Microsoft Awarded 10,000th Patent

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ossie

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For those who only live to make money, opposed to those who make money to live:
A true inventor is not pursuing just his own wealth, he tries to also improve the well being of others.
As for the argument that capitalism is the supreme form for a society, just take a look at the actual world economy, the direct effect of corporate and bankster greed.
Getting back to the subject, patents, it is enough to analyze the example from the article with "surface computing". If you take a closer look it's plain nothing, it describes just, in very broad terms, some form of interaction between a personal object and a computing system, without going any deeper, which "absolutely" needed a lot of R&D of the yearly 8 billion mentioned, except a lot of lawyer fees. It isn't a real invention, but will surely be used as a roadblock and coercion mean for everyone who will (try to) do something specific, which would just peripherally resemble the patented "invention".
 

nottheking

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I'll just come out and say it here, then: open-source is, inherently, at least partly communist. They both are plagued with similar problems: because the invisible hand is removed, the main driving force is personal; and only a fool is optimistic to think that everyone in charge is altruistic enough to be trusted with the power they have. For open-source software, this yields the problem that those few programmers who ARE in the middle, those that make the actual decisions as for what the actual program itself will be when released, have only their own desires to pursue. Which, as I've noticed, do NOT line up with the mainstream. This is why, for instance, Firefox's market share is less than 1/3 that of Internet Explorer, in spite of the latter being bad enough as it is, and both free; (and not exactly hidden) it's hardly the best browser if you're not like the core group at the Mozilla Foundation.

Also, ossie, I'd appreciate if you'd stop voting other replies up and down just based on whether you agree/disagree with them. It doesn't paint a very favorable picture of yourself.[citation][nom]SAL-e[/nom]Nottheking,Thank you for explanation of your position. You and Chris312 are applying that I am socialist or communist. For the record I am not. I do support Open Source because make sense. For example, recent data shows that programmers working for open source projects are making about 40% more then programmers working on close source projects.(http://www.crn.com/it-channel/206900235)[/citation]
That was precisely my point: those people aren't making money off of open-source, but rather, they have the time to spend because they're making enough money already, working a REAL job during the day. In other words, they're programming NON-open-source stuff during that time, for which they make money. This world ain't free.

[citation][nom]SAL-e[/nom]Yes my example is non-sense at all, as Chris312 noted and that exactly is my point. The current patent system is non-sense if our goal, as stated in our (USA) constitution, is to promote innovation.[/citation]
I do understand most enthusiasts aren't exactly known for being politically savvy. Hence why you see a huge array of various career paths leading into politics, (entrepreneurs, lawyers, farmers, physicians, military officers, and professors being the most common, as I recall) but virtually no techies. But still, I'd feel a bit better about reading your posts if you'd actually bothered to read up on what you professed to speak of beforehand. Especially when you claim that Patents are even mentioned in the US Constitution.

[citation][nom]SAL-e[/nom]And again I can not steal your idea. See my argument in earlier comment (02/12/2009 6:33 AM). The government assigning monopolies through patents are left over from very yearly capitalist theory called Mercantilism. This theory has been rejected by modern economists promoting the ‘free-market’, starting with Adam Smith.[/citation]
While you are correct to note that mercantilism is heavily rejected and refuted by actual capitalists as much as actual capitalists refute communism, and wouldn't even be making much of a stretch to argue that a lot of the largest multi-national corporations act in mercantilist, rather than capitalist, manners, (especially if you were speaking in regards to copyrights) you cannot argue that patents are a mercantilist idea. In fact, they are, as defined in their reason and function, inherently VERY capitalist. The basic principle of mercantilism lies in the tangibility of wealth; that the overal level is un-changing, and is possessable. While patents make intellectual property possessable, by definition they absolutely MUST expire after a set time period, and often sooner. This inherently does provide a punishment for companies that try to over-step themselves; if they patent an idea before they actually have it working, and then spend the next 20 years to actually get it to work, they've just made an invention that immediately lands in the public domain; they spent all that money, and get no protection for it. In other words, they've just poured potentially millions upon millions of dollars to develop something that, in their prior greed, they just squandered their real chance to rake in profit on it; sure, they can sell it, but now others can as well without investing anything into development, thus providing for competition.

Also, there's the other bit that kills any possible idea of patents being mercantilist, and that's the fact that ideas are not finite. Basically, I doubt anyone's going to run out of ideas or inventions any time soon, or perhaps even in all of humanity's existence. That literally makes patents impossible to mercantilist, since there would literally be never any chance to have "all" of the ideas.

The existence of patents versus the non-existence of them has the primary effect of placing high value on inventing, value that would not be there in the monetary market without them, as the value would be placed on something else, namely dirtier stuff like theft and corruption. (again, Trofim Lysenko)

Lastly, I'd note that patents also create challenges, to spur innovation; while you cannot simply make an improved version of a patented invention and have it be your own, you can make an entirely different alternative that is superior to the first choice, in one or more ways, and market that. but without the first idea, there is no challenge to tackle. A strong case of this idea is with Hybrid vehicles: virtually every hybrid car in existence follows a design that is similar enough to what Toyota developed in the 1990s and subsequently patented for their Prius. Now, because like virtually every invention these days, it falls into an already existing market, it faces competition even from companies without that invention. Hence, there is still incentive for them to license their technology out to every other automaker, which is precisely what they've done. Meanwhile, General Motors took a look at Toyota's patented THS/HSD technology, (Toyota Hybrid System/Hybrid Synergy Drive) and thought they could make a better alternative invention. This resulted in them inventing their new E-Flex technology, something that in all likelihood would not have existed had GM been able to simply make their own cars on the THS/HSD technology without paying any royalties.

[citation][nom]SAL-e[/nom]I think the monopolies are showing their ugly face right now again and we need to stop that. You are absolutely correct that in infringement cases the defendants have no incentive to admit copying, but you are omitting that plaintiffs has very strong incentive to show it. It guaranties triple award and yet they don’t.[/citation]
Basically, it shows that it's harder to claim that someone copied when they didn't, then it is for someone to copy, claim that they idependently invented it, and got away with it. Were it the other way around, the majority of cases would've been come out as rulings the defendant NOT copying; either because that was true for >50% of the cases, or that, of course, >50% of the cases containing lies would rule that the defendant did not copy.

Inversely, were it so easy to claim that someone copied one's invention and prove it, there would be a far larger quantity of such rulings, if not the majority of them, a majority being the fact that it's far easier to steal someone's invention rather than to invent it independelty, since stealing merely needs one to see the patent.

[citation][nom]SAL-e[/nom]The fact of life is that independent inventions exist. Any new scientific theory has to be confirmed by two or more independent researches, before it is accepted.[/citation]
These new sentences have zero practical relationship to each other; scientific theory is not the same thing as invention; you CANNOT patent a scientific theory. Also, a scientific theory takes more than 2 researchers; generally it takes hundreds, if not thousands, of repeat experiments, conducted over a decade or more. Inventions are the product of applied science & engineering, also known as technology. Scientific theories are the product of theroetical science, the collective of natural science, behavioral science, and social science. The former group follows the process of invention and thus is not technically science; the latter group follows the scientific method.

[citation][nom]SAL-e[/nom]I also believe that all inventors will have better profits if the current patent system is removed because the only away for companies to stay competitive on the market would be constantly to invent. All this will result in higher demand for highly educated and creative people.[/citation]
Not in the slightest; companies would cease bothering to invent entirely, since it would cost money, when they could just otherwise seek out those that have inventions and ideas, and steal them. Basically, corporate R&D would cease to exist, and be replaced with corporate espionage. They would have ZERO demand for educated and creative people, merely for those who were incredibly glib and slippery, or others of untrustworthy character.

The basic idea is that yes, with a patent, a company can profit from an idea for a number of years. But you forget that companies try to make money, so why stop with just one invention to make money, rather than trying for more? They wouldn't try aggressive inventing if they couldn't have their inventions protected; in the end, the evidence is right in the article here, that Microsoft didn't just stop with Windows, but went on to try to tackle other markets as well, hence all their fuss over Microsoft's "Surface" technology. And what if a company hadn't? Well, that's what competition's for, to invent a superior alternative.

Furthemore, profiting from these earlier inventions has allowed them to be able to AFFORD some of this inventing, which has cost a lot of money just for development, and certainy was out of the range of what a single programmer, or even a group of programmers, could manage with their off-time. This is why the rate of invention in this world is accelerating, as it did entirely independent of the open-source movement; businesses got better and better organized, planned better, and hence started pouring more and more money into research.

[citation][nom]ossie[/nom]As for the argument that capitalism is the supreme form for a society, just take a look at the actual world economy, the direct effect of corporate and bankster greed.[/quote]
That was not a function of capitalism. That was a function of investors and banks treating capitalist securities like they were mercantilist wealth. Risk is supposed to be an inherent part of capitalism, yet the banks absolutely ignored risk. Again, I already gave evidence why socialism/communism/whatever you call it doesn't work, as it ironically promotes greed even MORE, and merely limits the greed to a select privileged few.

[citation][nom]ossie[/nom]Getting back to the subject, patents, it is enough to analyze the example from the article with "surface computing". If you take a closer look it's plain nothing, it describes just, in very broad terms, some form of interaction between a personal object and a computing system, without going any deeper, which "absolutely" needed a lot of R&D of the yearly 8 billion mentioned, except a lot of lawyer fees. It isn't a real invention, but will surely be used as a roadblock and coercion mean for everyone who will (try to) do something specific, which would just peripherally resemble the patented "invention".[/citation]
I would say that if they're putting a lot of perspiration into their work, and it's new and previous as-yet never realized, it's most certainly an invention. And you know darn well that Microsoft makes its money by selling its products to a LOT of people. So, it would be a complete surprise if Microsoft planned to do anything aside from that. And if Microsoft patented it before they had it ready? Then that's a number of years whittled away at their usable protection; remember, unlike copyrights, patents don't last effectively forever. Their pre-invention protection may sound a little silly, but for now, it appears to be that they're ensuring that no one gets a peek and manages to be "inspired" (also known as "only stealing PART of their idea") enough to develop their own invention before Microsoft can finish.
 

ossie

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@nottheking Just don't be a hypocrite... (I hope you know why.)
OSS has nothing to do with communism, presumably it's FOSS what's horrifying mccarthyists.
The last time I looked at it, FF share was still rising, as opposed to m$'s iexploder, despite the last one having all m$'s corporate might behind.
Don't divagate with real world patents, the whole discussion was about the so called SW patents, which are a completely different species - in the EU, despite heavy lobbying and pressure, they are still not accepted (at least officially).
Actually the greed of the few chosen ones in the party bureaucracy wasn't supposed to be a function of communism either... at least in theory.
m$ is actually making it's money by screwing a LOT of people, and it's no surprise that they are doing it all over again and again.
 

nottheking

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[citation][nom]ossie[/nom]@nottheking Just don't be a hypocrite... (I hope you know why.)[/citation]
I know why you assume why, but apparently, it was disproven with prett solid evidence if you noticed that now your comment got a -2; I didn't vote, and there's no way I could've voted twice, anyway. (or voted myself up) Apparently there are others reading that got fed up with you. Possibly due to your arrogance at writing poorly-made comments that are full of pure rhetoric, and attacking lengthy, well-written ones purely because they contradict your own little bubble.

[citation][nom]ossie[/nom]OSS has nothing to do with communism, presumably it's FOSS what's horrifying mccarthyists.The last time I looked at it, FF share was still rising, as opposed to m$'s iexploder, despite the last one having all m$'s corporate might behind.[/citation]
Not very fast, I would note. And it owes most of that to the almost rapid advertising done for that by its own backers. That's one thing that un-paid people are good at: grassroots advertising.

[citation][nom]ossie[/nom]Don't divagate with real world patents, the whole discussion was about the so called SW patents, which are a completely different species - in the EU, despite heavy lobbying and pressure, they are still not accepted (at least officially).[/citation]
Um, that's only at the EU level itself that said things cannot be patented; if you read the entirety of Article 52, it limits its own exclusions. And, of course, can be readily gotten around by simply individually filing a patent in every EU member country, rather than submitting one to the EU.

[citation][nom]ossie[/nom]Actually the greed of the few chosen ones in the party bureaucracy wasn't supposed to be a function of communism either... at least in theory.[/citation]
The problem with Communism was, is that most people have a fantasy idealized version of it that was actually never put forth prior to, oh, the collapse of the USSR. Karl Marx never described a system terribly well, except that he made it clear that what he envisioned was something akin to the labor unions that existed at the time. And coincidentally, labor unions are *NOT* perfectly equal for all people in it; those in charge have a distinct advantage over ordinary members. And as we know quite well by now, they are a ripe location for corruption. So yeah, that's an inherent flaw with communism. And that's not far off from the inherent flaws in open-source software projects, at least provided the creators aren't being paid for their work; that's a key difference between, say, Mozilla's Firefox, and Google's Chrome; the source code was released for both, Firefox relied on an ad-hoc, unpaid group of programmers, who had literally zero incentive to make something other than for themselves. Meanwhile, while Chrome was to be free, its developers were under paid orders to make a good browser for the general market. The result was that Chrome became a far superior browser.

[citation][nom]ossie[/nom]m$ is actually making it's money by screwing a LOT of people, and it's no surprise that they are doing it all over again and again.[/citation]
Who's being screwed? All the schmucks who expect everything to be free for them? Hundreds, if not thousands, of honest programmers are employed because of projects like this, people who would not have their jobs if not for the fact that patents gauranteed the profitability of their talents.
 

SAL-e

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Nottheking,
At least we can agree on couple of points. The first is that experiment conducted in USSR and the rest of the Eastern Block was very far from the original communist and socialist ideas. The main problem was that those ideas were never theoretically developed and if there was time, we could found the theoretical problems, instead of destroying the life of millions and millions of people. Only the people who lived under the regime knew and undarstand that. There was very popular joke that I learn in Moscow. I will try to translate it for every one.

"In late 80's the soviet scientists able to resurrect the mummy of Lenin. The moment Lenin woke-up he demanded the paperwork to examine the progress of USSR. So they gave him all documents and left him alone to work. He never appeared for days so the communist elite enter his room to see what was going on, but Lenin was missing. The only thing they found was a note. 'I am back at Avrora, and I am starting the revolution all over again. Lenin'"

My biggest problem is that I see the same problems here in USA. The career politicians are corrupted and they are failing to do their duty at the same time people are failing to hold them accountable for that. I will hate to see USA destroyed because we were not able to learn from mistakes of others. That is what smart people do.
The second point that we agree is that smart people and inventors should be rewarded, but we radically differ in our approach. This is the best part of USA as long we can find away to maintain constructive dialog.

About the open-source software I think you are misunderstanding the process. You are correct that some projects are run by small core of people and they can make or break the project. But here where the agility of the OSS is coming to play. If you disagree you can take the current source and fork it. You can modify it the way that will work for you or your selected business. For example Sun exercises strict control over the OpenOffice and many programmers are turn-off by that. As result different version of the OpenOffice called Go-OO exists. That is what most people include in their distributions. Other OSS project that had completely different style is MySQL. For many years they had dual-licenses, Commercial and GPL. But they had found out that it would be simple to drop the commercial license. Now the MySQL server is distributed only under GPL and they have been very successful. The same happen to Qt library; recently Nokia changed the license from GPL to LGPL. This is going to allow development of commercial software and the company can publish only portion of their source and continue to improve the Qt library. That is how both, commercial companies and OSS communities can benefit from each other. Canonical is trying to develop what you call mainstream Linux distribution and they are getting a lot of criticism, but at the same time they are one of the most popular distribution. At the same time the people that need special distribution can find it or build it. Here the efficiency of the OSS is coming. If you have a special case you can take core from existing projects and build only your component instead of re-inventing the wheel every time. That is why programmers that understand OSS are in high demand right now. If you are OSS programmer, you can move from one company to other and your skills will apply. The company doesn’t have to spend time to train you. The company can have you working on their project without wasting time and money on usual overhead. Many companies are realizing that, including Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft has removed ridiculous restriction that you can not use their development software to produce OSS and recently they have contributed to Moonlight, OSS implementation of Silverlight. Some people argue that all software should be OSS. This is nice idea, but is not practical. In some cases more efficiently from business point of view to be close source and this should be left to the company to decide. The business models around OSS are very young and they need time to mature. The only people that are scared by OSS are the people that don't want to change. Those people are using their money and power to prevent the change, but they will fail in the long run. Do you really believe that MS will work so quickly to fix Vista, if Linux was not around and some OEM vendors have not started to distribute Linux? Like it or not but Linux is becoming real competition for MS. In fact the power of OSS is just started to show. I bet you that you have at least one device that runs OSS and most of the software will be OSS in the future. Some companies are all ready taking notice of that. Sun is building OpenSolaris. Nokia is in process of opening the source of the Symbian OS. IBM, HP, Novell, Red Had, Intel all are working together to improve the Linux kernel and yet they are big competitors to each other. Recently IBM was sued by patent troll. IBM never announced it publicly, but they have received many documents from other OSS companies. As result the IBM won the case in such way that all OSS companies are protected form this kind of racket. That is why I support OSS. We also agree that many companies are not working in the free-market competition instead they are looking and promoting mercantilism. Those companies are looking to eliminate competition by abusing their monopolistic power. MS was found guilty of doing that. Those companies are using temporary granted monopolies through patents to block competitors and in the process stifling innovation. That is why I oppose current patent regime. There should be better way of protecting inventors. For example instead of granting monopolies to one company why we don't have patent that require to pay tax to use it and portion of tax to be paid back to inventing company or individual. That way no one can stop implementation of that idea. If the idea is implemented by many companies the inventor will receive more royalties. That way the company that provide best implementation can win the biggest market share and profit. If any one implements the idea with out paying the patent tax will commit tax fraud and the government should step in. The best part would be that other companies will police that and we don't need extra government expenses. I believe that we do not need monopolies, even if they are temporary only.
Best regards,
SAL-e
 

ossie

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@ nottheking Well, you still didn't get it. It is naturally to grade a comment by it's value, but quantity will never replace quality - even if m$ is a great supporter of the first one. I always grade comments by the ideas expressed and not the length, and the main criteria is if those ideas are sound and have a solid background.
SW patents are filed, but are unenforceable under current law in the EU and it's component countries.
In your place I wouldn't theorize too much about communism, as it is a system of which you just heard of in the police states of amerika propaganda.
If you really believe that capitalism is free of corruption I already pity you.

To end in a more cheerful mood, some famous quotations - some may be old, but are still quite actual:

"If you can't make it good, make it LOOK good." Bill Gates
"The Internet? We are not interested in it" Bill Gates, 1993
"We had planned to integrate a Web browser with our operating system as far back as 1993" Microsoft (27 Jul 1998, filing its first court responses to federal antitrust)

"Microsoft does not innovate. It buys, imitates, or steals. It makes things difficult for software developers, and thus eventually for users." Richard Brandshaft
"There is a fantasy in Redmond that Microsoft products are innovative, but this is based entirely on a peculiar confusion of the words "innovative" and "successful." Microsoft products are successful - they make a lot of money - but that doesn't make them innovative, or even particularly good." Robert X. Cringley
"We have no intention of shipping another bloated OS and shoving it down the throats of our users." Paul Maritz
"Microsoft's biggest and most dangerous contribution to the software industry may be the degree to which it has lowered user expectations." Esther Schindler
 

SAL-e

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[citation][nom]nottheking[/nom]Lastly, I'd note that patents also create challenges, to spur innovation; while you cannot simply make an improved version of a patented invention and have it be your own, you can make an entirely different alternative that is superior to the first choice, in one or more ways, and market that. but without the first idea, there is no challenge to tackle. A strong case of this idea is with Hybrid vehicles: virtually every hybrid car in existence follows a design that is similar enough to what Toyota developed in the 1990s and subsequently patented for their Prius. Now, because like virtually every invention these days, it falls into an already existing market, it faces competition even from companies without that invention. Hence, there is still incentive for them to license their technology out to every other automaker, which is precisely what they've done. Meanwhile, General Motors took a look at Toyota's patented THS/HSD technology, (Toyota Hybrid System/Hybrid Synergy Drive) and thought they could make a better alternative invention. This resulted in them inventing their new E-Flex technology, something that in all likelihood would not have existed had GM been able to simply make their own cars on the THS/HSD technology without paying any royalties.[/citation]

Nottheking,
I needed some time to think over your example. This case can be looked in different light. Let assume that GM had free access to Toyota hybrid technology. They are producing cars with it, but still Toyota will sell more because they was first and many people will consider their experience in the technology. That exactly why James Watt’s company continued to thrive after their patent on steam engine expired. But let’s get back to GM and Toyota. The difference would be that consumers could have a choice between Toyota and GM. If GM executes the technology better then Toyota, GM will win bigger share and Toyota would be forced to go back to the drawing board and create new technology. If GM was lagging behind they will be forced to invent new technology that gives them an edge. So the invention of new superior technology will happen any way. (I know your argument that all R&D will stop, but history shows that inventions was existing long before the modern patent system, but I respect your opinion.)
I have to agree that in this example the restrictive patent accelerated the development of the alternative technology, but the price that was paid is impossibility and benefits of improving Toyotas technology.
Here is my problem, isn’t the price not to improve existing patented technology for 20 years in order to promote development of alternative technology too high? Consider the fact is that most inventions are incremental rather then new. Second implementing incremental inventions is much more efficient and required less resources then implementing new technology. I can provide an example of the early days of the aviation. Yes, the first flight was here in USA, but because the patent war that Wright Brothers started the aviation in USA stopped to improve. The situation was so bad that about 10 years later during the WWI the US army had to use French plains. The US government had to intervene and to nationalize their patent. I am sure that you know the whole story, but for the rest here is the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_Brothers#The_patent_war
The worst is that Wright Brothers never able to make other better plain and the surviving Orville Wright had to spend time restoring their public image, that was completely destroy as result of their rent seeking behavior.
For the record. They really were two of the brightest engineers that I admire. I only wish that they had better business partner to make them really successful in business sense.

SAL-e
 

SAL-e

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[citation][nom]SAL-e[/nom]The current patent system is non-sense if our goal, as stated in our (USA) constitution, is to promote innovation. [/citation]

[citation][nom]nottheking[/nom]I do understand most enthusiasts aren't exactly known for being politically savvy. Hence why you see a huge array of various career paths leading into politics, (entrepreneurs, lawyers, farmers, physicians, military officers, and professors being the most common, as I recall) but virtually no techies. But still, I'd feel a bit better about reading your posts if you'd actually bothered to read up on what you professed to speak of beforehand. Especially when you claim that Patents are even mentioned in the US Constitution. [/citation]

nottheking is correct. There is no mention of the patents and copyright in the US Constitution. To bad I trusted sources like Abraham Lincoln:

"Next came the Patent laws. These began in England in 1624; and, in this country, with the adoption of our constitution. Before then [these?], any man might instantly use what another had invented; so that the inventor had no special advantage from his own invention. The patent system changed this; secured to the inventor, for a limited time, the exclusive use of his invention; and thereby added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius, in the discovery and production of new and useful things."
Abraham Lincoln

I had to do some searching and asking questions around here is what I found out:

Article 1, Section 8, clause 8 of the US Constitution says,
“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”

So looks like the copyright and patent supporters are correct that US Constitution provide bases for their claims, but I was wandering how the people who wrote the US Constitution will react, if they can see the results today. And I'm not the only one:
Constitutional Sanction
Mythologising Copyright
The last two links a discussions about copyrights, but I think the same arguments (pro and con) can be made for patents.
 
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