Patently Unpatentable: Remote Presence Systems

16. April, 2013

With the recent advances in 3D printing and robotics, there will be a time when traveling to conferences to meet people in person will work like this:

You send a 3D scan of your head and hands to a 3D printing service plus a set of clothes via normal mail. When the clothes arrive and the face has been printed, both will be dressed on an android frame.

The androids will then meet “in person” while you can safely stay at home.

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Patently Unpatentable: Ask Patents

25. September, 2012

Ask Patents is a new website by the guys at StackExchange with the goal to answer questions about the patent system in general and to help finding prior art for certain patents.

From the FAQ:

Ask Patents – Stack Exchange is a collaboratively edited Q&A platform for patent experts, inventors and citizens who wish to participate in the US patent process. Its primary purpose is to help individuals:

  1. Solicit help finding prior art that might apply to a patent or application
  2. Get answers to hard questions about specific patents
  3. Ask questions about the US patent system or process

Ask Patents – Stack Exchange was designed in collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Peer To Patent, whose efforts empowering citizens to help find prior art inspired the crowdsourced approach you see here. We also worked with Google to leverage the power of Google Patents Search and their new Prior Art Finder Tool.

If you care about patents or work in the software industry, have a look.


Patent Battles are a Ridiculous Abuse of Intellectual Property Law

6. July, 2012

A human with a brain. What has the world come to? 😉 In his blog post “Capitalism“, US-Judge Richard Posner argues that “statistic indicates that capitalism is a necessary condition of economic success rather than a sufficient condition.” But sadly economists like Alan Greenspan have been fallen for the delusion that “capitalism was a self-regulating system; market failures were, with few exceptions, either self-correcting, or less harmful than regulation aimed at eliminating them.”

We all know where that lead to. Power needs to be controlled by an independent force. Capitalism doesn’t work without democracy and democracy, we all know only too well, works only with a balance of power.

I agree with him that the patent system is a good idea for pharmaceuticals (as I said before).

But software patents have become just a weapon. Posner says: “It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries.” And unlike in drugs, each piece of technology is protected by a long list of patents. The smart phone in your pocket is probably protected by thousands of them because each piece of it is “protected” by hundreds of individual patents.

Hopefully, more judges follow his lead and put an end to legal but unethical behavior.

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EFF Tries To Sanitize Patent Law

23. February, 2012

The EFF has started a new campaign to clean the patent system.

I’ve blogged about the many problems of the parent system when it comes to software. If you care as well, at least spread the word. If you want to do more, check out the EFF site or maybe  help with the Patent Busting Project.


The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls

26. September, 2011

Another study by James E. Bessen: “The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls

Patent trolls did cost society over $500 billion in the past 20 years. That’s not the money they sued for – that’s the money shareholders lost because of diving quotes because of a lawsuit. It’s money that was converted to nothing. No one, not even the trolls, had any advantage from it.

The study also shows that patent trolls only sue big companies. This is an indication of a weakness in the current patent system (the one after the “huge” reform).


Martin Fowler Chimes Into Chorus Against Software Patents

9. August, 2011

In his post “Martin Fowler on Software Patents“, Martin Fowler joins the growing group of people who argue against software patents in their current form.

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Software Patents – More Harm Than Help

28. June, 2011

James Bessen did another study which shows again that software patents harm more than they help. Abstract:

This report examines changes in the patenting behavior of the software industry since the 1990s. It finds that most software firms still do not patent, most software patents are obtained by a few large firms in the software industry or in other industries, and the risk of litigation from software patents continues to increase dramatically. Given these findings, it is hard to conclude that software patents have provided a net social benefit in the software industry.

“A Generation of Software Patents” by James E. Bessen

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