US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents



  • http://devproconnections.com/development/federal-judge-says-alice-death-knell-software-patents

    It's a bit of legal complexity and the law is never set in stone, but there is a major decision here and it will impact the software patent space very heavily.



  • This is pretty exciting for everyone in real software or IT. This could be a game changer.



  • I had a conversation with someone not too long ago that was convinced Software patents were the only way innovation in the field happened. It was a longer conversation then it needed to be.



  • "Software is a form of language -- in essence, a set of instructions.... It is inherently abstract because it is merely 'an idea without physical embodiment." Software is to a programming language as a poem is to a spoken language, making Copyright law still viable.

    If this does come to fruition, and copyright law becomes the only way to protect a literal software program, I wonder if software vendors will push for legislation for additional protections that go outside of a program's definitive code. Such as how Vanilla Ice wrote Ice Ice Baby with a baseline copied from Queen, but didn't copy the entire song or other instruments. As a result, Queen is receiving royalties to this day. Plagiarism is interpreted in a lot of different ways. In one class I was in, it was defined as "a string of seven words directly copied from another author". What is the technical counterpart of that scale? At what point is a piece of code a work of originality versus a common methodology when being scrutinized at that level?

    Copyright law can be just as chaotic as patent law. And if anyone can muck up those waters to the point of making it a pool of polluted sludge, it's Apple and Google.

    But the upside is that this will make patent trolls go away, which makes me ohsohappy.



  • This sounds as if you create an awesome piece of software (let's use AI) that you wouldn't be allowed to protect it by patent.

    Which to me seems a bit insane. If you created something, out of the idea of someone else, but had done so in a way which is unlike nothing ever before, you should be allowed to own that.

    If this "AI" you wrote is able to self learn / repair and improve the code what does that mean? Does it mean that the code should own it's self?

    I love open source, I do, but I don't think I agree with the concept taken here. Maybe I've got rose colored shades on. ..



  • @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    This sounds as if you create an awesome piece of software (let's use AI) that you wouldn't be allowed to protect it by patent.

    Which to me seems a bit insane. If you created something, out of the idea of someone else, but had done so in a way which is unlike nothing ever before, you should be allowed to own that.

    If this "AI" you wrote is able to self learn / repair and improve the code what does that mean? Does it mean that the code should own it's self?

    I love open source, I do, but I don't think I agree with the concept taken here. Maybe I've got rose colored shades on. ..

    You can copyright it. You cannot (if this goes forward) patent it.



  • @JaredBusch said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    This sounds as if you create an awesome piece of software (let's use AI) that you wouldn't be allowed to protect it by patent.

    Which to me seems a bit insane. If you created something, out of the idea of someone else, but had done so in a way which is unlike nothing ever before, you should be allowed to own that.

    If this "AI" you wrote is able to self learn / repair and improve the code what does that mean? Does it mean that the code should own it's self?

    I love open source, I do, but I don't think I agree with the concept taken here. Maybe I've got rose colored shades on. ..

    You can copyright it. You cannot (if this goes forward) patent it.

    I get that part, but why not? I guess I'm just uneducated on the argument here. Copyright allows you to get paid for the work, and patent means no one else is allowed to create something similar to it (at least with any plagiarized code, it must be different programming, correct?)

    Is that accurate? Or must it do something completely different than Siri (for example)?



  • @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    @JaredBusch said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    This sounds as if you create an awesome piece of software (let's use AI) that you wouldn't be allowed to protect it by patent.

    Which to me seems a bit insane. If you created something, out of the idea of someone else, but had done so in a way which is unlike nothing ever before, you should be allowed to own that.

    If this "AI" you wrote is able to self learn / repair and improve the code what does that mean? Does it mean that the code should own it's self?

    I love open source, I do, but I don't think I agree with the concept taken here. Maybe I've got rose colored shades on. ..

    You can copyright it. You cannot (if this goes forward) patent it.

    I get that part, but why not? I guess I'm just uneducated on the argument here. Copyright allows you to get paid for the work, and patent means no one else is allowed to create something similar to it (at least with any plagiarized code, it must be different programming, correct?)

    Is that accurate? Or must it do something completely different than Siri (for example)?

    Copyright stops the reuse of code. Patents have nothing to do with that. They have to do with doing the same types of thing with new code.

    Copyright - direct work
    Patent - resulting work



  • @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    This sounds as if you create an awesome piece of software (let's use AI) that you wouldn't be allowed to protect it by patent.

    Right, because you just described the problem. You were able to describe the obviousness of what you wanted to create. So a patent should not apply.



  • @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    Which to me seems a bit insane. If you created something, out of the idea of someone else, but had done so in a way which is unlike nothing ever before, you should be allowed to own that.

    No, no you should not. That's a crazy notion. Imagine if I just said "You know what would be cool, spaceships." And patented the idea of space flight. Now for seven years, no one anywhere is allowed to try to go to space. DOesn't matter if I came up with a way to go to space or not. I just came up with the idea of "we should do that."

    Think about how everyone that wants to make software is. They all say "I have this great idea...." and the idea is crap. But they want a software engineer to do all the work to create it.

    Patents essentially make no sense in software. If they did, they would also make sense in books, music or movies. You never patent a song, right? If you think you should patent software, why not music? What about the IDEA of chords or melody? Shouldn't one person own the rights to that those concepts?

    Of course not.



  • @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    If this "AI" you wrote is able to self learn / repair and improve the code what does that mean? Does it mean that the code should own it's self?

    The code's owner should.



  • @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    I love open source, I do, but I don't think I agree with the concept taken here. Maybe I've got rose colored shades on. ..

    I'm the opposite. I see no grey area. Software patents are a form of corruption. There is nothing in software that is patentable and attempting to do so is purely an attempt to stifle innovation and put power into the hands of a few large companies that can control the government lobby to trick people into handing over their rights.



  • @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    @JaredBusch said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    This sounds as if you create an awesome piece of software (let's use AI) that you wouldn't be allowed to protect it by patent.

    Which to me seems a bit insane. If you created something, out of the idea of someone else, but had done so in a way which is unlike nothing ever before, you should be allowed to own that.

    If this "AI" you wrote is able to self learn / repair and improve the code what does that mean? Does it mean that the code should own it's self?

    I love open source, I do, but I don't think I agree with the concept taken here. Maybe I've got rose colored shades on. ..

    You can copyright it. You cannot (if this goes forward) patent it.

    I get that part, but why not? I guess I'm just uneducated on the argument here. Copyright allows you to get paid for the work, and patent means no one else is allowed to create something similar to it (at least with any plagiarized code, it must be different programming, correct?)

    Is that accurate? Or must it do something completely different than Siri (for example)?

    Because there is nothing patentable. What is there to patent in Siri, for example? The idea of an AI that responds to voice is both....

    • Very old so that patent would go back to the 1800s at least
    • Obvious, which is not allowed for a patent


  • So the argument here is "just because you have an idea of a software solution, doesn't mean you own the idea, but you can own a specific version of doing that idea"

    Is that correct? If so I can agree with that, as it makes sense (now that I've learned a bit about it).



  • @DustinB3403 said in US Federal Judge Says that "Alice" Ruling May End Software Patents:

    So the argument here is "just because you have an idea of a software solution, doesn't mean you own the idea, but you can own a specific version of doing that idea"

    Is that correct? If so I can agree with that, as it makes sense (now that I've learned a bit about it).

    Right, copyright isn't touched here and still protects you making an actual product or realizing an actual idea.

    Basically if you have an "idea" but haven't described it in code, you haven't really come up with the idea yet and are due no patent. If you have done that, then copyright protects your work far better than patents ever could.



  • Let me describe it this way, I think this will make sense.

    1. Software is like a story or poem
    2. If someone says "you should write a love story", you should not get to patent "love stories"
    3. If you write an actual love story, you get an automatic copyright for having done so protecting "your love story" from theft

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