That anti-patent pamphlet I mentioned

Simo Sorce simo.sorce at
Mon Dec 16 22:47:17 UTC 2002

On Mon, 2002-12-16 at 18:16, Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet wrote:
> Simo Sorce wrote:
> > Yes you get the right point, "seem" is exactly the right word here,
> > and what most patent attorneys do is exactly that, they make wording
> > such that something "seem" something else.
> Or maybe I think it *is* something else, and you disagree with me.


> > The problem is that with the MPEG (or any other) signal compression
> > system you do NOT manipulate EM signals, you manipulate digital
> > information on you computer and than build a resulting signal.
> Well, I think you *do* manipulate EM signals. You just digitize
> them before applying transformations. They're still the EM signal.

Oh my ..., of course not.
Once the signal is digitalized it is simply a sequence of numbers that
can get manipulated in any way you want. They are the representation of
EM signals, not at all EM signals. Matter is one thing, representation
of matter in software another.

> > The signal fed into an DAC and convected to a membrane or a monitor
> > will result into a manipulation of forces.
> But making an analog signal digital, processing it, and then
> feeding it to the DAC and causing a picture to be displayed is not?

Of course not, you have a signal in input and a signal on putput, you
have numbers in the middle.
We are there to ""make"" the law, I do not mind what S

> > What you are saying instead is that the law must be modified to make
> > the holes the rule, that's a very dangerous way to think, and,
> > unfortunately, it's getting more and more common today.
> Well, maybe I happen to think that the "holes" are what the
> law should be.

You are entitled to have a different opinion, but then as I said you
need to ask a change in the spirit of the law and make it CLEAR to all,
so that all can judge your idee and accept/reject it.
Not try to pass a law that seem something but leave you greater holes to
use for your own interest (against interest of the society).

> > Are you saying the spirit of the law is wrong? I think not! I think past
> Actually I think I am saying that :) Feel free to disagree though.

Of course I disagree and I think you have not thought what the
consequences of your proposal are.

> > You are saying that the steam engine patent should cover the diesel motor.
> Do they operate according to the same inventive idea? Then yes.

A patent is grant on methods to implement things not on ideas ...
Patenting Ideas is just a bad idea.

> > You are not fair, you try to fool us in false arguments but you intents
> > are clear here, you want to simply patent ideas and that's clear in the
> > following statement.
> Of course. That's the *point* of patents. They protect
> technical ideas. Not *all* ideas, just technical ideas,
> which can be put to practice.

No, it is here to patent the way you get to a solution not an idea.

> > > Other laws are already available to
> > > protect against people making copies of your device. The whole idea
> > > behind patent law is to give you protection for your technical idea.
> > 
> > Idea! Here you finally come to your real intents, you want to twist the
> > patent system to patent ideas! And that is exactly what we oppose.
> Fine with me. But don't make it sound like I'm a monster
> plotting to take over the world.

Not take over ... take down :)

> One patents inventive concepts.

Seem you're well entrenched into the idea that patenting ideas should be
allowed ... but have you thought what the consequence of letting people
patent ideas would be?

You are going to build a society where only few big companies are
entitle to build things and all others are at the mercy of them or live
in a third world way.

Especially if you let them patent any little improvement.
Nobody except the patent holder of an idea will be interested in
extending an idea cause the big player will simply make you not able to
use it.

> The "how to build it"s are the embodiments,
> but the patent protects against variations of the embodiments
> by giving you an exclusive right on the general idea.

Sorry but this is crazy ... why should you get a patent on a general
idea? How do you foster innovation if you definitively block any form of
innovation in a field for 20 years? By patenting the general idea you
make it simply impossible to make anything with it for a long period.
And you give a 20 years advantage on the patent holder for any other
idea based on that basic one. So effectively you are granting a
perpetual monopoly on an (possible) entire field of technology, because
even if 20 years later that idea becomes free it will be obsolete in
practice and superceeded by new ones on which only the first patent
holder wes entitled (but most important had an economical interest)
into developing it.

> > Should we patent a therapeutic practice because it makes people healthy
> > and have the technical effect of lessening medical costs of older
> > practices? 
> No, because I think the costs to society (not being able
> to save lives because a patent holder refuses a license
> to a doctor) outweigh the benefits (disclose of the
> new practice).

The same is for software patents, the cost for society are too high and
outweigh benefits, extending patents to general ideas simply means you
stop development and put your hands into few powerful pioneers.

> I believe patents should cover all technical progress, not
> just "new teachings on the controlled use of natural forces".
> If it does something novel and inventive in a field of
> technology, it deserves a patent.

In this way you would have put a patent also on writing ... see not a
pen or a typewriter, but on writing.
It was of course an invention, and was novel ...

> > Even my arm punching Xavi's nose use forces of nature in a controllable
> > manner, should I patent nose punching by arm?
> I don't know, I don't like this criterion. I would say you
> achieve no technical effect with this claim, so I would tell
> you to go away or I will taunt you a second time. :)

Hey we cannot write in law that this is a thing you do not like ...

> > > Ok, but if I program a DSP chip to realize the same phase change
> > > it is not patentable? Why? What is the difference in effect
> > > produced by these two things?
> > 
> > Why the effect should make any difference?
> Because the effect is what shows the difference.

Oh god ... you are just saying: "let's ban progress".

Of course we can use a 1970 computer to do computations ... the effect
is the same you ask a modern computer; to do 4 + 4 and get 8 as the
answer ... except it now takes a lot less to make the same calculation
and, most important, the research to make it faster and easier made it
possible to invent a lot of other things. If you granted a patent on the
microprocessor "idea" we would probably still be in the 1980 as we would
have loss nearly 20 years of development on "different implementations"
of gates, transistors and finally microchips" as the monopolist would
have been able to block any indipendent development and would have never
been pushed to make the astounding fast development we see now with the
competition beetwen CPU makers

> > The problem is, do we have something new with your use of the software?
> > No, it's all known art, you only made it because at some point you needed
> > it not because you invented something new. 
> I don't understand. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Of course.

> This cannot be the proper criterion, as this argument applies
> to any invention in any field. "You only made it because you
> needed it".

You got me wrong, I said you cannot get a patent on something just
because you combined well known pieces of software on the same
hardware and made no progress in controlling natural forces.

> > You took pieces of known
> > knowledge and put them together to make the thing you needed. And if you
> > needed it you can see that you already had incentives to make such thing,
> > why patents should cover you?
> If there were incentives in the prior art, my invention is
> obvious. But if I combine pieces of known technology to
> make something novel and *non* obvious, then I deserve a
> patent. The lightbulb consisted of known pieces, yet it was
> a patentable invention.

Not exactly, developing the light bulb consisted in making it possible
to control how light wes emitted by material. It was a great advance in
the control of natural forces.


Simo Sorce - simo.sorce at
Xsec s.r.l.
via Durando 10 Ed. G - 20158 - Milano
tel. +39 02 2399 7130 - fax: +39 02 700 442 399
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