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back to article US Supremes prod software patent law

The long-running battle to redefine what is patentable reached the US Supreme Court on Monday, and the back-and-forth between the Justices and competing counsel hinted that their decision will result in relatively minor changes to existing law - not the sweeping overhaul feared by the software and medical technology industries. …

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It would be interesting...

... to see what they make of :

http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7,617,530.PN.&OS=PN/7,617,530&RS=PN/7,617,530

which is basically Microsoft patenting the idea of sudo

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Coat

Wait...

The USPTO has rejected a patent?? What's next?

Hmm, I wonder what they will think of my idea "Porcine animals that could defy gravity in a horizontal or vertical direction"

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Gates Horns

Re "It would be interesting"

Ah, good old US of A and its patent office... perfect example of a patent that should have been thoroughly laughed at, because it violates basically each and every principle of the patent system: it's been done before, it's a mere idea, and it's rather obvious. It's still been granted. Colour my ghast flabbered.

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FAIL

@AC 18:38, 11th Nov.

I don't think you understood that patent - "cause the computing device to present a user interface in response to a task being prohibited based on a user's current account not having a right to permit the task, the user interface comprising: ____information indicating the task and an entity that attempted the task____" (emphasis mine)

if you type /sbin/reboot as normal user, shell wouldn't tell you that you tried to restart the computer, and run sudo for you, presenting you a 1-element (i.e. root) list of administrative users.

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Stop

Re: Pawel

On the other hand, if you run (KX)ubuntu and try to run a privileged action, it will pop a box up notifying you of what you are trying to run and asking you to authenticate.

So in fact the patent does consist of prior art (though IANAL)

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Software Patents don't help small time developers

Anyone in truly understanding the field knows that software patents offer very little for the masses of programmers out there. What the US courts should realize is that it is impossible for anyone to write useful non-infringing software today. The effort and expense required to research patents outweighs the effort to bring innovation to the market by several magnitudes. There are just too many software patents offering zero benefit to the public or the software programmers.

There are instances where I had the ability and will to develop a new innovative consumer product, only to find that my liability for software patent licensing for various unavoidable algorithms would exceed my limited budget.

Software patents are of more use to the larger companies with legal resources to maintain their portfolio and eager to sue their competitors. Those of us who care genuinely about innovation and less about lawsuits are rightly furious about the imposition of software patents, which only serve to increase overhead.

Of course the decisions will be made with respect to the interests of big business.

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@ Pawel 1

"if you type /sbin/reboot as normal user, shell wouldn't tell you that you tried to restart the computer, and run sudo for you, presenting you a 1-element (i.e. root) list of administrative users."

Right. kdesu or gksu, on the other hand, might just do that...

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Stop

I'm so ashamed

I thought for a second I was agreeing with Anton Scalia. Fortunately, he was seeing the light, finally, and agreeing with me. Copyright all the perpetual motion machines you want, but don't expect anyone to buy it - too easy to make your own, which won't work either.

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Lose one lose em all

Said it before - change the system so that if you lose a patent or copyright you lose any others (make thisbroad enough to cover companies that set up a company per patent.

This will stop MS, Google and IBM and the patent trolls because they have more to lose if they decided to hit a small one man band over the head with a dicey patent claim.

Jacqui

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WTF?

that was an interesting read

Apparently, if you are quaified to argue cases before the US Supreme Court, you don't have to answer seemingly yes/no questions with yes or no answers. From my take, software is not patentable, and neither are business processes...whatever that means.

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Trolls

How come it's alright when Supreme Judges do it?

"Why didn't people patent things when they had horses?"

Clearly the correct answer is "because they were too busy discovering the new world to stop and patent every last damn thing possible just so they could screw some other guy over at a later date"

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Anonymous Coward

The whole thing is broken

It doesn't take much to see that the whole patent system is broken. The cycle of invention to usefulness of an idea is shorter these days, but the greed of the manufacturers means they are fighting for longer times before inventions pass in to the public domain.

The patent office are allowing designs of specific devices where generic devices of various designs already exist (the Apple patent of an in-car charger design was a brilliant example) and the consequence is very nasty for the consumer.

There needs to be a test on a patent based on the perceived life span of the product.

The whole issue of what is, and is not, fair, needs to be re-examined. Fair to the creator of the idea/device and also fair to society as a whole. The system as it is at present, just doesn't take proper account of different product life cycles and also interdependency ... resistive touch screens, for example, already run on the basis of the idea of a surface being able to be touched. Who is going to cough up for that?

I don't think I'd like to be one of the supreme court judges, though.

I would like to see a law which requires patent holders to enforce their patents, so that they can't wait until a competitor becomes profitable before launching an attack, and that they can't pick and choose who to prossecute ... come one, come all.

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US EU differences

Software ideas are patentable in the US but not the EU. E.G. the FAT extended filenames patent Microsoft used to beat TomTom up with recently. This wouldn't have worked in european courts but did as well as MS needed in US ones to get TomTom to license MS patents. Could be the Supremes will see much if not most US software innovation going offshore because small innovative businesses are too afraid of being sued out of existence and will want to try stopping this.

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Anonymous Coward

Open source driver

You know, that Microsoft/TomTom thing has always bugged me; why no one has devised a Windows driver for one of the other file systems and the manufacturers don't use it and ship a copy of the driver with their products. Small amount of investment in the short term for a real long term gain ... or am I missing something ... as usual.

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Flame

lawyers need to eat too

I mean really what the hell is so important about innovation? Don't you all see that if we change the perfect current system a lot of leech patent attorneys will need to get real jobs that actually benefit society? Don't worry to much though because the lawyers write the laws (look how many law degrees Congress has) so nothing will change thank the lord. You unwashed masses need to just shut up, work hard, and if you dare do something to make our world better be prepared to give the lawyers theirs before you get yours.

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@Michelle Knight

Agreed!

On another note, I believe state enforced monopolies are wrong. The entire patent system should be scrapped.

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