Forgot your password?
Patents Software Your Rights Online

USPTO Asks For Input On Software Patents 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the first-step-is-admitting-you-have-a-problem dept.
New submitter MouseTheLuckyDog writes "The patent office is reviewing its policy on software patents and is asking for feedback (PDF). Groklaw reports that the USPTO will be hosting a pair of roundtable sessions in February, during which the public will have the ability to attend and put forth their viewpoints. From the article: 'It's obvious the USPTO realizes there is serious unhappiness among software developers, and they'd like to improve things. Software developers are the folks most immediately and directly affected by the software patents the USPTO issues, and it's getting to the point that no one can code anything without potentially getting sued. I don't wish to be cynical, though, as that's a useless thing. So maybe we should look at it as an opportunity to at least be heard. It's progress that they even thought about having a dialogue with developers, if you look at it that way.' If you can make it to Silicon Valley on February 12 or New York City on February 27, go and make your voice heard."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

USPTO Asks For Input On Software Patents

Comments Filter:
  • by Press2ToContinue (2424598) * on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:21PM (#42476957)

    I would like to see a new law on the books: "wrongfully or negligently issuing a patent", to be applied as follows:

    In the case where a patent is declared invalid, I would like to see the issuing patent office and/or examiner held responsible for damages done....

    And to reimburse the patent applicant for:
    1) the fees charged for granting the patent
    2) legal fees incurred by the patent holder in attempting to defend the patent before it is struck down

    And to reimburse any party who is financially damaged by the patent office having wrongfully issued a patent, such as
    3) to any company which licensed the patent: any license fees paid out to use the patent
    4) to any company which was sued for infringing on the patent: court costs and damages

    Patents are applied for in good faith. If the recipient can be irreparably damaged due to negligence or other actions which wrong the recipient, shouldn't there be legal recourse?

    Do you think the USPTO might hold "inventiveness" and the "obviousness" tests, and the search for prior art to a much higher standard? Do you think they might have the motivation to remedy any weaknesses in the system and keep on doing so?

    Accountability anyone?

    • what i would suggest is pure software patents be BANNED (and all currently active software patents voided)

      now if software is some part of an actual physical product (ie something that would go THUD is dropped) and is an intergral part of said physical product then you can have a patent on the entire setup.

      also there should be a rule of "must infringe on all parts" for a patent to be violated (dropping out clauses that don't apply ie claim for water use when the infringement is land use if there is a land use clause)

      • by Hentes (2461350) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:52PM (#42477397)

        now if software is some part of an actual physical product (ie something that would go THUD is dropped) and is an intergral part of said physical product then you can have a patent on the entire setup.

        I never understood this argument. If the software is purpose-built for your hardware, then there's no use in copying it without said hardware. Here in Europe a similar precedent gets misused to push all kinds of software patents. Getting a patent on the hardware part only should be enough.

        • by Sarten-X (1102295)

          The hardware part doesn't matter, though. Hardware can be emulated in software, and since that software emulation wouldn't be covered by the hardware-only patent, and couldn't have its own patent, there's now a publicly-available system that runs your software. The actual hardware becomes worthless, being purchased only as a means of getting an original copy of the latest software. Remember what happened to all the separate TVs, telephones, old computers, fax machines, and typewriters we used to have? That'

          • by gbjbaanb (229885)

            Hardware can be emulated in software

            I understand how a software keyboard can emulate a physical keyboard, but how about a webcam, or a graphics card, or a mobile phone. In all cases, you can patent the hardware device and let copyright laws handle copying of your software whilst still allowing someone else to still use the concept you came up with in your hardware+software combo.

            • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Friday January 04, 2013 @05:35PM (#42480541) Homepage

              I understand how a software keyboard can emulate a physical keyboard, but how about a webcam, or a graphics card, or a mobile phone.

              Just like we've done many times with sound cards, old graphics cards, and serial devices. A piece of hardware is emulated, and it's connected to a non-infringing piece of real hardware. If the real value is in the software (as it would be in a software patent replaced by a patent on purpose-built hardware), then any similar hardware will do, and the "protected" software isn't really protected any more.

          • by Hentes (2461350)

            So how do you use an emulated chainsaw for logging?

            • by Sarten-X (1102295)

              Emulate a tree.

              I'm actually serious. If the software is the valuable part, emulate the whole system the software runs in, including all relevant parts. For a "chainsaw" program that may, for example, plan a cut to maximize the usable wood from a tree trunk, it may be sufficient to emulate the tree in a simulation with the custom hardware, complete with knots and flaws, and run an implementation of the chainsaw program (as disclosed in the patent or reverse-engineered from an original copy) in that simulatio

        • Actually, the case used to justify software patents ruled, as parent suggests should be, not that software can be patented, nor a specific piece of software integral to a machine can be patented, but that a process including software in its functions can be patented--the patent is not invalidated because of presence of software. Its on this case, wrested and twisted to inanity, that lower courts have fabricated "software patents": anymore, don't expect good behavior out of the judicial system, "...only for
      • by TheSpoom (715771)

        In reality they'll have to phase them out; existing patents would need to continue to be enforceable during their lifetime. Otherwise, current patentholders will (rightfully) sue the federal government.

        • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday January 04, 2013 @02:02PM (#42477563)

          How could they sue?

          They had the patent until the law changed, so nothing I see new there. Lots of things are one way until the law changes then another.

          • by jmauro (32523)

            I'm not a lawyer, but there would likely be case for a seizure without just compensation must be paid under the 5th Amendment. The courts consider patents to be property so invalidating all of them according to the courts would be the same as taking the patent owner's property (that they paid for via application fees and put money into defending). I don't know if they'd win, but they'd at least try to litigate on it.

            There are probably other things that the Government would be sued for if they blanket

        • by spire3661 (1038968) on Friday January 04, 2013 @02:19PM (#42477869) Journal
          If this were true,the entire American Populace could sue Congress for extending copyright on works ex post facto. Public domain status is payment for a limited monopoly. Once Congress changed the rules, WE THE PEOPLE lost a good chunk of the social bargain. The door swings both ways.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Having stuff enter the Public domain isn't a payment for copyright, it's the default state.

            You put it out into the world for other people to see, they get to use it as they see fit. Except this made it hard for authors to reap any benefits from their work. Thus, the government said, for a specified number of years, we will help you protect your investment by giving you, the author, the sole right to copy and distribute your ideas. After that period is gone, we will no longer provide you that protection. Wi

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Joce640k (829181)

          They could pass new laws to make it much easier to invalidate a patent.

          Most software patents weren't applied for in good faith anyway and should never have been approved. The bar for 'non-obviousness' seems to have been set at a negative height for most of the applicants.

        • by Shetan (20885) on Friday January 04, 2013 @02:48PM (#42478277)

          Doesn't the U.S. Federal Government have Sovereign Immunity?

          • by suutar (1860506)
            yes, yes it does.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            from we the Peoples : hell yeah !

            from we the Corporations : hell no !

      • by Steauengeglase (512315) on Friday January 04, 2013 @02:50PM (#42478307)

        I'll settle for the patent office taking that "non-obvious" bit into consideration.

      • by StripedCow (776465) on Friday January 04, 2013 @03:09PM (#42478479)

        What I would suggest is the following. Currently, the USPTO gets paid for every patent which they validate. This is so obviously perverse that it actually hurts.
        Now instead of letting that money flow into the hands of the USPTO, it should go somewhere else, perhaps it should go into education.
        This, imho, would already be a huge improvement.

        Let's take it one step further. Let the patent office PAY for each patent they validate. A second government could then pay them back based on the societal impact of the patents they approved (measured, say, 5 years after validation).

        Thus, with this two-tier model, lack of societal impact means a loss for the USPTO.

        This means that, under this model, the USPTO will not so easily approve simple things such as "one click shopping" because they might lose on it on account of a lack of social impact. Similarly, patent trolling will be actively barred by the patent office (no product means no social impact). However, a patent for a new medicine may be approved.

    • Horse has bolted (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Friday January 04, 2013 @02:04PM (#42477581) Homepage

      they'd like to improve things...

      Too late for that, the damage is done. The patents they already issued are enough to destroy the software industry for the next 15 years at least.

    • by morgauxo (974071) on Friday January 04, 2013 @02:31PM (#42478031)

      Accountability yes, damages no.

      Think of your own job. Whatever you do, how much can it cost the company when you screw up? Do you use any expensive equipment? Does your performance affect the decisions of any large account customers? Do you handle large quantities of product or highly valuable products? Can you afford to replace them? That would be the equivalent of taking damages from the individual examiners.

      Damages from the issuing office might make a little more sense but ultimately that would just be punishing the tax payers.

      What we need is a change in accountability. Performance is measured mainly on how many patents the offices issue. They are constantly being flooded with applications and the idea is that the patent offices need to keep up or this will harm the economy by slowing businesses down. It's also believed by politicians that the number of patents granted to US companies is somehow a valid measure of how our technical industry is doing vs other countries. That attitude needs to go!

      Instead, hold patent offices and examiners accountable for quality of patents granted or not granted. This could be measured by percentage of patents invalidated in court and percentage of rejects that succeed later. That last one might be tricky to measure but it would be important too. Otherwise, maybe keep looking for quantity but also look for quality. It should affect their job reviews, raises, promotions and such just like happens for any other kind of worker. If they are really bad... they get fired.

      This will mean huge delays in getting a patent granted given the current quantity of applications. That flow needs to be controlled! One sollution might be increasing the cost to apply for a patent so that only worthy ideas are worth attempting. The problem with that is a price that keeps larger companies in check shuts out individuals and small companies entirely. Instead.. I propose an application fee that gets larger based on how many applications you have in the system. Large companies still might get around this by having their individual employees apply for the patents and then transfer them back to the company. Some rules will be needed to prevent this. Maybe something stating that any contract requiring that an employee transfer patents from the employees name to the company are not valid. The company must apply for the patent itself or the employee might use it as leverage for more money or even sell it to someone else.

    • by suutar (1860506) on Friday January 04, 2013 @03:25PM (#42478685)

      Patents are applied for in good faith.

      Your optimism is refreshing.

    • I would say stop approving all of them and revoke the every valid software patent on the books.

  • Ban them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eksith (2776419) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:25PM (#42477035) Homepage

    A program/software/instructions for a computer, whatever you call them, should be covered under copyright, not a patent. Algorithms should be treated as works for art. Functional (or imperative or whatever) art, but creative works nonetheless.

    The end.

    • Re:Ban them! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Friday January 04, 2013 @02:14PM (#42477787) Journal

      Copyrights and trade secrets protected the software industry just fine before the USPTO opened the flood gates on software patents in the early 90's. They should stick to the original intent of the constitution, and protect the free flow of ideas by banning patents on mathematical algorithms (which includes software, IMO). They should not overturn the patents they've granted - that would harm the companies that filed them - but going forward, patents should cover something more than what can be executed in any mainstream computer language. If I can violate your patent simply by writing C code, it should not be patentable.

      Software patents have resulted in:
      The Open Invention Network []
      Peer to Patent []
      Oracle suing Google over Java []
      37 Android related patent suits []
      Nearly killing RIM []
      Linux patent suits [] ...

      I'm afraid we're at the point where the anti-software-patent people warned we'd be. Small companies live in terror of being sued over any software they write. Big companies waste billions of dollars in court. Coders like me intentionally "code dumb", to avoid accidentally using a patented software idea. It's a terrible waste, and it makes me very sad to see America throwing away it's software innovation lead in this way. Thank God software patents weren't around when we wrote so much of the software that still powers the world. If they were, we'd all still be renting time on IBM mainframes. Just imagine a world where Donald Knuth patented all his ideas.

      • by Kookus (653170)

        If I can violate your patent simply by writing C code, it should not be patentable.

        You're forgetting that all of that software can be simply written in C code. The difference is timing. Knowing today to write code that does ray tracing is quite different than writing that code 30 years ago. All code becomes "obvious" after it has been released and used, it's just before then that it's not obvious.

        So no, whether or not you can write code to do the same thing should not be a criteria for whether something is patentable. Either software patents are allowed, or not, no in between.

  • by jkrise (535370) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:36PM (#42477185) Journal

    Input -----> Process -------> Output

    100000 applications for software patents -----------> USPTO ------------> All rejected.

    All software is, by definition, math. And all math, by definition, is not patentable.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      All physical inventions are, by definition, following the laws of physics. All physics is, by definition, math. And all math, by definition, is not patentable.

      The whole point of patents is to protect the market incentive for creating, rather than copying, technology. That doesn't somehow become magically irrelevant when software's involved. Producing a new algorithm that's better suited to a particular purpose takes a lot of work and research, and is easily copied by others once it's in production. Patent p

    • "All software is, by definition, math. And all math, by definition, is not patentable."

      The problem with this argument is that the same reasoning that defines software as mathematics also defines *all* patentable subject matter as mathematics. If you can describe it, it is literally a finite algorithm. If a software expression of an algorithm can be excluded on the basis that it is an "algorithm" then the argument can be applied to all subject matter. (see: algorithmic information theory)

      What is not patentab

      • by jkrise (535370)

        You cannot patent the idea of "sorting" but you can patent a sorting algorithm.

        A sorting algorithm is still a computational idea. It does not result in any physical transformation.

        A sorting algorithm could be used at a post office to sort letters. So let's say a patentee gets one on a sorting algorithm, which is very efficient.

        Now say, this same algorithm is used to sort out rotten apples from a basket. Now, the patentee could sue the rotten-apples-sorter for violating his sorting algorithm patent.

        The fact

      • Why is "sorting" a concept or idea, but "quick sorting" (that is "sorting by doing this then this and this") not a concept or idea?

        It's just a more specific concept or idea.

        You are on thin philosophical ice.

      • by slinches (1540051)

        The problem with this argument is that the same reasoning that defines software as mathematics also defines *all* patentable subject matter as mathematics.

        I don't think this is true at all.

        Suppose two inventors decide to solve the problem of lifting heavy objects. The first devises a system of a ramp and cart with wheels to roll the object up to the desired height. The second uses a set of pulleys to achieve the same goal. These two inventors wouldn't infringe on the others' patent even though they are mathematically identical concepts (i.e. applying mechanical advantage).

    • by ljw1004 (764174)

      All software is, by definition, math. And all math, by definition, is not patentable.

      Which definition? I've not seen one. Can you show me a precisely worded definition of software that justifies your claim?

    • Input -----> Process -------> Output

      100000 applications for software patents -----------> USPTO ------------> All rejected.

      All software is, by definition, math. And all math, by definition, is not patentable.

      But all "software patents" are not necessarily just patenting software. In this case, the title is not the definition, so the fact that software is by definition unpatentable is irrelevant. What we call "software patents" are actually "software-executed-on-hardware patents" and hardware is not, by definition, not patentable.

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:43PM (#42477275)

    No software or algorithm patents.

    If you really want to keep something exclusive, keep it hidden, call it a trade secret, and sue anyone who leaks it.
    Unless you are Einstein, someone else will think of it fairly soon anyway, because it's obvious to those at the leading edge of whateever specialty, so keeping it a secret may be bad social form but is not really harmful.

    • Also, you have to build it before the patent will come.

      This, "Let's patent a crazy idea about a brain interface that reads your every thought", without even a plan to build a prototype is nonsense.
      • by Dracos (107777)

        Also, you have to build it before the patent will come.

        Not anymore. Last year US patent law was changed from "first to invent" to "first to file", meaning if you can write a patent application, you can get a patent for something you haven't invented yet.

        • Right, he was making a suggestion, not lamenting about the current state of things.

        • I don't think you understand what that means (first to invent VS first to file), and I think you're turning it in to something it's not. In reality you could always (and still can) patent something you "haven't invented yet" if by "invented" you define it as "having built". Legally, inventing something is coming up with an idea and putting it all on paper in legalese with pretty drawings and what not. That's "inventing" as far as the USPTO is concerned. And, they're right, but they've kind of bastardized th
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      No software or algorithm patents.

      The problem is it isn't as simple. If we roll back 50 years, it was relatively simple - written works were copyrighted (typically), hardware things were patented.

      Software changed all that. All of a sudden you have written works doing hardware things. So do you copyright them, or patent them? Or both?

      Let's ignore pure software first, and let's go with say a photocopier. In the past, they were hugely mechanical contraptions where a drum was charged, then a scanning head sent l

      • by rmstar (114746)

        What if a better software-controlled mousetrap was invented?

        Then it wouldn't be possible to patent that. I wouldn't mind.

      • I think these questions are wide of the mark. So much that used to require mechanical devices of considerable complexity can now be done entirely with software. A good example is a clock. A grandfather clock is a ridiculously archaic, hugely space wasting mechanical device of limited portability prone to frequent breakdowns and in need of regular attention. One of the big problems of navigation up to the 18th century was how to keep accurate time on ship, so you could figure out what longitude you were

    • What is claimed is:
      A computer with a pixel-rendering output screen programmed with a master program (as described in the following pseudocode):
      1. A bitstring length counter variable keeps track of the length of the longest bitstring generated so far.
      2. The master program generates and stores in memory (or persistent-storage mappable to memory) a length 1 bitstring containing
      the bit value "0".
      3.The master program feeds this data to a low-level virtual machine as a program to be executed.
      The virtual machine h

  • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:45PM (#42477317) Homepage
    The USPTO was "asking for input" since before software patents were allowed some 30 years ago. They ignored it then ("already covered by copyright") as they will continue to do because the then-outrageous and intractable idea of USPTO-as-Service-Provider under Reagan has become the de facto standard rather than the egregious outlier. Fallacy of the Middle Ground. []
  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:46PM (#42477325)

    Perhaps Slashdotters in the areas around these meetings would like to get together to plan, practice, and eventually travel to these meetings? Beers/Sodas after the meetings are suggested.

  • by johntromp (565732) on Friday January 04, 2013 @01:48PM (#42477355)
    Has the USPTO presented specific examples of what they consider to be excellent software patents? That should help focus discussion...
    • How about the MP3 audio encoding format? It revolutionized digital music distribution.
      • Your claim is baseless. "It revolutionized digital music distribution", on what do you base this? I put it to you that it was the ability to transmit data digitally and world wide that revolutionized digital music distribution. Any form of Fast Fourier Transform based compression would have served the same, it was not MP3 itself that drove this revolution. In fact, I'll put it to you that the MP3 format's ridiculous exclusion of any lossless data encoding is designed to ensure that anyone who uses the f

        • I base it on the proliferation and popularity of mp3 sharing sites (Napster, etc.). You didn't see .wav (or any other audio format) sharing sites before mp3 came around even though .wav files were around for as long as Windows was, and other formats before it. Hardly 'baseless' as you say.

          I'm not saying I agree with how the mp3 format was licensed, but it is indeed a technology worthy of mention in a discussion about software patents.

      • by Halo1 (136547)

        There is no "the MP3 audio encoding format" patent. MP3 is (was) covered by several patents. At least one of its base patents is however ridiculously broad []. I haven't looked at the others, but it would surprise me if they would be that much more specific or better.

  • Software developers are the folks most immediately and directly affected by the software patents the USPTO issues, and it's getting to the point that no one can code anything without potentially getting sued.

    Really? How many software developers (not companies, individual developers) have been sued for patent infringement? How often do software developers make the independent decision to design around a software patent, as opposed to being told by management to do so? The fact is that individual developers are actually some of the folks least immediately or directly affected by software patents. They don't get sued, and software patents largely don't affect their day to day work.

    Bear in mind that there are p

    • Really? How many software developers (not companies, individual developers) have been sued for patent infringement?

      Why make this distinction? Independent software devs, like "Notch" of Mojang, have their companies sued as soon as they achieve any success; And this is for a bullshit game. In business software it's even worse. Here: When Patents Attack - This American Life []. The fucking apocalypse is NOW you fool.

      . It may even be true (although essentially impossible to prove) that software patents are a net drain on the industry. But it is clearly not the case that software patents are crippling developers or causing everyone to get sued.

      So, wait, what you're saying is that it's "essentially impossible to prove that software patents" are beneficial to the software industry. So, PROVE to me why we should have these damn laws if we can't prov

  • Of the things universally accepted as not being patentable are:
    Physical Phenomenon
    Natural Law
    Abstract Ideas
    and of these three comes Mathematical Algorithms

    So what is software? Its all of these! []

    • Of the things universally accepted as not being patentable are: Physical Phenomenon Natural Law Abstract Ideas and of these three comes Mathematical Algorithms

      So what is software? Its all of these!

      And software is not actually patentable, contrary to Slashdot belief and complaint. Instead, software that's implemented in a machine is patentable, because a machine is neither a physical phenomenon, natural law, or an abstract idea.

  • by gQuigs (913879) on Friday January 04, 2013 @02:48PM (#42478281) Homepage

    Not both. If you get a patent you have to release the source in the public domain.

    From Wikipedia:
    A patent ... to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by steve79 (1368223)

      You are incorrect, sir. You do not need to release the source code. This was true back in like the 1980s (or common practice then, anyway). Nobody release code for their software patents these days b/c it is simply not required. You must describe the general algorithm in sufficient detail to enable one of ordinary skill in the art, without undue experimentation.... this is a far cry from source code.

      • by greg1104 (461138)

        I didn't take that as a description of fact. I thought it was a suggestion: that people should be granted a patent only if the source code to any software related claims is released. This idea that the UPTO has, that UML or pseudo-code is sufficient, it's garbage in every direction. Useful non-obvious inventions are not produced from a general algorithm. If that's where your secrets are at, then you haven't done anything that should be patentable yet. You've just manipulated some bits, same as moving

  • Because the USPTO can only make policy and not make law, they cannot do away with software patents. Congress has said software patents are legal. It would take legislation to get rid of them. I personally would love to see software patents go away. But the goal of the effort mentioned in TFA is to "improve the quality" of software patents. Telling the USPTO that software patents need to go away would be a wasted effort. That energy needs to be directed at lawmakers.
  • A lot of problems could be solved by simply declaring that if a work can be copyrighted then it is not eligible for patent protection as well. Software is basically a written work and it is automatically protected under copyright law. Works should only be eligible to be covered under one or the other but not both. An important details is that if a work CAN be covered under copyright law then it MUST be covered under copyright law. As such, most software would be ineligible for patent protection under su

  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Friday January 04, 2013 @03:37PM (#42478845) Homepage

    The biggest problem with software patents, it seems to me, is that the USPTO has strayed from its roots in applying patents to software. For example:

    - A working model is required for an application for a "traditional" patent. Why not software patents? Requiring a working model alone would eliminate a large portion of software patents.
    - Instructions for replicating the patented item are required for traditional patents, thus making it useful in the public domain when the patent expires. Why is software exempted?
    - Traditional patents exclude patenting of an idea. Why is software excluded from this restriction?

    Maybe not ALL software patents are bad. But if we went back to the roots of the patent concept, most of the frivolous patents would go away.

  • I think the anti-software patents movement has been hurt by their "complete rejection of software patents" position. Look, if you design a truly novel Ethernet conflict resolution algorithm that gives you improved performance over anything else known before you surely deserve a patent. However it should be narrowly defined and have a shortened life span, for reasons opposite to the extended lifespan for long development path currently available to drug developers.

    The problem is that currently the USPTO woul

  • As someone who worked for the US federal government in my first job after graduating from college, I'm pretty sure the USPTO is not sincere at all in holding this conference and wanting to "fix" things. Oh some well connected rich company may have reached some upper level USPTO exec and maybe got that person on board with this, but nothing will ever happen in reality. Fixing the system would lead to fewer patents. Fewer patents would lead to fewer employees over time. Fewer employees leads to fewer mana
  • I had a software ethics class last semester and the patent wars created by ambiguous patents are far worse that the situation before hand. Plus, the only people winning are the trolls. Even the megacorporations like Apple and Microsoft with massive patent portfolios are sinking tons of capital into their offensive and defensive campaigns.

  • I'd like to see a better test of "non-obviousness". Obviousness is part of the test, but appears to be given short attention by evaluators.

    Maybe a panel of practitioners can vote on or rank obviousness, or the like. A "technical jury", if you will.

    I'd like to see true innovation be rewarded, instead of mostly obvious ideas or obvious combo's of existing ideas, which stifles new products and small co's.

  • I cant attend, but I'd like to appoint Pamela Jones and RMS to represent me.
  • 1. The Patent Office actually does searches on prior software & methods before granting/rubber-stamping that application, and expecting the courts to do the searching for them.
    2. Only Software Experts/Engineers, on more than just Microsoft Development Programming minimally, should be doing the patent examinations/patent searches/patent approvals.
    3. USPO should have the power to reject an approved patent at any time, for a minimum of 'patent application in bad faith.

    These points would be a start for m

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]