[Cdn-DMCA] JPEG Extinct? Send as input to Innovation Strategy!!
cpalmer at accesscable.net
Sat Jul 27 17:43:01 EDT 2002
Some general and disorganised thoughts on patents:
1. Patents are incomprehensible to me, and therefore useless. Patents should
be in language of those skilled in the art; software patents should be in
computer language, any languge for which there is a standard and a compiler
(say, C or C++), and systems in universal modelling language (UML).
They should not be in impenetrable jargon with endless "said" this and
This is no different from drawings for mechanical devices conforming to
mechanical engineering standards, or electronic diagrams using standard
symbols for "resistor" etc.
There must be some sort of requirement for clarity, that practitioners - not
just patent lawyers - be able to understand the invention.
2. It seems to me that something missing in IP is the concept of a surveyor,
someone whose job is to specify the boundaries of property. The limits of
the patent should be clear and not capable of expansion.
3. I have heard that some lawyers advise their clients not to patent
search, because it is actually dangerous to do a patent review. The penalty
is less for infringing a patent in ignorance through independant development
than it is to review a patent, and be subconsciously affected by it, or
review a patent and conclude(wrongly) that it does not apply.
This of course makes patenting absurd, we want to encourage people to do
4. What affect does uncertainty have on the innovation process, the idea
that essentially every piece of code is subject to obscure and conflicting
patents, that the patents are couched in at best archaic language - the
British Telecom patent on hyperlinking from the 1970's! , or that there is
no reliable way to search (Compuserve, Unysis and the Gif patent) ?
Standards organisations require industry participants to pool patents for
industry standards and are subject to hijacking less than honorable member
of the standards body - Forgent and the Jpeg group, Rambus and memory
Innovation becomes dangerous.
5. What is the effect on innovation where there are multiple overlapping
patents? Can there be any sort of mandatory licensing or alternative to
everyone taking years for multiple lawsuits? In the mean time someone builds
it in China or Japan and takes over the market while law abiding Canadians
(Americans, Brits) spend a decade suing each other and lose out completely
6.I can have a lawyer certify that I have clear title to my real property,
is there any way I can have a patent lawyer certify that that my product
(code, machine, etc) does not infringe on any patent, or that I must get
rights to patent XYZ? When he is wrong the patent lawyer and his insureance
is liable as they are in real property law. This might give lawyers an
incentive to come up with a system that actually works.... Dreaming right?
Lawyers only make messes, they never clean up. Are lawyers capable of doing
Disorganised as I said, feel free to use them if you wish. I won't pull a
Rambus on you.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Russell McOrmond" <russell at flora.ca>
To: "No DMCA in Canada" <canada-dmca-opponents at flora.org>
Cc: "Universal Access Canada" <cpi-ua at vancouvercommunity.net>; "CANadian
OPENsource Education and Research" <discuss at canopener.ca>
Sent: Saturday, July 27, 2002 10:49 AM
Subject: [Cdn-DMCA] JPEG Extinct? Send as input to Innovation Strategy!!
> On Fri, 26 Jul 2002, Tom Trottier wrote (in canada-dmca-opponents):
> > For Your Information - the problem with patented "Standards"
> > The ISO may withdraw the JPEG image format as a formal standard
> > because of a dispute over royalties. See
> > <http://theregister.co.uk/content/4/26339.html> for further
> > information.
> Please remember: The GoC is looking for input on their Innovation
> Notes at: http://www.flora.org/dmca/forum/940
> Patent and copyright policy are promoted as incentives towards
> innovation. This makes any commentary on these policies very relevant to
> any input to the Innovation Strategy!
> Even if you want to narrow your input to saying "Please read my
> submission to the copyright reform, and the following comments on patent
> policy", that is still worth submitting!!
> There is also a survey that can be filled out if you don't want to write
> it as a document, although it would be useful to the members of this forum
> if you copied us here. http://www.flora.org/dmca/forum/838
> My own submission (In extreme draft at
> http://www.flora.ca/russell/drafts/innovation.html ) will call upon the
> government to question the assumptions behind patents and copyright as
> they relate to incentives for innovation. They need to explore the
> considerable risks to real innovation that improper handling of these
> policies represent!
> Here is what I have so far on patents - feedback would be appreciated:
> The most critical problem with patent policy is that the fundamental
> tests are being ignored. We are also witnessing the addition of new
> patent types such as software and business model patents where the
> creation of the monopoly does not serve the public.
> There are patents registered with the US patent office which obviously
> should never have been accepted, with the most often referenced being
> patent number 5,443,036 , " Method of exercising a cat" (Google
> Search). As recently as March 26, 2002 we see patent number 6,360,693
> , "Animal toy" (Link to USPTO) , which appears to cover a wooden stick
> or tree branch used for an animal to play with.
> To suggest that the patent system has become a joke is to forget that
> this extremely flawed system receives the full force of national and
> international legal protection. Invalid patents are a considerable
> threat to any business, especially SME's who cannot afford the legal
> fees to fight invalid patents.
> One needs to look no further than the Amazon.com "1-click" patent
> (See: http://www.noamazon.com/) to see the pains that even a large
> corporation like Barnes & Noble must go through in order to protect
> itself against an invalid patent. This battle has included
> considerable public outcry, with people like myself and other
> organizations requesting all citizens boycott Amazon (See:
> http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/amazon.html )
> Another example is the controvercy around the JPEG patent claims made
> by Forgent Networks Inc. The JPEG working group has released a
> document on their website called "Concerning recent patent claims"
> which includes:
> As a response to this, the JPEG committee will be collecting,
> through its new web site (to be launched shortly) a substantial
> repository of prior art and it invites submissions, particularly
> where the content may be applied to claims of intellectual
> property. A note will be placed on the web site shortly explaining
> the process for such submissions.
> It has always been a strong goal of the JPEG committee that its
> standards should be implementable in their baseline form without
> payment of royalty and license fees, and the committee would like
> to record their disappointment that some organisations appear to be
> working in conflict with this goal. Considerable time has been
> spent in committee in attempting to either arrange licensing on
> these terms, or in avoiding existing intellectual property, and
> many hundreds of organisations and academic communities have
> supported us in our work.
> Because of the huge risk to my business that Patents represent, I am a
> subscriber to the bustpatents.com PATNEWS Email newsletter. I have
> never considered the possibility that patents (especially software or
> business models patents) could ever help my business, and have always
> searched for resources to keep me informed on the threats.
> There are a number of things that the Canadian Government can do as
> part of its Innovation Agenda to help reduce the considerable risk the
> patent system represents to the innovative SME.
> * A first requirement is to not accept a patent in Canada simply
> because it is filed with the US Patent and Trademark office. Until
> such time as the USA cleans up their own patent system, the
> Canadian system must separate itself from that system. This should
> also mean that Canada should not sign on to any multilateral
> patenting system (See: http://patentagenda.wipo.int/) unless this
> system has been adequately reformed to protect small-scale and
> distributed innovation from the patent system itself.
> * Riggourous testing of whether an application is "useful, novel,
> and unobvious" should not just apply to when patent is applied
> for, but continuous. More pratical meanings for these tests must
> be considered:
> + useful - with the alternative to a patent being the idea kept
> secret, useful needs to be evaluated in this context. Is
> there a benefit to the public (not simply the pocketbook of
> the patent filer) to having the patent published?
> + novel - this requires considerable research of both patent
> and non-patent prior art, with this aspect of the patent
> continuously being re-evaluated.
> + unobvious - this requires someone skilled in the art to test,
> not whether it is unobvious to an unskilled examiner.
> * Where there is uncertainty as to the patentability of an
> application, the default should be to reject the patent and defer
> the decision to the courts. The organizations that are applying
> for patents have more resources and potential rewards to fight for
> valid patents than the general public and/or SME's have to fight
> invalid patents that were approved. It should be obvious in that
> it should be those wishing the protections of patents to pay the
> costs of examination of complex or controvercial patents, not
> those trying to invalidate the patent, and definitely not
> * Filing of prior-art (statutory filing) should be free, and should
> cause the automatic re-evaluation (and potential invalidation) of
> existing and pending patents.
> * Filing of "State of the art" would be added. This would be a new
> test to see if the current state of the art is such that an idea
> which seemed novel and unobvious in the past was no longer the
> case. Any independant researcher who was able to come up with the
> same idea as a patent without knowledge of the patent could be
> used to invalidate current patents. Students in Universities could
> be given similar problems to test if they would come up with
> similar solutions.
> Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
> See http://weblog.flora.ca/ for announcements, activities, and opinions
> Getting Open Source and Linux INto GovernmentS | No2Violence in Politics
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