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Hardware Hacker Proposes Patent and Education Reform To Obama

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  • Blablabla (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Good question, but the answer was way too evasive, without any real committments.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 17, 2013 @01:01PM (#42928649)

    This is exactly the same thing he promised in 2008 .... and NEVER delivered. He didn't even discuss it for 4 years.

    • 3 AC comments in a row saying basically the same thing.. I suggest /. to display the (large) area from where come the AC comments based on IP ... I know, proxies and co, but most ACs won't bother switching proxies in between the posts.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, it's astonishing that people are panning Obama for his total neglect of patent reform.

        This must be due to some terrible conspiracy amongst ACs. Buwhahahahahaha!

        (or it could be that Obama .... you know .... hasn't done anything to reform patents ....)

        • Not that i care about defending Obama, but clearly you do not understand how our system works. Congress needs to do patent reform and the president needs to sign it, The presidents power is very limited and so read the constitution and you can figure it out. If your going to blame anyone for it, then you need to blame everyone for it, not just the president.

          • The incredible number of recent Executive Orders says that you're wrong.
            • all your really saying is that you cannot disprove my point and therefore your going to distract with other things...its a common way right wingers argue, keep changing the subject till confusion and frustration sets in.

              You could of said "hey look thats shiny" and had roughly the same effect.

              Regardless, my point stands, executive cannot make law, and if they did courts would strike them down, as is the nature of our goverment

              • What I'm saying is that if our government was behaving in a Constitutional manner, you'd be correct. I'd love for you to be correct. However, the President has been ruling via Executive Order, well beyond what it was intended for, since Clinton, through Bush, and now into Obama. Since the early 90's the President has been exercising his powers above and beyond his authority for things that interest and are important to him and his sponsors. What I was saying is that his reluctance to do so on this issue
                • All presidents exert there power through executive branch, it all depends on how you end up defining the constitution and ultimately we have the courts to stop and define clearly what can and cannot be done. You cant say they are acting or not acting constitutional because the push and pulls of powers and then the final say creates the living constitution. This is not uncommon through out our history, for example Roosevelt ordered all factories to produce things for the war as well as ordered the detainment

                  • Not to turn this into a gun debate, just using it as a recent example, Obama recently signed 23 Executive Orders. Some are within the historical power of the President, but others, such as the interpretation of the Affordable Healthcare Act, are the realm of the courts, and others such as "improving incentives to the states to share information" should be performed by Congress.

                    I don't blame just the President, I hold the entire government and it's representatives, accountable for its actions and its ina
                    • I agree there, i just dont see how its useful to blame the president and soley him, he is simply one cog in broken machine. Executive branch has gained alot of power over the years but its congress that has given it away, mainly because each party wants there own to have power. Hopefully patent reform will get its day, but its probably going to end up being like the drug war, to many interest involved to change it. One day it will snap though, just might take awhile.

                    • We're in agreement there. Pretty much complete agreement. But, as the President assumes more power from other branches the blame should increase as well. But I blame all of them.
      • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Sunday February 17, 2013 @01:45PM (#42929035)

        3 AC comments in a row saying basically the same thing.. I suggest /. to display the (large) area from where come the AC comments based on IP ...

        I'm in Canuckistan (the Western part, but not too West). I saw nothing wrong with what they wrote. Obama's always talked a great game, but they're always platitudes. He's never shown the least lick of intention of actually carrying through on stuff that he says.

        I'm sure he does have a personal agenda, but you'll never learn what it is just by listening to him.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by guises (2423402)
          Obama said he had a priority to reform heathcare and it has been reformed. Are you complaining about the lack of a public option? That's valid, but that's ignoring some substantial gains in the Affordable Care Act.

          Obama said that he wanted to push civil rights for gay people and already there are gains in the military. That was a significant step forward and it looks like more is coming. Are you complaining that it hasn't been moving fast enough? I can understand why that would be frustrating, but these t
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            oh you naive child. Nothing has been reformed in healthcare. NOTHING has been reformed in healthcare. what has changed is that now people with children still can't afford healthcare, but the insurance companies are going to go from filthy rich to filthy richer with their state enforced kleptocracy.

          • He's accomplished as much as anyone could have accomplished, and more than most, given his extraordinary circumstances.

            nonsense!

            Guantanamo? All it would have taken was an Executive Order cancelling the Executive Order creating same. Then turn everyone inside loose.

            Civil Rights for Gays? Do you remember how Truman handled integration of the military? THAT was an example of a President doing the right thing, the right way. Letting your SecDef take heat for a decision that you should have made was ju

            • by spongman (182339)

              Wasn't he expressly prevented, by congress, from closing Guantanamo on the grounds that we can't have terrorists on he mainland?

          • by tqk (413719)

            I don't see where you're coming from with this "he doesn't do anything" nonsense.

            "Blinkered, you are." -- Paraphrasing Yoda.

            You've got to be kidding. Have you researched his record? This's Obama's SOP. Talk a good game; period. That has nothing to do with what actually happens. I'm tempted to quote Jane from Serenity here. He's a Constitution specialist lawyer who's sworn to defend The Constitution, and he's backing warrantless searches, drone strikes on USA citizens, and fully approves of the DHS, TSA, and ICE's machinations.

            Wake the !@#$ up.

            • by Raenex (947668)

              Talk a good game; period.

              Except if he hadn't pushed healthcare or gays in the military, then they wouldn't have gotten done, period. There's a lot I wish Obama would have done differently, but to deny him any accomplishments is bullshit.

              Wake the !@#$ up.

              If you want to swear, just fucking swear. Hiding behind shit like that is lame.

              • I'm not American, so please explain me, how can the president change healthcare laws and give gays the right to serve in the military? Isn't these things that the congress does and the president only has veto right? (sign it or not sign it)

                • by guises (2423402)
                  The president gets a lot of credit and blame for things that he doesn't do, that much is true, but as the leader of the Democratic party he has some influence over what legislation they propose and vote for in congress. He doesn't have anything to do with most of the bills that congress votes on, but when there's something specific that he wants, usually these are larger bills that get more attention, he can get someone in congress to sponsor it for him.
      • by smpoole7 (1467717)

        > 3 AC comments in a row saying basically the same thing.

        And if I had some mod points, I'd bump them up. Even if it is the same guy/gal posting three times.

        This is healthy and it's time and PAST time that people began to realize this. Democrats and Republicans differ on some philosophical points, but when it comes to the Great Game (and all the monopoly money involved in same) there's hardly a stitch of difference between them.

        "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Daltry and Townshend were ahead of

      • To satisfy your curiosity, I'm the AC who posted the very first post (and no other AC post in this thread). I live and work in Portugal.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Sunday February 17, 2013 @01:07PM (#42928685)

    Patent trolls are just a particularly visible example of exploiting low-quality patents. The main difference between patent trolls as "non-practicing entities" and practicing entities is that the mutually-assured destruction pacts don't apply to them, because they don't themselves build things which they could be counter-sued over in a retaliatory patent suit. But MAD hardly fixes the problem in the rest of the sector: all it does is turn it into a cartel-like system, where IBM and Intel don't sue each other because of MAD, but Intel is perfectly happy to sue startups that try to enter their sector and compete with them. That kind of anti-competitive, turf-defending patent usage is actually considerably worse than patent trolls imo.

    If the patents are high-quality, on the other hand, representing actual non-trivial inventions, then I don't see much of a difference between practicing and non-practicing entities. For example, university research labs sometimes invent some significant things which they then license to a third party to commercialize, which is perfectly fine (and an intended use of the patent system).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The problem for me is the granting of absolutely obvious patents that you can accidentally "re-invent" by yourself.. If the patent is the result of legitimate research and innovation I have no problem giving a patent for it because I don't have to worry I might accidentally "invent" the same thing and have to pay out the ass for the privilege. Clear out the super obvious and overly wide "because it's on the internet" and "because it's over wifi" type patents and there would be a lot less patent mines to avo

      • by icebike (68054)

        Clear out the super obvious and overly wide "because it's on the internet" and "because it's over wifi" type patents and there would be a lot less patent mines to avoid while developing a product.

        Easily said, but just how would you propose to do such a thing?
        In fact, how do you propose to even DEFINE such a thing?

        People always dug in the ground for food.
        Then a caveman picked up a handy stick and used that to dig with.
        Does that forever block patents on digging machines of all types, even when new technology comes along?

        So when we invent tractor beams, digging with a tractor beam instead of a shovel is not patentable?
        (after all, its still just digging with a tool).

        1) You need to provide clear an conci

    • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @03:54PM (#42930041)

      Actually, patent trolls are fundamentally an artifact of flaws in the law.

      Take, for example, another (short-lived) attempt to exploit the law for unjustified gain: the (now amended) statute on false marking of patents.

      The old law allowed anyone to file suit on behalf of the federal government when a product was falsely marked as being patented, and then the plaintiff would pocket half of the damages awarded. Numerous lawsuits were filed in cases such as products being sold that had been marked with a patent number during manufacture but where the patent had since expired. It was also unclear whether the damages to be awarded were per each falsely marked item or not, which led some defendants to settle rather than pay large attorneys' fees and risk an unknown judgment in court.

      The flaw was that the law allowed a virtually risk-free suit to be filed with a potential for a huge payout. That's the same problem that leads to patent trolls and copyright trolls*, and it's one that is greatly mitigated by implementing a "loser pays" system.

      (* Copyright trolling is further exacerbated by the statutory damages provision that allows for recovery of damages far out of proportion to the actual damages suffered. There is a "loser pays" provision in copyright law, but it is at the discretion of the court and is usually only applied in extraordinary circumstances.)

      Low patent quality does play a role in patent trolling, but primarily by providing more ammunition for patent trolls to troll with. Speaking from experience, the USPTO examiners' hands are tied when it comes to patent quality (sideways swings and cat laser pointers aside), because case law and office policy don't give us the tools we need to say that a set of claims are so far removed from the disclosed invention as to be ridiculous; and in many cases, the relevant prior art is "in use" but the details are not published, which prevents us from making a prima facie case to sustain a prior art rejection.

      • Take, for example, another (short-lived) attempt to exploit the law for unjustified gain: the (now amended) statute on false marking of patents.

        I think most Americans think we should have more enforcement against criminals fraudulently claiming an item is patented when it is not. Civil enforcement of the law was starting to work, but the patent bar complained and congress acted within months to protect patent fraud perps.

        Patent trolls aren't the main problem. A Sony, Microsoft or IBM at the door of an innov

        • by Raenex (947668)

          Trolls mostly attack companies already profitable enough to put up a fight.

          Actually, many times they attack smaller companies that can't afford to fight. See, for example, here [techcrunch.com].

      • "Actually, patent trolls are fundamentally an artifact of flaws in the law."

        Actually you're wrong.

        See here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act [wikipedia.org]

        A moderate person like yourself who "just wants to fix the laws" has history against you. Every time laws like Copyright came up to be 'fixed' it was extended. To be defeated every single time in a row and routed so thoroughly means moderates have no historical evidence that they can contain the beast.

    • by Raenex (947668)

      For example, university research labs sometimes invent some significant things which they then license to a third party to commercialize, which is perfectly fine (and an intended use of the patent system).

      I think that's shit if the university received public funding to do that research. Why grant a monopoly in this case?

      • by Trepidity (597)

        If we fully funded universities, I'd agree, but in general taxpayers are stingy and don't, so universities need to find other sources of revenue. Patents are one reasonable source, certainly better than many of the alternatives (like being dependent on corporate donations). They at least tie university funding to production of value for third parties.

        For example, Stanford's CCRMA computer-music research center is largely funded from patent-licensing deals with synthesizer companies like Yamaha. An alternate

        • by Raenex (947668)

          If we fully funded universities, I'd agree, but in general taxpayers are stingy and don't, so universities need to find other sources of revenue.

          In the United States? Besides the grant money, directly paying for the research that turns into patents, there's tons of money being funneled into universities through government loans and grants to students, which have caused college tuition rates to outpace inflation for several decades now.

          • by Trepidity (597)

            College tuition rates are outpacing inflation precisely because of the huge cuts in public funding of education.

            In 1985, for example, the state of California funded the University of California system with $3.25 billion (in inflation-adjusted 2013 dollars). It had about 110,000 students at the time, so that funding amounted to about $30,000 per student. Fast-forward to today, and the UC system receives about $3.00 billion in state funding, but is required to educate around 180,000 students. That adds up to

            • by Raenex (947668)

              Given the recent and persistent recession, and especially given California's budget woes, using that single example isn't a good barometer of why tuition at schools has risen so fast for so long.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @01:13PM (#42928743) Homepage

    [Obama] describes patent trolls as "a classic example," of the problem, and that "they don't actually produce anything themselves."

    Whether a bad patent is wielded by a producer or a holding company does not change the fact that it should never have been granted. If we kill the trolls, we will still be left with the runaway, wasteful patent litigation over bad patents by companies that do produce things.

    The problem is not production. The "patent troll" hobgoblin is misdirecting the patent backlash that should be directed at a patent system that is too powerful. We are getting bad patents because we grant them too easily and give too much enforcement power to those who hold them. That is every bit as true of the mobile patent wars between producers as with the network service patent wars of the trolls.

    The "patent troll" misdirection is harming our ability to fix the actual problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The USA is increasingly reliant on its "intellectual property rights" now. Software patents help to maintain the status quo in favor of the USA for a while longer.

    No matter how stupid and destructive software patents are, any US administration will fight hard to keep things the same.

    • by tqk (413719)

      The USA is increasingly reliant on its "intellectual property rights" now.

      Please stop using that empty phrase. It's "imaginary property rights." Just because you pass a law, doesn't make it real.

  • Dumb patents (Score:4, Interesting)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @01:33PM (#42928935)
    The problem is dumb patents that do not advance the state of the art and provide no solution to anything. Most software patents are only problem statements and provide no solution to the problem at all, so they are totally worthless except to harass other people who actually invested the time and energy to solve the problem. If a patent describes something useful in a way that furthers the art, then no-one will have an issue with it. Every patent application should be accompanied by a working machine. Whether it costs 10 pence, 10 dollars, or 10 billion dollars to make that working machine - that will prove the value of the patent.
    • Re:Dumb patents (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @02:02PM (#42929171)

      The problem is dumb patents that do not advance the state of the art and provide no solution to anything. Most software patents are only problem statements and provide no solution to the problem at all, so they are totally worthless except to harass other people who actually invested the time and energy to solve the problem. If a patent describes something useful in a way that furthers the art, then no-one will have an issue with it. Every patent application should be accompanied by a working machine. Whether it costs 10 pence, 10 dollars, or 10 billion dollars to make that working machine - that will prove the value of the patent.

      That would destroy drug patents as well as software patents.

      It should require a demonstration to show practicality. In the case of a drug patent, that would mean a successful clinical trial

      In the case of sotware (and yes, I think there should be software patents but not for obvious, workmanlike programs) it would be a working program that implements all the claims of the invention.) and a demonstration that it does what is claimed.

      In the case of hardware, it would require a physical implementation of the invention and demonstration that it does what is claimed.

      In the case of a gene patent, no such fucking thing unless you built that gene yourself and it isn't known to exist in a living organism in the wild. For example, if you invent a new DNA sequence that will cause bacteria to break down cellulose quickly and convert it into ethanol or methane, that would be an invention. And the modified bacteria could then be an invention, though I have qualms about letting any living thing be patented because if it escapes into the biosphere it becomes impossible to commercially control.

      • by icebike (68054)

        I have qualms about letting any living thing be patented because if it escapes into the biosphere it becomes impossible to commercially control.

        Being patented might well be the least of all worries if a "living thing" escapes into the biosphere. Patents have no bearing on such an event, or the potential harm (or good) that might result.

        • by Shavano (2541114)
          For the possible harm, there's torts. The patent does have bearing. The rule should be that if your patented gene gets loose (reproduces outside human agency), you have no legal recourse for it turning up wherever it turns up. For instance, if it's a crop gene and it gets cross-pollinated into the field of somebody who didn't buy your seed, that's too bad for you. You put the gene in a condition to be propagated outside of human control and you have no rights regarding the seeds produced on that field.

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