Another Absurd Software Patent

by on February 15, 2006 · 2 comments

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is challenging Clear Channel’s patent on a system that records an event and produces copies of the recording for distribution at its conclusion. This is, quite simply, an obvious concept. Recording a show is certainly not a new concept, and the idea of doing so quickly, while certainly a valuable enhancement, doesn’t strike me as an “invention” worthy of legal protection. This illustrates an important reason that software patents are almost always obvious: this patent is just a grab bag of distinct features thrown together with some software glue. Recording, real-time editing, and burning, individually, are not difficult or original concepts. Moreover, there are general principles of good software design that make combining these three features into one system straightforward for anyone “skilled in the art” of computer programming.

  • http://www.blindmindseye.com MikeT

    There is almost nothing truly new under the sun in Computer Science. That’s what lawyers like James DeLong, who have no background in it, cannot understand. Even cool gee wizz gadgets like processors with embedded software instructions are not particularly revolutionary.

    Windows Media for example is just a variant of MPEG4, an evolutionary jump in compression technology for video. One of the best ways to lighten the load of the software development industry would be to end software patents. The algorithms are already protected by copyrights, so why do they need patent protection as well?

    Article I, Section 8 grants Congress the authority to enact laws which are tailor-made to each industry’s IP needs. Pharmaceuticals need patents, software developers don’t. The cost of production and innovation in the former is provably several orders of magnitude higher for any given company than it is in the latter. This is one example where principle must give way to reality.

  • http://www.blindmindseye.com MikeT

    There is almost nothing truly new under the sun in Computer Science. That’s what lawyers like James DeLong, who have no background in it, cannot understand. Even cool gee wizz gadgets like processors with embedded software instructions are not particularly revolutionary.

    Windows Media for example is just a variant of MPEG4, an evolutionary jump in compression technology for video. One of the best ways to lighten the load of the software development industry would be to end software patents. The algorithms are already protected by copyrights, so why do they need patent protection as well?

    Article I, Section 8 grants Congress the authority to enact laws which are tailor-made to each industry’s IP needs. Pharmaceuticals need patents, software developers don’t. The cost of production and innovation in the former is provably several orders of magnitude higher for any given company than it is in the latter. This is one example where principle must give way to reality.

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