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Re: [dvd-discuss] Gedanken Experiment -Unix and Norton

On 14 Jul 2003 at 17:44, John Zulauf wrote:

Date sent:      	Mon, 14 Jul 2003 17:44:50 -0600
From:           	"John Zulauf" <johnzu@ia.nsc.com>
To:             	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
Subject:        	Re: [dvd-discuss] Gedanken Experiment -Unix and Norton
Send reply to:  	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu

> Dean Sanchez wrote:
> > As for your observation about a laser, I would agree that you could 
> > patent a specific device for generating of a coherent beam. 
> This of course is correct.
> > However, you should not be able to patent the idea of generating 
> > a coherent beam or patent a naturally occurring process. 
> or any "general idea" like "a device of sending voice by electric
> signals." Certainly several were working on that idea when Bell did --
> one filing mere hours after Bell.  Certainly any patentable invention
> needs have the specificity to implement.  In fact the theory of
> semiconductors was understood long before both the vacuum tube and the
> ability to create pure enough substrates to manufacture them.
> Thus the idea "an order 1 sort scheme" shouldn't be patentable, but any
> actually implementable, (and of course original/novel) algorithm should
> be IMHO.

Why? Why do they need protection? WHy should we want to give them protection? 
Is there a strategic reason to do so? Is there something driving the market? Do 
we want to encourage research? I don't see that the state of algorithm 
development is in that bad a shape. There are thousands of papers published 
yearly. LOTS of programmers get to use that grist to crank out their programs. 
The biggest fight seems to be to prevent people from getting a strangle hold on 
the field (e.g, LZW patents and GIF formats) but I also see no reason that 
having not had protection before, they should get it now Algorithms are the 
building blocks of programs. You want protection for the building blocks? 

The other problem that I have pointed out before is that there is no such thing 
as an ALGORITHM? What's that he type?  There is no such thing as an ALGORITHM. 
There are only classes of algorithms and the variations on them. Do you REALLY 
want to open up the notion of patenting of algorithms to the intellectual 
property community? Just imagine the interlocking lawsuits as the algorithm you 
didn't know was patented was the nth improvement! Now you've infringed all of 

Come on we all love to read the stories about the inventor that struck it rich 
but this isn't the case here. This is just protectionism where is has never 
been before, there is no evidence it is needed now and there are reasons abound 
for why it should NEVER be allowed

> .002