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Old 09-17-2008, 03:47 PM   #16
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Returning to the topic…

Who Owns Ideas?

Well the Academic world is giving an example with “Open Access” (info in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_access) and Institutional Repositories:
“Open access (OA) is free, immediate, permanent, full-text, online access, for any user, web-wide, to digital scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.”

Maybe this road can show some refreshed views to authors and Publishers… or I’m I just dreaming awake?...

Last edited by DDHarriman; 09-17-2008 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:59 PM   #17
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>Who Owns Ideas?

No one. Ideas are not copyrightable.
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Old 09-17-2008, 08:59 PM   #18
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>Who Owns Ideas?

No one. Ideas are not copyrightable.
But they may be patentable once reduced to plans, drawings, or a formula.
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:32 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by RickyMaveety View Post
But they may be patentable once reduced to plans, drawings, or a formula.
...which, in the digital age, has led to people trying to patent a single-mouseclick buying operation, using pgup/pgdn to get to certain parts of pages, and really all manner of ludicrous ideas, completely swamping the USPTO and creating things like patent trolls. Lawrence Lessig has an interesting article about it.

Quote:
No doubt we are better off with a patent system than without one. Lots of research and invention wouldn't occur without the government's protection. But just because some protection is good, more isn't necessarily better. Especially in cyberspace. There is growing skepticism among academics about whether such state-imposed monopolies help a rapidly evolving market such as the Internet. What is "novel," "nonobvious" or "useful" is hard enough to know in a relatively stable field. In a transforming market, it's nearly impossible for anyone - let alone an underpaid worker in the U.S. Department of Commerce who spends on average of eight hours evaluating the prior art in a patent and gets paid based on how many he processes - to identify what's "novel." Costly mistakes get made. On average it takes $1.2 million to challenge the validity of a patent, which means it is often cheaper simply to pay the royalties than to establish that the patent isn't deserved.

"Bad patents" thus become the space debris of cyberspace. Nowhere is this clearer than in the context of business-method patents

Last edited by acidzebra; 09-18-2008 at 03:02 AM. Reason: quote
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Old 09-18-2008, 04:00 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by RickyMaveety View Post
But they may be patentable once reduced to plans, drawings, or a formula.
An idea isn't patentable. A specific implementation of an idea might be, but not the idea itself.
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Old 09-18-2008, 04:05 PM   #21
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I've worked for 2 engineering firms that wanted me to sign papers saying that any idea I had while working for them - related to company business or not - belonged to them. This was specifically used at one company to stop a (very high tech computer product) manufacturing engineer from marketing and selling a new type of skateboard in his off hours. The company threatened to sue.
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Old 09-18-2008, 04:32 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post
An idea isn't patentable. A specific implementation of an idea might be, but not the idea itself.
Its not as easy as that. actually sometimes even a material is patentable not the implementation of a process to generate it. A "talented" patent writer will take care to write a patent that way, that the material itself is protected, not the process he invented to generate it so. So even if someone else finds another technique, he still remains the right. Is it smart to grant "result patents" instead of just "process patents" IMHO no, but it is possible currently.
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Old 09-18-2008, 04:47 PM   #23
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On the subject I have following 2 opinions.

First the length of a patent should be variable depending on the field of the patent. The idea behind this is: researching something can be incredible expensive (chemestry) or not (computer science). Computer Science like the famous one click patents, or the scrollbar patent... these costed nada in research and thus also the grant should be as small. If you had to pay millions to get something done, you should roughly be able to get that as monopoly revenue + some business usual revenue gain + maybe a risk compensation. But there it stops. I know this is difficult to implement, as sometimes a patent is difficult to assign a specific field. But IMHO the patent office should be able to dymically set a time frame, depending on the estimated costs of the patent.

Definetly the "one size fits all" regulation we have now, is IMHO not constitutional legal (at least in europe). Since one of the highest constitutional rules we have "law may not treat equal things unequally. But also not treat unequal things equally". The first one is well known as "anti-sexism" principle, but the second is less known... and IMHO patents do treat unequal things equal, just for comfort, because its may be difficult to make them more just. I know many lawyers would conter me on this interpretation, its also expected since if you would share it, it would make patent law illegal, from the moment on, its not something many would want to achive (and yes constitional lawyer do make politics! Altough they often say they don't they do.)

My second opinion on patents/copyrights is: Alough a single person never has any idea, I'm not strictly against them. In my opinion a human mind is to some degree like any other "machine" also. What you don't put into, doesn't get out. For every invention, for every story, for every intelectual capital you can expost make a research and discover the series of inputs that this person was given, so the "output" he gave was no surprise. Also there is sometimes considerable knowledge existent within groups, transported just by talk, sharing ideas/emotions and so on... However it takes often considerable work to translate this implicit knowledge in explicit knowledge. That is to write a story is muuuuch more work than to tell it your kid as goodnight story. The same about ideas in patents. Many groups had some sort of implicit knowledge/techniques sometimes given on from master to apprentice for generation. It takes however additional work to sit down, and to write a document, so that everybody else can also now do this technique, without having to visit the master and learn in person. That is the sort of work that needs to be compensated by copyright and patent laws. And in the case someone did not research something himself, but for example just wrote down and made publically available what was "secret" knowledge in a closed group before, he needs to compensated for the work to aquire that knowledge and to write it down. Not for the work that "secretive group" needed to develop it first place. You may ask, when now more than one of a group would have been willing to write such a document, to make their group internal knowledge public, why just give the money to the one who brings the document? Well I think it is unfair to some regard, but its something we IMHO can live with, its a race, and thus encourages to be quick about it. Which is for the society as whole good I think.

Last edited by axel77; 09-18-2008 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 09-18-2008, 05:24 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axel77 View Post
Its not as easy as that. actually sometimes even a material is patentable not the implementation of a process to generate it. A "talented" patent writer will take care to write a patent that way, that the material itself is protected, not the process he invented to generate it so. So even if someone else finds another technique, he still remains the right. Is it smart to grant "result patents" instead of just "process patents" IMHO no, but it is possible currently.
A new material can be patentable as a "composition of matter". That's not the same thing as patenting ideas in general though.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:04 PM   #25
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An idea isn't patentable. A specific implementation of an idea might be, but not the idea itself.
An idea without implementation isn't much of anything.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:09 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axel77 View Post
In my opinion a human mind is to some degree like any other "machine" also. What you don't put into, doesn't get out. For every invention, for every story, for every intelectual capital you can expost make a research and discover the series of inputs that this person was given, so the "output" he gave was no surprise.
Balderdash, man! The human brain is capable of leaps of insight and intuition that extend beyond the raw data fed into them. That's what makes us more than meat calculators. If Man wasn't capable of divining something beyond the facts around him, we'd still be cowering in cold, dark caves... check that. We wouldn't have survived at all.

Every individual is capable of original ideas. At this point, the only thing that limits "originality" is the purely statistical liklihood that one of the other almost-seven billion people on the planet may have thought of it first.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:25 PM   #27
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Balderdash, man! The human brain is capable of leaps of insight and intuition that extend beyond the raw data fed into them. That's what makes us more than meat calculators. If Man wasn't capable of divining something beyond the facts around him, we'd still be cowering in cold, dark caves... check that. We wouldn't have survived at all.

Every individual is capable of original ideas. At this point, the only thing that limits "originality" is the purely statistical liklihood that one of the other almost-seven billion people on the planet may have thought of it first.
Steve, you're both right. The human brain does make leaps but it has to have something to leap from. Two people may have exactly the same inputs today with only one making such a leap but that one has had other inputs all his life which play in the leap.

As a writer you might look at a general situation in society and create a book. As an engineer, I may develop a method to solve a societal problem that I saw in the same situation. Two different leaps based apparently on exactly the same input but that input is colored and flavored by all our previous individual inputs & training.
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:31 PM   #28
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Thanks Tommy. Very interesting listen.

I'm convinced that Disney is behind declassifying Pluto as a planet. It's in violation of their copyright because they named a character after it.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:05 AM   #29
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An idea without implementation isn't much of anything.
Sure, but what's important is that different people can have different ways of achieving the same idea, but nobody "owns" an idea.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:16 AM   #30
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Balderdash, man! The human brain is capable of leaps of insight and intuition that extend beyond the raw data fed into them. That's what makes us more than meat calculators.
Well, no. Add randomness to the machine and you have a very good metaphor for how the human brain works.
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