IP address of a set of processing units that have an on-line status with respect to the Internet; (b) transmitting a query from a first processing unit to a connection server to determine the on-line status of a second processing unit; and (c) retrieving the IP address of the second unit from the database using the connection server, in response to the determination of a positive on-line status of the second processing unit, for establishing a point-to-point communication link between the first and second processing units through the Internet. A second point-to-point Internet protocol includes the steps of (a) transmitting an E-mail signal, including a first IP address, from a first processing unit; (b) processing the E-mail signal through the Internet to deliver the E-mail signal to a second processing unit; and (c) transmitting a second IP address to the first processing unit for establishing a point-to-point communication link between the first and second processing units through the Internet.


This is patenting the idea of having 2 computers talk to each other without a server in between.


Edit: I'm a software developer.  I understand the point of protecting your software.  Software patents, however, are pretty ridiculous.


Yeah, that's out of my field, but does sound pretty weak. If it's a valuable method that's not obvious and the patent is well written, it would be valuable.

Was this patent issued at the onset of the internet and therefore actually was novel, new and unique? That'd be my guess.

If you go back to the early stages of any field (airplanes for instance), the patents issued sound absurd to us, now. Reason being that the technology is very obvious to us, now.

I'm sure there are patents being issued in the genome field, currently. And the methods or device claims are ground breaking. In 15 or 20 years, we will be asking, " WTF would this be a patentable thing"?
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 10:55:07 AM EDT

Title:
Method of exercising a cat
United States Patent 5443036
Abstract:
A method for inducing cats to exercise consists of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus onto the floor or wall or other opaque surface in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats, and to any other animal with a chase instinct.

Inventors:
Amiss, Kevin T. (255 S. Pickett St., #301, Alexandria, VA, 22304)
Abbott, Martin H. (10549 Assembly Dr., Fairfax, VA, 22030)
Application Number:
08/144473
Publication Date:
08/22/1995
Filing Date:
11/02/1993
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation
Primary Class:
119/707
International Classes:
A01K15/02; A01K15/00; (IPC1-7): A01K29/00
Field of Search:
119/702, 119/707, 119/174, 119/905, 446/485
View Patent Images:
Download PDF 5443036        PDF help
US Patent References:
5194007Semiconductor laser weapon trainer and target designator for live fireMarch, 1993Marshall et al.
5056097Target illuminators and systems employing sameOctober, 1991Meyers
4985029Laser apparatus for medical treatmentJanuary, 1991Hoshino
4926438Laser pointerMay, 1990Maes et al.
4761715Laser pointerAugust, 1988Brooks
4757515Laser tube casingJuly, 1988Hughes
4231077Light toyOctober, 1980Joyce et al.
4208701Luminous toyJune, 1980Schock
3877171Flashlight amusement deviceApril, 1975Sloop et al.446/485
Other References:
Carayan et al., "Effects of tianeptine on the Performance of a reaching movement in a cat", Psychopharmacology, vol. 104, Issue 3, Berlin, 1991, pp. 328-336.
Levesque et al., "Visual `cortical-recipient` and tectal-recepient pontine zones play distinct roles in cat visuomotor performance", Behavioral Brain Research, vol. 39, Netherlands, 1990, pp. 157-166.
Primary Examiner:
Manahan, Todd E.
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of inducing aerobic exercise in an unrestrained cat comprising the steps of:

(a) directing an intense coherent beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus to produce a bright highly-focused pattern of light at the intersection of the beam and an opaque surface, said pattern being of visual interest to a cat; and

(b) selectively redirecting said beam out of the cat's immediate reach to induce said cat to run and chase said beam and pattern of light around an exercise area.


2. The method of claim 1 wherein said bright pattern of light is small in area relative to a paw of the cat.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said beam remains invisible between said laser and said opaque surface until impinging on said opaque surface.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein step (b) includes sweeping said beam at an angular speed to cause said pattern to move along said opaque surface at a speed in the range of five to twenty-five feet per second.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to recreational and amusement devices for domestic animals and, more particularly, to a method for exercising and entertaining cats.

2. Discussion of the Prior Art

Cats are not characteristically disposed toward voluntary aerobic exercise. It becomes the burden of the cat owner to create situations of sufficient interest to the feline to induce even short-lived and modest exertion for the health and well-being of the pet. Cats are, however, fascinated by light and enthralled by unpredictable jumpy movements, as for instance, by the bobbing end of a piece of hand-held string or yarn, or a ball rolling and bouncing across a floor. Intense sunlight reflected from a mirror or focused through a prism, if the room is sufficiently dark, will, when moved irregularly, cause even the more sedentary of cats to scamper after the lighted image in an amusing and therapeutic game of "cat and mouse." The disruption of having to darken a room to stage a cat workout and the uncertainty of collecting a convenient sunbeam in a lens or mirror render these approaches to establishing a regular life-enhancing cat exercise routine inconvenient at best.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved method of exercising a cat in normal day and night lighting environments.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a method of providing amusing, entertaining and healthy exercise for a cat.

It is yet another object of the present invention to teach a method of exercising a cat effortlessly at any time.

In accordance with the present invention, a light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation (laser) device in a small hand-held configuration is used to project and move a bright pattern of light around a room to amuse and exercise a cat.

The method is effective, simple, convenient and inexpensive to practice and provides healthy exercise for the cat and amusement and entertainment for both the cat and the owner.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings of one specific embodiment thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cat owner exercising a cat in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a hand-held laser exerciser.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings, a light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation (laser) apparatus 10 for exercising cats, in the hands of a cat owner 12, emits an invisible beam 14 of light from and along the longitudinal axis of the device barrel 16. Activation of the laser cat exerciser 10 is controlled by spring-loaded trigger 18 energizing the laser mechanism by completing a battery power circuit. A cat 20 reacts to the bright pattern of light 22 occurring at the intersection of the laser beam and an opaque surface, for example, the floor or wall of a room.

The involuntary and almost imperceptibly slight movements of the hand holding the laser device of the present invention creates a jittery animated effect in the light pattern at the opaque intersection appealing to cats even when the device is held essentially steady.

Intentional movements of the hand-held cat exerciser cause angular changes in the direction of the beam 14 and consequently the light pattern 22 moves unpredictably about the intersecting surfaces. The cat 20, intrigued by the jumpy movement of the light pattern, experiences a playful and healthy chase impulse and follows the irregularly moving light pattern around the room to the cardio-vascular, respiratory, weight control, and muscle tone benefit of the animal.

The coherent nature of a laser light beam results in a small intensely bright pattern of light clearly visible in normal day light or artificial night illumination, small enough relative to the paw of the cat to cause interest without posing a threat, and sharply defined over long enough distances (e.g., up to 150 feet) to provoke a full workout with long sprints for the pet. Ideally the bright pattern of light is directed along the floor, steps or wall at speeds sufficient to exert and entertain the cat but not so discouragingly fast as to dissuade against the chase, i.e., typically in the general range of 5 to 25 feet per second. In other words, the angular sweep speed of the laser beam is controlled by the cat owner 12 to effect an appropriate linear sweep speed of the pattern on the opaque surface within the stated general range. It is understood, of course, that the angular beam sweep speed required to effect a given linear pattern speed depends upon the distance between the laser and the surface on which the pattern impinges; specifically, as the distance between the laser and the surface increases, the same linear pattern speed is produced by a slower angular beam sweep speed. Release of trigger 18 interrupts the power circuit and extinguishes the laser beam, whereupon the cat can return to more traditionally feline time passing until cat owner 12 re-initiates the laser cat exerciser.

The light pattern projected by the laser cat exerciser is invisible until intersection with an opaque surface. Lasers emitting various colors of coherent light can be used and the laser apparatus can be distinctively shaped and colored for easy identification.

Although particularly suited to amusing and exercising cats, the method of the present invention can be applied to other domestic pets, for instance dogs, ferrets, and any other animals with the chase instinct.

Inasmuch as the present invention is subject to many variations, modifications and changes in detail, it is intended that the subject matter discussed above and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 11:07:51 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
I don't know but the Apple v. everyone else patent fights do not seem in accordance with the original intent of patents


I blame it on the decision to allow software and algorithms to be patented.   The stupidity is rampant.


What's the issue with that?  If I build a unique software capability, shouldn't I be able to protect it?
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 11:47:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 11:51:55 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 11:55:59 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 11:57:35 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:02:38 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:

What's the issue with that?  If I build a unique software capability, shouldn't I be able to protect it?


Define 'Unique Software Capability'.  The things that have been patented have been algorithm type stuff.  The example posted earlier (2 computers talking) is a great one, I've seen another were someone patented an index file .

Software should be treated like books, with a copywrite - not with a patent IMHO.


Yep.  You can't just outright copy my software, but if my software has the neat idea of storing your potential purchases in a digital shopping cart, you should be free to use that in your own competing product.

Link
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:10:36 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
I don't know but the Apple v. everyone else patent fights do not seem in accordance with the original intent of patents


I blame it on the decision to allow software and algorithms to be patented.   The stupidity is rampant.


Spoken like a true freeloader.  If we couldn't patent our algorithms and the software that uses them we would be out of business tomorrow.  We don't pay engineers at mathematicians to develop algorithms for everyone else to leech off of.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:15:21 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Patents are now being issued for "first to patent" without regard to existing products.

So you find some product on the market that nobody ever bothered to patent, and then patent it and put the other company out of business.

The whole patent system now is just about process and not products.  That kind of model favors large outfits with a dedicated legal staff who just play the game full time.


That's not true.

An existing product is published material and therefore is impossible to patent because it's not new, novel, or unique.


People who decry patents don't realize that, without patent protection, the amount of technology, innovation and invention would have NEVER been EVEN CLOSE to what the US has experienced in the last 100 years.



True, but the problem with that is that once a patent is issued (because the patent examiner didn't do a halfway decent job of looking for prior art), you must got to court to prove that your product constituted prior art.  A company that had been selling a product in the market for years can suddenly find itself having to defend against another company that patented what they were doing.  You would think this would be a fairly short and sweet trial, but I've seen things of this nature drag on for years.


Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:22:41 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:24:34 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:

Spoken like a true freeloader.  If we couldn't patent our algorithms and the software that uses them we would be out of business tomorrow.  We don't pay engineers at mathematicians to develop algorithms for everyone else to leech off of.


So what are you patenting now, the "bubble sort"(tm)?



I'm glad no one thought to patent the idea of assigning a value to a variable.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:28:41 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:

Spoken like a true freeloader.  If we couldn't patent our algorithms and the software that uses them we would be out of business tomorrow.  We don't pay engineers at mathematicians to develop algorithms for everyone else to leech off of.


So what are you patenting now, the "bubble sort"(tm)?



I'm glad no one thought to patent the idea of assigning a value to a variable.


Some of us made it past algebra and are working on things that are a bit more complicated.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:28:52 PM EDT
Here's some food for thought

Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:31:54 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:

Spoken like a true freeloader.  If we couldn't patent our algorithms and the software that uses them we would be out of business tomorrow.  We don't pay engineers at mathematicians to develop algorithms for everyone else to leech off of.


So what are you patenting now, the "bubble sort"(tm)?



I'm glad no one thought to patent the idea of assigning a value to a variable.


Some of us made it past algebra and are working on things that are a bit more complicated.


I bet someone's tried to patent it. It seems that a lot of the software patents out there are for obvious software solutions derived by people that are hacks. If musical licks could be patented, most software patents would equate in technology to something like a musician getting a patent on 7/8 or the pentatonic scale. To a professional, the idea of patenting such a trivial thing would be asinine, but to the amateur, they'd think they actually "invented" something.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:33:34 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
I don't know but the Apple v. everyone else patent fights do not seem in accordance with the original intent of patents


I blame it on the decision to allow software and algorithms to be patented.   The stupidity is rampant.


Which is counter to the law as plainly written.  But luckily for them Roberts threw out the concept of "law", so they should be fine.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:34:23 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
I don't know but the Apple v. everyone else patent fights do not seem in accordance with the original intent of patents


I blame it on the decision to allow software and algorithms to be patented.   The stupidity is rampant.


What's the issue with that?  If I build a unique software capability, shouldn't I be able to protect it?


Honestly? Fuck no.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:36:22 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
I don't know but the Apple v. everyone else patent fights do not seem in accordance with the original intent of patents


I blame it on the decision to allow software and algorithms to be patented.   The stupidity is rampant.


What's the issue with that?  If I build a unique software capability, shouldn't I be able to protect it?


Honestly? Fuck no.


Actually that would be either copyright or trade secret.  But feel free to pretend patents apply.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:37:25 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:

Spoken like a true freeloader.  If we couldn't patent our algorithms and the software that uses them we would be out of business tomorrow.  We don't pay engineers at mathematicians to develop algorithms for everyone else to leech off of.


So what are you patenting now, the "bubble sort"(tm)?



I'm glad no one thought to patent the idea of assigning a value to a variable.


Some of us made it past algebra and are working on things that are a bit more complicated.


I bet someone's tried to patent it. It seems that a lot of the software patents out there are for obvious software solutions derived by people that are hacks. If musical licks could be patented, most software patents would equate in technology to something like a musician getting a patent on 7/8 or the pentatonic scale. To a professional, the idea of patenting such a trivial thing would be asinine, but to the amateur, they'd think they actually "invented" something.


I'm not talking about patenting variable assignments.  That is retarded, and is well established and therefore not eligible for patent anyways.  I'm talking about algorithms that actually perform a function, like image analysis.  Note, I'm not saying that image analysis in itself is or should be patentable.  If you can invent a unique algorithm that does it better and faster then more power to you.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:40:25 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:

Spoken like a true freeloader.  If we couldn't patent our algorithms and the software that uses them we would be out of business tomorrow.  We don't pay engineers at mathematicians to develop algorithms for everyone else to leech off of.


So what are you patenting now, the "bubble sort"(tm)?



I'm glad no one thought to patent the idea of assigning a value to a variable.


Some of us made it past algebra and are working on things that are a bit more complicated.


I bet someone's tried to patent it. It seems that a lot of the software patents out there are for obvious software solutions derived by people that are hacks. If musical licks could be patented, most software patents would equate in technology to something like a musician getting a patent on 7/8 or the pentatonic scale. To a professional, the idea of patenting such a trivial thing would be asinine, but to the amateur, they'd think they actually "invented" something.


I'm not talking about patenting variable assignments.  That is retarded, and is well established and therefore not eligible for patent anyways.  I'm talking about algorithms that actually perform a function, like image analysis.  Note, I'm not saying that image analysis in itself is or should be patentable.  If you can invent a unique algorithm that does it better and faster then more power to you.


This concept is obsolete.  Proving a patent is "obvious" is no longer practical, and there is no penalty or check for filing an "obvious" patent.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:43:08 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:

Spoken like a true freeloader.  If we couldn't patent our algorithms and the software that uses them we would be out of business tomorrow.  We don't pay engineers at mathematicians to develop algorithms for everyone else to leech off of.


So what are you patenting now, the "bubble sort"(tm)?



I'm glad no one thought to patent the idea of assigning a value to a variable.


Some of us made it past algebra and are working on things that are a bit more complicated.


I bet someone's tried to patent it. It seems that a lot of the software patents out there are for obvious software solutions derived by people that are hacks. If musical licks could be patented, most software patents would equate in technology to something like a musician getting a patent on 7/8 or the pentatonic scale. To a professional, the idea of patenting such a trivial thing would be asinine, but to the amateur, they'd think they actually "invented" something.


I'm not talking about patenting variable assignments.  That is retarded, and is well established and therefore not eligible for patent anyways.  I'm talking about algorithms that actually perform a function, like image analysis.  Note, I'm not saying that image analysis in itself is or should be patentable.  If you can invent a unique algorithm that does it better and faster then more power to you.


This concept is obsolete.  Proving a patent is "obvious" is no longer practical, and there is no penalty or check for filing an "obvious" patent.


I understand that.  However, that applies to any patents - not just software algorithms.  I don't see how that makes a good argument for barring patents on algorithms.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:44:19 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:44:37 PM EDT
Quoted:

I'm not talking about patenting variable assignments.  That is retarded, and is well established and therefore not eligible for patent anyways.  I'm talking about algorithms that actually perform a function, like image analysis.  Note, I'm not saying that image analysis in itself is or should be patentable.  If you can invent a unique algorithm that does it better and faster then more power to you.


I guarantee that there's a patent examiner that would grant a patent to assigning a variable somewhere.

Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:45:46 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:47:22 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:

I'm not talking about patenting variable assignments.  That is retarded, and is well established and therefore not eligible for patent anyways.  I'm talking about algorithms that actually perform a function, like image analysis.  Note, I'm not saying that image analysis in itself is or should be patentable.  If you can invent a unique algorithm that does it better and faster then more power to you.


I guarantee that there's a patent examiner that would grant a patent to assigning a variable somewhere.



There probably is, and if so then it makes a good argument for reform.  It does not make an argument against allowing an algorithm to be patented.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:47:27 PM EDT
Algorithms should not be patentable without embodiment. Period. The way people have gotten around this is they specify "comprising a computer" or some nullshit like that. And that is putting the cart before the horse. The allowance of such things were most certainly intended for a machine to have a software component to it, and not that the machine is a generic PC.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:48:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:49:04 PM EDT
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Was this patent issued at the onset of the internet and therefore actually was novel, new and unique? That'd be my guess.




Umm computers were talking to each other before the internet.

The Airline reservations system (SABRE) is a great example.


I admit that SW and internet are not my field. But, that patent specifically mentioned using the internet to allow computers to communicate.

I have no idea when it was issued. I have no idea how new, novel and unique the concept was at the time it was issued.

I don't doubt that there are SW patents issued that shouldn't be. I'm basing this on how difficult it was to get the patent agent to understand that our method and device claims on our patents actually WERE novel and unique and not obvious. 35k in lawyer fees, several non final and one final rejection, only to be reversed into a issued patents.

I understand the goings on with the USPTO.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:49:16 PM EDT
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Spoken like a true freeloader.  If we couldn't patent our algorithms and the software that uses them we would be out of business tomorrow.  We don't pay engineers at mathematicians to develop algorithms for everyone else to leech off of.


So what are you patenting now, the "bubble sort"(tm)?



I'm glad no one thought to patent the idea of assigning a value to a variable.


Some of us made it past algebra and are working on things that are a bit more complicated.


I bet someone's tried to patent it. It seems that a lot of the software patents out there are for obvious software solutions derived by people that are hacks. If musical licks could be patented, most software patents would equate in technology to something like a musician getting a patent on 7/8 or the pentatonic scale. To a professional, the idea of patenting such a trivial thing would be asinine, but to the amateur, they'd think they actually "invented" something.


I'm not talking about patenting variable assignments.  That is retarded, and is well established and therefore not eligible for patent anyways.  I'm talking about algorithms that actually perform a function, like image analysis.  Note, I'm not saying that image analysis in itself is or should be patentable.  If you can invent a unique algorithm that does it better and faster then more power to you.


This concept is obsolete.  Proving a patent is "obvious" is no longer practical, and there is no penalty or check for filing an "obvious" patent.


I understand that.  However, that applies to any patents - not just software algorithms.  I don't see how that makes a good argument for barring patents on algorithms.


Math has never been patentable, along with other fundamental laws (IE you can't patent gravity in theory).  Algorithms are, by definition, math.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:55:17 PM EDT
The patent system is wholly f'ed up.  It's taking years to issue patents and in many cases by the time the patent is issued the technology is out of date.

Patent trolling is rampant i.e. the blackberry case a few years ago where people sit on patents just waiting for someone to sue.  That cost RIM 400million + IRIC.

Patent reform has been talked about a lot but it's never done because the bigger companies with the resources are working the system too well.  We're also getting our ass handed to us by other countries in this area.  Drugs come to mind here as many other countries don't grant as long a patent and generics are available a lot earlier than in the US.  So the US ends up carrying a larger burden for drug development but the drug companies don't care because they just stick it to the US.    

The biggest issues is the patent system is supposed to promote an efficient system but right now it's just generating a ton of litigation like Aimless mentioned.  The litigation usually ends up in cross licensing agreements for both sides' patent portfolios.  One of the reasons Google bought Motorola wireless is to get it's hands on a patent portfolio to have some leverage in these types of suits.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 12:56:54 PM EDT
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Math has never been patentable, along with other fundamental laws (IE you can't patent gravity in theory).  Algorithms are, by definition, math.


The math isn't what is patented.  The algorithm is.  They are not one and the same.  Math is to an algorithm as steel is to the ball bearing.
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 1:05:11 PM EDT
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Math has never been patentable, along with other fundamental laws (IE you can't patent gravity in theory).  Algorithms are, by definition, math.


The math isn't what is patented.  The algorithm is.  They are not one and the same.  Math is to an algorithm as steel is to the ball bearing.


The algorithm *is* math.  In some cases very complicated math.  Would it help if I described algorithms as a very detailed equation, such as the law of relativity?
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 1:09:49 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2012 1:19:22 PM EDT
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Patents are now being issued for "first to patent" without regard to existing products.

So you find some product on the market that nobody ever bothered to patent, and then patent it and put the other company out of business.

The whole patent system now is just about process and not products.  That kind of model favors large outfits with a dedicated legal staff who just play the game full time.


That's not true.

An existing product is published material and therefore is impossible to patent because it's not new, novel, or unique.


People who decry patents don't realize that, without patent protection, the amount of technology, innovation and invention would have NEVER been EVEN CLOSE to what the US has experienced in the last 100 years.



Sorry, that's not the case and really has been for many years. Prior art and obviousness to someone knowledgeable in the subject matter are completely ignored.

Take touch screens for example.  It's pretty obvious to any fool that you can touch the screen to perform an action. That action could be making a call, starting an app, firing a nuclear missile, pretty much anything.
But Apple wants to patent ever possible action you could perform and claim it's theirs. So Apple makes a iPhone butt scratching attachment and patents touching the screen to scratch your ass.

That's as stupid as saying you own the rights to a physical push button and what it does when you flip the switch.




Link Posted: 8/6/2012 1:20:34 PM EDT
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Patent law written a century ago didn't anticipate the issues with intellectual property we have today. Patent agents in many instances don't have the expertise necessary to even understand what they are looking at.

That being said, do I trust politicians in DC to solve that problem? No, I do not. I do, however, expect corporations who already have a big war chest to employ lots of resources lobbying to get IP laws favorable to them to cement their dominance in the market.



One of the PTO's biggest problems is they refuse to open offices outside of the DC area.  When I interviewed with them they asked me why would I want to go some place I'd have to commute 1.5-2 hours each way per day and never be able to own a home.    If they opened up satellite offices they could attract a much better talent pool and expand a lot easier.  Typical government thinking for you.
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