[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: The patent process [Was Re: Sharing the Family PC is Patent-Pending]

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: The patent process [Was Re: Sharing the Family PC is Patent-Pending]
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 23:19:13 +0200

On 12 May 2004 16:33:10 GMT
Alun <> wrote:

> I think that tends to happen here in Usenet. The only real answer is to 
> learn how to read claims.

Which is exactly why they're useless for what should be
the pay-off society gets for granting the monopoly: 
disclosure. I once had a long discussion with my uncle
(who is a contract lawyer) on how to (as a language-savvy,
well-read, college-educated MSc in Geology) learn to 
understand contracts (which are at first sight far more
readable than a patent). In his opinion, laypeople shouldn't
try to interpret contracts, or for that matter any legal
document, at least if they did so to ateempt to ensure 
freedom from legal wranglings. 
His arguments boiled down to (as far as I remember, all
errors and omissions are mine):
1. Suing someone is a fundamental right, and unless the
   opposing lawyer is grossly incompetent, it is unlikely
   that a suit will be dismissed out of hand.
1. Even a lawyer cannot ever categorically state that
   a particular clause is legal (ie conform to the current
   law). He can only give his considered opinion (which
   carries more weight than that of a layperson), but
   this would not stop the other party or the legal 
   authorities from suing. A trial is the only test that
2. Interpreting certain wordings or formulations requires
   access to a legal library. 
3. The act of consulting a lawyer carries weight. 
4. Interested parties cannot dispassionately examine a
   legal document. 

His summary was that whenever one did something that might
result in the other party suing, one should avail oneself
of the services of a competent lawyer (ie one with experience
in the field), one can never avoid being sued, and one can
never be sure one is going to prevail.

If this is correct, a software author should have every
program examined by a patent attorney, have a stash of
cash in order to be able to defend a lawsuit, and prepare
to spend time in court if ever one of her programs is seen
as a threat by one of the big boys, in which case it is
better to sell them the program before she's bankrupted.

"What is stated clearly conceives easily."  -- Inspired sales droid

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]