The problem with SW patents is the "not obvious to a skilled practitioner of the art". It takes (in SW) 10..12 years to become skilled - any basic combo of education and practice.
the USPTO cannot hire enough "skilled in the arts" folks, and they are overwhelmed by the caseload. They will never be able to hire enough.
So - what is obvious to us (we skilled in the arts) is not obvious to them. Nor do they have any grasp on prior art.
That is why I prefer the Horde Happy Birthday Song (sung as a dirge)
lyrics (well, one set of them):
One of the many problems with software patents is it takes about 10..12 years of working on a really good idea to work out all of the issues.
Examples: spreadsheets and word processors.
The other problem is a troll can shut down someone with good tech. I don't have the reference handy, but the example of the speech recognition tech where the real inventor won the first of 10 cases against a troll, but it cost a huge amount of money ($100 mill IIRC) and he realized he could win every battle and lose the war, so he quit.
@comfortable: You are very rifht! Most comments in this forum addressed utility patents. Design patents are specifically meant to keep copycats out and the patent holder has every right to enforce it.
Thank you comfortable for actually thinking before responding. I wonder how many people who responded have patents against their name? I have been absolutely livid seeing competitors copy my work and there was nothing I could do as my company did not apply for protection and yes, in one instance, that was a design patent where we came up with a unique and actually functional graphic display of an object.
Patents have value, the issue is perhaps the patent office and their staff who are not up to the job?
Patents are a racket.
'Sealed crustless sandwich'
'Method of swinging on a swing' - US6368227
Big companies love the racket it as it builds a barrier-to-entry for new smaller competitors. Big companies sometimes cross-license and effectively build a cartel.
@Navelpluis: Agree with your views on software only patents... there was an event here Silicon Valley last week (didn't get to attend!) where I heard they talked about increasing fees for NPE's/Trolls to make it expensive to sit on a bunch of patents and sue at the first opportunity.
Check out the site and the Conference Resource links:
Solutions to the Software Patent Problem
Brian, hindsight is always 20-20.
First, this is a design patent as you point out. NOT a utility patent. So how is this holding up innovation???? Why does this bother anyone? Are there not at least 1 Million ways to simulate on a screen that a page of a book has been turned?
There are numerous ways to differentiate one's product with a design patent. And that is exactly why it is done. Or should we all go protest in front of the Gucci store for their use of the letter G on their handbags. I mean, come on, how unique is that - diamonds and the letter G?? Let's all go fight for the rights of all cheap handbag manufacturers in the world so they can use the letter G on their handbags also!!!
Or would everyone rather that every visual aspect of a successful product be susceptible to copying? Then we can all trick the public into buying crap instead of what they thought they were buying.
Come on folks. Put your emotions behind something other than a computer image of a page turn.
Agree 100% with you on this Brian.
It takes competitors $$$ to fight patents even with obvious prior art. Often this creates a detente between the large companies due to countersuit possibilities. (clearly not with Apple and Samsung)
Thus it is the smaller companies that typically have common sense 'innovation' stifled.