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Peek Into European Patent Examining Cancelled 214

We were going to run European Patent Examiner John Savage's answers to 10 Slashdot questions today, but he emailed us this morning and asked us to pull them back because he was was in trouble over the interview. What he had to say was informative, non-controversial, and would not have hurt his employer's reputation at all, but we don't want John to lose his job or face disciplinary action on our account. Anyway, get ready for a slightly unusual Slashdot interview guest next week: Celeb chef and self-described "culinary cartographer" Alton Brown.
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Peek Into European Patent Examining Cancelled

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  • Possible action? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Corporate Troll ( 537873 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @11:48AM (#4039705) Homepage Journal
    Would there be a way to put some pressure to the European Patent Office? After all we are thousands of voices...
    And, no, I don't mean pressure in DoS style. More something like a petition.
  • by xjimhb ( 234034 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @11:52AM (#4039732) Homepage
    It might be interesting to publish a list of the questions chosen for this. It would give us more insight into what they're trying to hide, even if we don't get to see the answers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 09, 2002 @12:10PM (#4039871)
    It is everybody "job" to inform the public. and usually the mentioned "public relations departments" dont _answer_ your questions but try to talk around the subject.
  • by pieterh ( 196118 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @12:13PM (#4039896) Homepage
    While the USPO will happily grant patents for software algorithms, the EPO does not do this, and clearly states so in its material, and when questioned. (I've asked the EPO myself.) No, the EPO does not allow such blatant exploitation by twisted business. No... you have to be much more sneaky, describing your algorithm as a 'machine' that just happens to be implemented as software.
    As so often in Europe, we have the same dirt as everywhere else, but it's cloaked in bureaucratic verbage.
    It would have been fun to rip into an EPO spokesman, but it would have to be someone with the authority so actually answer questions such as "How many US firms have already registered software patents while the EPO is refusing these from little European software firms?"
    You can tell I've not much hope for the EPO. They may be scientists, but that does not stop them being fools.
  • by autechre ( 121980 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @12:18PM (#4039930) Homepage

    He probably hasn't been on Iron Chef because the show hasn't been filmed for years; it's just that it's slowly making its way over here. Most anime takes 2 years to get here, and the dubbing on Iron Chef is (generally) higher quality (not that I think need it at all, but...)

    He has said in an interview that he doesn't consider himself a chef, and holds master chefs in high regard as artists, but is annoyed that they publish cookbooks, because "ordinary" people will never be able to duplicate their efforts. He likens it to Picasso publishing a "Paint like Picasso" book. Check out for that interview, as well as transcripts to every show, and all sorts of good stuff.

    What I'd really like to ask Alton is how much control he has over the recipes that appear on His herb spread recipe from "Good Milk Gone Bad" seems to have been altered quite a bit, and in fact, the spices he used are listed as an alternative! Also, two of the recipes from "Deep Purple" (eggplant) seem to have suffered similar fates. In the episode, he made a big deal about combining all the other ingredients for baba ghannouj first, and then adding the parsley last, because, "You don't want to pulverise that parsely" (or it will turn bitter). But the foodtv recipe listing just tosses it all in at once. It also shortenes the draining time (for removing bitter alkaloids) from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. And though it's nice that they doubled the Eggplant Pasta recipe to serve more people, they seem to have quadrupled the olive oil, tomatoes, and basil; and again, the prep time is reduced (purging time given in the show was 15 minutes + 1-3 hours; here, it's 30 minutes). As picky as AB is about methods, I find this very strange.

  • by EMIce ( 30092 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @12:33PM (#4040021) Homepage
    Mr. Alton Brown,

    I'll be doing an annual turkey fry with a couple buddies before summer's end and the question of brining has come up. What exactly does the brining process do to the bird? What part does the sugar vs. the salt vs. H2O play? I've observed that brined chicken breasts develop a nice brown color and are juicy but would like a more scientific perspective, especially with respect to brining + frying. One concern is that the sugar on the skin may carbonize under the high cooking temperature.

    I plan on brining the turkey for a day, followed by a day of sitting outside the brine, but injected with a buttery mix of herbs and spices. I'm also a little concerned that the effects of brining may be lost if the bird is left outside the brine so long before cooking. A scientific perspective would help me in better approximating the ideal way to go about this. Thanks! I really enjoy and look forward to your shows, the bee puppets in the honey episode were hillarious!
  • by JohnDenver ( 246743 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @02:09PM (#4040803) Homepage
    I understand the risks that some sources make pickup statements as an authority. My concern is: Why should the patent office, a PUBLIC institution that grants lucritive temporary monopolies on IDEAS, not be subjected to public scrutany???

    What are the REAL risks? What's the worse that could happen if our friend was allowed to talk freely? Maybe people would lose confidence with current policy!!! Oh no!!!

    The people who silenced this guy should be held liable. He has every right to talk about his experience and role in public policy, without fearing losing his job. This isn't a corporation, and it isn't the military. It's a PUBLIC institution.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham