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  1. #1
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    Can software be patented?

    If so, are the procedures the same as with any other patentable product?

    Frank

    "Just the facts, Ma'am"
    Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

  2. #2
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    I always thought Copyright was the way to go with software... although you do hear about an algorithm being patented...

    Copyright is a lot cheaper than a patent.

  3. #3
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    The work itself is protected by copyright, the process it does can be patented - to a point.

    Chet

  4. #4
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    Yes copyrights are cheaper and faster, but I think the protection of a patent covers more ground.

    Chet, up to what point?

    Frank

    "Just the facts, Ma'am"
    Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

  5. #5
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    There was the borland case, which they won against lotus. They were allowed to create a product just like Lotus 1-2-3, and even have the same look and feel.
    Here is the case:
    http://technoculture.mira.net.au/hypermail/0071.html

    Now alot has changed and ideas like priceline were patented not on the generic idea, but how the software operates - the actual code itself was not patented, that was just copyright protected, but the overall function of the software.

    And then there was amazon's one-click patent, which was on of the early ones in the whole business process patent idea. One click of course works based on software, but the software itself was not patented, but the business process was.

    The priceline one ended up being different than the amazon one as i believe they detailed the backend process in their patent whereas amazon detailed the user experience.

    If you are serious, time to get a patent attorney who specializes in software or business process patents.

    I personally find most of it distasteful.

    chet

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador DesignerWiz's Avatar
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    Chez Noir provided very good points.

    Ray Thomas
    DesignerWiz.com CEO
    Development Resource & Javascript Public Archive Center
    http://DesignerWiz.com
    ABW Board: Category: Programming / Coding

  7. #7
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    Thanks Chet. Just what I needed.

    Looks like what I have in mind could use both copyright and patent. Probably not worth the effort and expense involved with the patent process. Seems like the smarty folks can just get a whiff of what it is you are doing and write their own ap.

    So, it looks like a copyright and an extremely powerful algo would get the ball rolling.

    Thanks to all for your insights.

    Frank

    "Just the facts, Ma'am"
    Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

  8. #8
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    Upon re-reading this thread it occurs to me that I have been a bit vague.

    Here is what it is about.

    Working away on the keyboard grouching to myself about the tedious nature of this particular task. Says to myself 'man I wish I could just click a button and end this forever. No more frustrations, get on with business'.

    Two days later doing the same task. I think then that it should be doable. I look around the web. No indication that there is anything like the solution I have in mind.

    (no smiley for a light bulb)

    Why can't I do it? Only reason(s):

    It needs to be a client side ap. My 30 year old cobol won't get it done.

    It needs to be cross platform. Whatever that means.

    It needs to be done soon. Before someone who knows how beats me to it.

    The potential is huge. As in lucrative (mucho lucre).

    What to do now? Find a competent programer who is trustworthy, willing to take the lions share of income in return for the idea.

    Who will do the marketing? License the ap to one of the biggies with a huge reach and advertising budget? IBM, Microsoft, Novell, _____ (fill in the blank). Would need a worldwide blitz to get the starters position. Before the smartys write the copy-cat version.

    These things are beyond me. Any suggestions?

    Frank

    "Just the facts, Ma'am"
    Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

  9. #9
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by frank3iii:
    Upon re-reading this thread it occurs to me that I have been a bit vague.

    Here is what it is about.

    Working away on the keyboard grouching to myself about the tedious nature of this particular task. Says to myself 'man I wish I could just click a button and end this forever. No more frustrations, get on with business'.

    Two days later doing the same task. I think then that it should be doable. I look around the web. No indication that there is anything like the solution I have in mind.

    (no smiley for a light bulb)

    Why can't I do it? Only reason(s):

    It needs to be a client side ap. My 30 year old cobol won't get it done.

    It needs to be cross platform. Whatever that means.

    It needs to be done soon. Before someone who knows how beats me to it.

    The potential is huge. As in lucrative (mucho lucre).

    What to do now? Find a competent programer who is trustworthy, willing to take the lions share of income in return for the idea.

    Who will do the marketing? License the ap to one of the biggies with a huge reach and advertising budget? IBM, Microsoft, Novell, _____ (fill in the blank). Would need a worldwide blitz to get the starters position. Before the smartys write the copy-cat version.

    These things are beyond me. Any suggestions?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I've written a lot of custom software, and this issue is real and omnipresent. One way to minimize risk is to issue an NDA prior to discussing details, but be prepared for the possibility that an experienced developer may have something similar in the works. A good one will tell you as soon as it's evident from the conversation, and will show you at least enough of what they have to first substantiate their claim and then work with you on how best to proceed. In some cases it may be best to partner up to see it come to fruition, esp. since the developer obviously understands the challenges inherent in that software.

    Patents can be useful, but I've seen few instances where that's the case. The biggest problem is that most IP attorneys do not have sufficient means to adequately research prior art, and we all know from the Compton's patent and others that the USPTO is evidently unable to do any adequate research of prior art. This means that after paying thousands to get your patent, you stand a high likelihood of having it successfully challenged; a lot of software has been written over the last 20 years.

    The situation is further complicated by the bad habit many IP attorneys have of defining the software in unnecessarily broad terms. They do this in an attempt to provide the broadest protection for their client, but more often than not all they actually achieve is a patent that's too easily challenged. The quality of attorney who can do a great job is very expensive, possibly doubling your total R&D costs.

    Of course, I'm not an attorney, and California state law requires me to remind you that if you need an attorney you should consult a qualified professional in your area. These are only my opinions, based on 15 years of professional software development.

    --
    Richard Gaskin
    Fourth World Media Corporation
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any database on any site
    ___________________________________________________________
    Ambassador@FourthWorld.com http://www.FourthWorld.com
    Tel: 323-225-3717 AIM: FourthWorldInc

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