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Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch

From: phil hunt
Subject: Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch
Date: Sat, 15 May 2004 15:05:11 +0100
User-agent: slrn/ (Linux)

On Fri, 14 May 2004 15:27:59 -0400, Barry Margolin <> wrote:
>In article <c833ju$e4b$>,
> (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
>> Barry Margolin <> writes:
>> > Microsoft Loses Patent Suit
>> ...
>> >Now tell me: if there wasn't a patent system, what do you think would 
>> >have happened to Stac?
>> Does anybody really care?  Stac's patents were of dubious innovative
>> value to begin with.
>> The point that is repeatedly lost on those who defend the current patent
>> system is:  Nobody reads patents for the purpose of learning new things.

I would have thought it was obvious.

The patent bargain is to get a public good (that is, information 
about new inventions becoming publicly available, instead of being 
kept secret, and possibly forgotten about), in exchange for a public 
bad (giving someone a temporary monopoly on an invention).

Patents (and other laws!) only make sense if the good outweighs the 

If patents are hard for someone skilled in the art to read and 
understand (which computer-related ones most certainly are) this 
reduces the good of the patent system, and makes it more likely that 
the bad they do outweighs the good they do.

"It's easier to find people online who openly support the KKK than 
people who openly support the RIAA" -- comment on Wikipedia
(Email: zen19725 at zen dot co dot uk)  

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