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Talk:Cost of getting patents and maintaining them

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[edit] capital intensive patents

I think the costs of patents is not an issue for capital intensive patents but is a huge deal for evening the field for software patents. I posted some points on this here Why_abolish_software_patents.

If patents were $0, the system would come crashing down, but it would be fair. It would force us to abandon software patents or else make patents very similar to copyright where the scope would be much more narrow (and really, why duplicate copyright in the first place). There is no doubt that today a very wealthy person can acquire many monopolies over many software areas, while the average person cannot patent any of their ideas nor the many possibly patentable things from software they have written under an open license. The result is that the wealthy are gobbling up the software field and even on areas where prior art exists because the bar to adding inventiveness is so very low. So we have a case where everyone can be forced to give up all ideas someone else has registered for lots of money, but we cannot get our own ideas registered as leverage. We cannot participate in the "pluses" and surely must suffer the negatives. This law cannot pass muster on any fair basis (not to mention violates free expression and does not promote the progress).

BTW, the idea is that we use a costs (or materials) test to help define if a patent should be awarded OR if infringement can occur (thus anyone can build even "expensive" things at a small scale without any worry whatsoever). What is cheap to practice coincides with many people practicing and hence a monopoly being inexcusable (especially with no scarce resources at play) as too high a cost to progress and to individual liberties.

One reason copyright is much more acceptable (despite it lasting way way too long) is that it is $0 and automatic, and, for patents, most software/idea contributors would have tremendous leverage if what we did or explained publicly got automatic protection -- of course, the system would crash quickly without changes, but this is part of the point.

The large companies are so happy that this very high bar exists or they could not get away with such broad patents, as it would be very likely prior art would simply block them and/or someone else would have registered this already. In fact, it might be impossible to avoid prior art unless you make something revolutionary (bypassing all public discussion) and then the invention would be a process invention or else use only ideas/machines already expressed over 20 years earlier (or else get the required licenses, etc).

So as to be explicit, I definitely object to claiming costs is not an issue as concerns software patents. The status quo has ideas up for sale to the fastest wealthy bidder (with only the ultra-wealthy being able to buy sufficient monopolies to write some interesting software quasi-safely). If we make patents cheap and automatic like copyright, patent law would have to be changed (eg, made much more narrow or else all cheap processes/machines given a waiver) for the system not to collapse. Jose X 00:20, 16 October 2010 (EDT)

[edit] Why cost isn't the problem

The high cost of patents does discriminate against SMEs, but the pro-swpat camp is abusing this argument to undermine the fact that SMEs are against swpats.

Politicians know that SMEs are angry about software patents. Many politicians don't understand exactly *why* SMEs are against swpats (cost of avoiding infringement, cost of defending against accusations, being blocked from entering a market), so the pro-swpat campaigns are dishonestly telling politicians that the problem for SMEs is that the grant cost is too high and enforcement is too difficult. By misrepresenting the SMEs' discontent in this way, they've changed it from general opposition to swpats into support for what the megacorps want (cheaper and easy enforcement).

We have to counter this by keeping the focus on the real problems. Ciaran 13:02, 22 October 2010 (EDT)

My reason for including some of these smaller arguments you have been objecting is that together they help show convincingly I hope that patents should essentially be like copyrights in all of these many ways in which patents fail to be like copyright. How about I isolate these arguments as I find you object to them being "alone", and gather them up in a place that basically says "Why software patent law should be like copyright law"
I'll keep this in mind as I go over some of the material I have written on this website. Jose X 22:13, 22 October 2010 (EDT)

I adopted the position that high acq and maint costs is false solution but an important piece in showing failures of sw pat in contrast to the much more equitable copyright law. That section on high acq costs might gain from being moved elsewhere though not sure yet where. Maybe it should stay put. I don't know.

I question I have is if there is a best practice to change the names of sections within pages? How about of changing page names (eg, should be make the change as the single edit, maybe only after checking the "what links here page".. also will links internal to the page show up on the "what links here"?) Jose X 22:37, 22 October 2010 (EDT)

That's one of the limits of MediaWiki: there's no easy way to see what pages link to a particular page section, or to update all such links in one action. There's no good solution, so we just have to choose between
  1. complete rigidity - no renaming allowed
  2. laborious procedures - all inbound links must be found and fixed
  3. complete flexibility - rename sections whenever you want (which might break some inbound links)
I go for option #3. Inbound links to sections are not too common, and correct naming of things is important, so it's always best to change the name if it's an improvement. Short names are best because they make it easier for people to link to the wiki. Ciaran 22:43, 22 October 2010 (EDT)