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   Re: Software patent debate: we lose round one

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  • From: "Clark C. Evans" <cce@clarkevans.com>
  • To: Elliotte Rusty Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>
  • Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 16:20:29 -0400 (EDT)

On Mon, 29 May 2000, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> One very interesting point was brought up in this debate I had not seen before:
> Patent filers have an affirmative obligation to disclose all prior 
> art of which they are aware, and FAILING TO DO SO IS A CRIMINAL 

You forgot the qualifier,  "at the time of the filing", which 
makes the remainder of your post rather moot. *sigh*  


The intellectual property clause of the constitution purposely 
creates *limited* monopolies in order to stimulate "progress 
of science and useful arts".   There is a great paper discussing 
the historical background of the clause at:


First, given our "virgin" field, one has to even wonder
if patents are worth it at all; they don't seem to be 
stimulating progress, overall they are a hinderence on
progress.  Over the years they have taken the focus of
generating income for the inventor as a natural right, 
which is a far cry from its historical justification.

Second, if patents should apply to our field, it seems 
to me that the current copyright and patent terms are 
hardly "limited".   

Third, perhaps the term for patents should be set on a 
per-patent basis?  The application would have to justify 
the length needed.  This would require some notion of
investment and explanation why the particular patent being
requested would not normally have been funded without
expectation of some sort of protection.

Hmm.  Just rambling...


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