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Re: libdts patent issue?

galactus@stack.nl wrote:
> To me the distinction is clear: you have to add something to the
> algorithm before you arrive at patentable matter. You apparently
> consider the addition (a computing device with a memory) to be
> irrelevant, and hence you don't see a distinction.

The addition should be irrelevant because there's no inventiveness involved in 
the addition.  :-P  This is why I noted that  the US standard, theoretically, 
allows a new piece of *artwork* plus a generic computer to be patented. The 
inventiveness is entirely in the artwork, but by adding the computer, you 
could arrive at "patentable matter" (a "device which displays a person 
holding some dogs, for the entertainment of the user", for instance).

This is obviously bad law.

>The European standard is that the claim must cover a piece of
>technology: a device or method that exhibits a "technical effect".
>And no, I don't have a definition for "technical".
The dispute is quite specific here: it is over whether
(a) the innovation must be in the technical area.  If it doesn't have to be, 
you get results exactly like the US results: patentable artwork.
(b) the technical area must be a patentable area.  If it doesn't have to be, 
you get results exactly like the US results: patentable artwork.

> If the end result is something
>"technical", then it's patentable.
This is no good if there's no innovation in the "technical" area.  I "invent" 
a machine to display a woman holding dogs in a certain manner.  It's 
"inventive" because the woman is holding dogs in an unusual and inventive 
manner.  It's "technical" because it's a machine to display the image.  Well, 
actually it's just a computer plus a unique piece of art, and I've used 
twisted language to get a patent on something unpatentable.  Now nobody can 
display my artwork -- or indeed any similar artwork -- on a computer without 
getting a patent license.

This is, sadly, precisely analogous to the patents being issued on mathematics 
today.  "A method of solving linear equations"?  Come on.  The inventiveness 
is in the mathematics, not in the relation to the physical world.

> > There's a reason the FFII preferred standard is that the inventive part of 
> > patent must be on some method of manipulating the physical world.  That's 
> That's what European patent law also pretends to be. FFII is pushing
> a very restrictive definition of what "manipulating the physical
> world" means, but otherwise they're completely in line with how
> patent law works.
I'm not sure whether you caught the key point here.  The key point here is 
that the *inventive* part must be attached to the manipulation of the 
physical world.  Innovative "software patents" generally feature an 
*uninventive* part which manipulates the physical world -- a generic 
bit-twiddling machine -- combined with inventive mathematics.

> The problem is exactly the same: European patent law does not
> exclude patents on mathematical methods, but only on mathematical
> methods _as such_. Apparently this is not the same thing for the
> people who wrote that law.
This is such an overuse of "as such" so as to render the entire list of 
exclusions from patentability meaningless, and as such (ahem) is invalid 
under traditional rules of statute construction.  By the same argument, only 
artwork *as such* is unpatentable, and my art patent should work.  I could go 
on and write a similar, equally valid patent relating to putting the artwork 
on walls.  Do you see the problems with this line of argument?

The "as such" phrase is presumably intended to allow patents on material which 
happens to use a mathematical method/artwork/etc., not on material for which 
the entirety of the inventive portion is the mathematical method/artwork/etc.

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