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

On 15 Jul 2003 at 8:33, John Zulauf wrote:

Date sent:      	Tue, 15 Jul 2003 08:33:03 -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

> microlenz@earthlink.net wrote:
> > > 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? 
> We want to encourage disclosure.  There is plenty of research, but a
> large chunk of those results aren't published.  What is a
> state-of-the-art "place and route" algorithm? Something buried in the
> guts of Cadence Avanti, et. al. and never disclosed as this is part of
> their competitive differentiation.

The issue isn't disclosure the issue is reverse engineering. With UCITA, UTSA, 
shrinkwrap licenses all of that activity that threatens to curtail RE for 
individuals and corporations. I really don't care about the algorithms that can 
be used by only a few corporations but those building blocks that must be used 
by all. As for disclosing "state of the art" algorithms? When they leave patent 
protection, they won't be state of the art anymore. 

The point is that UCITA, UTSA, DMCA, CTEA, etcTrade Secrets, encrypted DVDs, 
encrypted databases, etc are all an attempt to prevent others from accessing it 
and then claiming legal protection when someone does access it or RE it. 

I'd also bet money that Cadence etc didn't do the foundation work for their 
algorithm. They used foundations that were out in the open and built upon them. 
OThers can as well if there is the incentive to do so. As with Felton etc, the 
danger here is not that things that are out in the open are then given extra 
legal protection after the fact when the consequences are not what they 

> > I don't see that the state of algorithm
> > development is in that bad a shape.  
> If this is true, then you have little to worry about.  If the really
> cool stuff is already being disclosed, then it can't be patented.  

Algorithms cannot be patented and the few patents that do (Karmarker, Bracewell 
should be throw out)

> only possible change is that MORE algorithms will be disclosed, and
> those that are novel and original will be patented. 

NOvel and original are NOT the sole criteria for patenting something. You are 
writing of VERY specialized algorithms. The problem with algorithms are that 
they are very general things that are the building blocks. 

>definition the
> "novel and original" is stuff we never heard of, and wouldn't be
> available anyway this is a net-zero-loss in the near term (worst case)
> and a net-gain after 20 years.
> > There are thousands of papers published
> > yearly. 
> There are millions of lines of unpublished (and from the copyright
> holders view) unpublishable source code.  I'll trade off the publication
> of source for the patent of algorithms any day.

ANd accept the stranglehold on thousands of programs? That's the part of the 
trade off you are ignoring. Algorithms are building blocks. Patent a good one 
because the patent examiner didn't know anything about anything and now there's 
a monopolistic stranglehold on everyone. 

But explain....why is the nonstupid ordering of computation patentable?

> (1) because the closed source approach is:
> (1.1) inherently anti-competitive (compatibility is very difficult at
> best)
> (1.2) dangerous to "open source" c.f. SCO ("I can sue you for infringing
> something I never had to disclose to you I had..." ) 


> V.C. looking
> at an open source business case is going to want an answer to that
> problem
> (2) The disclosure of source would establish a huge body of "prior art"
> limiting the potential for algorithmic patents

An algorithm is an abstraction and such NOT PATENTABLE!

> (3) unpublished source does more harm to "promoting progress" with it's
> copyright based "infinite inaccessibility" (c.f. WOM (write-only memory)
> spoof April 1st EE Times many years
> ago) than does the 20 years of "unavailable without license" of patents.

The way to fix this is to give it NO protection. NO unpublished copyright NADA. 
Unpublished source code is a trade secret (obviously) It gets ONLY trade secret 

> > 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?
> Yep, but in trade for being able to see them all.  The only potential
> bad news is that some "really cool algorithm" we never heard of won't be
> freely available for 20 years.  

And if you get pissed off enough at getting your ass whipped as a programmer 
then they should get off it and start working on it. This appeals to cowboy 
programmers more than the priests of the Lambda calculus

>This is however better than this
> self-same "really cool algorithm" never seeing the light of day (or not
> for 95 years).  

ALgorithms are NOT source code and get neither patent copyright or trademark 

>The building blocks we know (anything disclosed more
> than 1 year past), won't be patentable, only the stuff that we didn't
> know before. This is the fundamental bargain of the patent.  At the (now
> meager seeming) 20 years this is a good value (certainly compared to
> copyright) for society in non-software inventions. 
> > 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 them!
> There's no such thing as an invention in exactly the same sense.  Read
> patents sometime.  They are "device A which implements device B with
> additional claims C, D, E, and F".  However, the point is that with the
> large body of prior art that would flow from the mandatory publication
> of source, there will remain very little that is truly novel.

Exactly Algorithms are abstractions and there is NO repeat NO analogy with 

> > There is no evidence it is needed now and there are reasons abound
> > for why it should NEVER be allowed
> "The defense would like to enter these millions of lines of closed
> source programming into evidence... unfortunately we can't" ;->

"so you honor...the psychic friends network went bankrupt how could I know what 
was in that code...?"

> .002