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Niall O Broin writes:
> On Wednesday 19 May 2004, jmcc at hackwatch.com (John McCormac) wrote:
>> >Good examples. The phrase that sums up the difference between patents
> >and copyrights is:
> >Patents protect the idea and copyright protects the expression of the idea.
>> That's not correct. You CAN'T patent an idea, but rather the implementation of
> an idea. For instance, one famous case was Polaroid vs Kodak for instant
> pictures. Polaroid didn't have a patent on the idea of instant pictures, but
> rather on their processes to provide same (the implementation of the idea).
>> However, it must be said that the U.S. P.T.O. seems to grant patents on ideas
> now e.g. one click shopping. And the problem with patents is not just whether
> they are valid or not, but the huge cost of fighting.
That's exactly what the current problem is. *Nowadays*, in certain
fields, one *can* patent the idea alone. (Well, the idea, as long as it's
implemented in a computer programming language, that is.)
Consider the MS "word processing doc as XML and XSD" patent. That's
effectively an "idea" being patented, as far as I can see.
(The 'traditional' patent style, patenting a specific physical
implementation, is still reasonable IMO.)
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