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SubjectRe: Tux 2 patents
On Sat, Oct 07, 2000 at 08:13:45PM +0200, Daniel Phillips wrote:
> On Sat, 07 Oct 2000, Jeff V. Merkey wrote:
> > On Sat, Oct 07, 2000 at 06:45:38PM +0200, Daniel Phillips wrote:
> You are right of course. I'm open to suggestions on exactly how best to
> behave. The object is to make the most forward progress.

Thank you. Lawyers can be really straight and narrow, particularly
patent lawyers. To date, you have not disclosed the specific methods
that will comprise the claims of you invention, just a high level
description, which is ok. Until the provisional application has
been issued a docket number, you need to not describe the actual
methods publically other than in high level designs. Malinkrodt has
your email address, and I expect next week, they will begin their
dialouge with you. It only takes a few days to slap a provisional
application together.

> But how did we get from a state where algorithms were not patentable to one
> where they are? Surely at least that can be undone.

The spirit of the USPTO is to protect inventors rights and balance
this with those things which are "essential facilities" of the
affected area. The USPTO is not the utlimate authority on what is
or is not patentable, the Judges sitting in the Federal Courts of
the US are. There are many patents ruled to be invalidate, and
vis-a-vis the other way in infringement claims. The controlling
law here is what's described in the Consitution, and the rights
of an inventor to enjoy the profits of his invention for a
limited period of time. People always assume it's these big,
evil companies behind all the patent issues in the US. The fact
is that the system in the US recognizes individual inventors. These
inventors have to assign their patents to a corporation in order
for a corporation to own it. These laws in the US were originally
intended to protect individual inventors, BTW.

> obviously with a view to learning the truth. I'm also not sure whether you're
> also objecting to the idea of trying to fence in closed-source software sellers,
> are you? Or is it just that it seems like an inflamatory idea?

It's not so black and white. In the US, we have a concept of
"courts of equity". This means folks are basically free to step
on each others rights, including the right to develop new ways of
writing software. At times, the system has no other recourse than
to resort to one side or the other litigating before a sitting
Judge to expand the meaning and application of these laws, such as
the laws regulating patents. Much of the USPTO's current policies
are based on this case law from the US District Courts. I agree
that the legal system in the US is "tecnology ignorant" but it
is getting better.



> --
> Daniel
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