On Fri, 18 Feb 2005 12:47:08 +0000 (GMT), Paul Jakma <paul at clubi.ie> wrote:
> The problem with software patents is, despite whatever value patents
> might have in the abstract, that the patent system is demonstrably
> incapable of applying the 'obviousness' test. Indeed, even this
> thread shows the difficulty of applying that test.
I spoke with a patent examiner from the UK Patent Office, and it was
when he discussed the obviousness criterion that it started to sound a
bit crazy. He said that you had to sit down and pretend that "you
were a person with no imagination" and see could you come up with the
design presented to you. The fact that you are "imagining" you have
no imagination makes it all a bit strange.
I thought the folks in the UKP(T)O seemed professional, and very good
at their jobs, it's always going to be very difficult to judge the
Something that became very stark for me after this conversation was
the immense fallibility of the system, and the implications this has
for patent holders. Just because you are awarded a patent does not
guarantee it is going to stand up if challenged. If you have a very
compromised patent system (as many claim the US system is) that adopts
a policy of "if in doubt, issue the patent" and then waits for the
courts to sort it out, you end up with a very devalued currency (many
patents may be open to challenge).
Maintained by the ILUG website team. The aim of Linux.ie is to
support and help commercial and private users of Linux in Ireland. You can
display ILUG news in your own webpages, read backend
information to find out how. Networking services kindly provided by HEAnet, server kindly donated by
Dell. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds,
used with permission. No penguins were harmed in the production or maintenance
of this highly praised website. Looking for the
Indian Linux Users' Group? Try here. If you've read all this and aren't a lawyer: you should be!