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Apple-Motorola Judge Questions Need For Software Patents 372

imamac sends this quote from a Reuters report: "The U.S. judge who tossed out one of the biggest court cases in Apple's smartphone technology battle is questioning whether patents should cover software or most other industries at all. ... Posner said some industries, like pharmaceuticals, had a better claim to intellectual property protection because of the enormous investment it takes to create a successful drug. Advances in software and other industries cost much less, he said, and the companies benefit tremendously from being first in the market with gadgets — a benefit they would still get if there were no software patents. 'It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries,' he said. Also, devices like smartphones have thousands of component features, and they all receive legal protection. 'You just have this proliferation of patents,' Posner said. 'It's a problem.' ... The Apple/Motorola case did not land in front of Posner by accident. He volunteered to oversee it."
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Apple-Motorola Judge Questions Need For Software Patents

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  • Oblig: TED Talk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @09:35AM (#40562949) Journal
  • not a fan of... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @09:48AM (#40563131) Homepage
    patents, but what about a compromise? What if software patents and electronic patents were only valid for like 2 years, that in the computer world is more than enough time for you to recover your research money without hampering the development of future tech. I would prefer none but I think this would be a fair compromise.
  • by Supp0rtLinux ( 594509 ) <> on Friday July 06, 2012 @09:55AM (#40563223)
    Its starting to sound like Posner had a specific agenda. After all, he volunteered for this one. It would seem that instead of being a judge and enforcing or enacting the law, he used this as his proverbial soapbox and to make a point. I can't wait for Apple to realize this (they probably already have) and appeal for a new trial to go forward thanks to Posner expressing his opinions, etc. The fact is, Posner doesn't make the laws; he interprets and applies them. By volunteering for the case, then shooting it down, then talking about his discontent with technological patents, he's made it pretty clear he has an agenda.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 06, 2012 @10:06AM (#40563337)

    software is still covered by copyright and licensing agreements.

    It is one of the very few places where IP laws of different types overlap.

  • Re:Oblig: TED Talk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cdecoro ( 882384 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @10:20AM (#40563595)

    the idea of profiting from others' pain is so WRONG, I can't even get my head around why we allow such evil practices

    Profit from other people's pain? The pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs I take every day, Merck and Pfizer, are profiting from RELIEVING my once-substantial, and now nearly non-existant pain. I am thankful every day that we have companies committed to such "evil" practices.

  • Re:not a fan of... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zaphod The 42nd ( 1205578 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @10:27AM (#40563739)
    I hate software patents and I think they're entirely unnecessary. As he said, being first to market is enough.

    But I absolutely agree, if we're going to stick with them, a term limit of like 4 years on software patents would go a LONG way.
  • Re:Oblig: TED Talk (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cdecoro ( 882384 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @11:30AM (#40564609)

    AC is absolutely right. Of course someone would make that pill, because it would completely wipe out all their competitors' market share, assuming that the price of that pill was less than the present value (including inconvenience) of taking the other pills over the length of the patent term.

    And I'm not forced to buy their new pills; their old (no-longer-patented) ones work just fine for me. But they don't work well enough for some people, whereas the new ones may. So I'm quite happy to have given them their monopoly-inflated price (about $100/month) for the 3 years I was on it until the patent expired, because they've turned that around into making new drugs that help other people. More importantly, I appreciate that they've given me my life back, and hope for the future. For that, $100/month was a bargain.

    Now, I don't deny that there can be problems where companies, or individuals therein, take actions that are fraudulent, exploitative or otherwise unethical. So of course, there should be some level of government oversight. But profit is exactly what motivates these companies to make new drugs. If a disease only affects a small number of people (as opposed to, perhaps, a wide-spread pandemic), governments don't have much motivation to produce drugs.

    Suppose that you were a politician proposing to spend billions of dollars towards developing a drug for, let's say, those with schizophrenia, which are less than half a percent of the population. The drug may never pan out. And your opponent says that we should just throw those psychos in institutions, if not in prison (because we all know that that's really what they "deserve," and that their illness is just an "excuse") and spend that money on decent people instead. Which do you think would be more popular, and thus more likely to be implemented by a government? (Hint: one of these is exactly what has been done by governments for most of human history, and the other has never been done, at least on any large scale).

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes