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Old 06-17-2010, 02:34 AM   #1
dadioflex
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Amazon patents social networking

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Last edited by dadioflex; 12-15-2010 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:15 AM   #2
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Isn't this like a good argument against software patents? Taking something that's been around for awhile lots of prior art and then getting a patent to extort other companies into doing your bidding and keeping new ones from coming in and competing.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:31 AM   #3
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Isn't this like a good argument against software patents?
It might be a good argument, but since the US Patent office has issued patents on the cellular structure of living organisms since 1980 I do not think we can rely on "common sense" to reign them in.

I could rant on patenting business plans too.
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:08 AM   #4
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Slow day at the Amazon legal department I see. This has nothing to do with technology. I seem to recall the last idiotic patent they tried to pull off was the one-click checkout.
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:11 AM   #5
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As a student I thought of patenting the letter "E". Wish I'd done it now!
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:21 AM   #6
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1- If the Patent was just *granted* then it was submitted a long time ago, maybe even before Facebook came out.

2- Patents are for specific ideas and methods of doing things, not general, vague ideas. There might actually be no conflict. After all, Amazon does have a lot of social networking features in their website (and Kindle) but they are all intended for sales and support, not for comunication. While some companies and celebrities are using Facebook for marketting, most people use it as a communications tool.

3- The people most opposed to patents/copyrights are the ones that never created anything of value in their lives.
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:28 AM   #7
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3- The people most opposed to patents/copyrights are the ones that never created anything of value in their lives.
That is just a snide ad hominem attacl. Do you have anything to back it up? Many of those voicing a critique of intellectual property rather famous for their creative endeavors (Lessig, Doctorow, Stallman, etc.). They just don't think that granting monopolies willy-nilly is a good thing because it stifles innovation and competition and leads to unjust or morally indefensible social outcomes (i.e. aids drugs sitting in warehouses while those who need them die horribly).

Luqman
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:38 AM   #8
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That is just a snide ad hominem attacl.

Luqman
Yes.
That's why the winkie.

Folks take the whole thing way too seriously; what one monster corporation does to another makes little difference at the end of the day.
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:03 AM   #9
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Yes.
That's why the winkie.

Folks take the whole thing way too seriously; what one monster corporation does to another makes little difference at the end of the day.
BP's new motto!
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:51 AM   #10
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Well, Microsoft has patents for double-click: http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ng-patent.html
Patents have been a joke before I was born...
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:55 AM   #11
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1- If the Patent was just *granted* then it was submitted a long time ago, maybe even before Facebook came out.
If that's the case, those patents are even a bigger joke...
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:14 AM   #12
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A lot of people are forgetting the original purpose of patents.

The original idea was to spread knowledge and ensure it wasn't lost. Prior to patents, a lot of devices, processes, and so on, were trade secrets, especially in the days of the guilds. That's why people are still trying to re-invent things like the way Antonio Stradivari treated the wood for his violins, for example. The patent was a trade-off: You tell everyone how you did it, and in exchange, you get a short-term monopoly on doing it that way. If Stradivari had been able to patent what made a Stradivarius violin so special, violin makers might still be making them today. And with the information in the patent being public, other inventors could further develop it.

Somewhere along the line, this got warped into the idea that the first person (or, far more often, corporation) to get to the patent office has a moral right to a monopoly on the use of their idea -- no matter what it is. Patents were turned from a tool for the dissemination and preservation of technological knowledge into a weapon of corporate warfare. Patents are granted on things that do not "promote the progress of science and the useful arts" in any way, which are not only obvious to a person with ordinary knowledge of their field (which is supposed to be the standard) but to the average layman with little knowledge of that field (but more, apparently, than most patent examiners), and are used primarily as a way for corporations to destroy smaller (and quite possibly more inventive) rivals.

Take Amazon and the one-click patent: Was that a non-obvious idea? No. Was it something that would be lost if not preserved and made available to all future inventors? Hell no. It's a "process", yes, but only in the simplest terms, not in the sense of the process of treating the wood for the world's best musical instruments. It's a concept. It's something that anyone who knows it exists can duplicate. So it would not be lost to the ages without a patent. Nor is it something that Amazon would not have created without a monopoly on its use; there is no more incentive required to encourage the creation of a "buy this thing" button in online stores than there is to encourage the placement of cash registers in brick-and-mortar stores.

The purpose of patents is not to benefit the patent-holder. It's to benefit everyone else, and the benefit to the patent-holder is the compensation for the loss of secrecy that benefits society as a whole. It is not, or at least was not intended, to be a weapon for those patent-holders to cause widespread harm and disrupt, rather than promote, progress.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:22 AM   #13
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Slow day at the Amazon legal department I see. This has nothing to do with technology. I seem to recall the last idiotic patent they tried to pull off was the one-click checkout.
They did pull it off.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:02 PM   #14
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The purpose of patents is not to benefit the patent-holder. It's to benefit everyone else, and the benefit to the patent-holder is the compensation for the loss of secrecy that benefits society as a whole. It is not, or at least was not intended, to be a weapon for those patent-holders to cause widespread harm and disrupt, rather than promote, progress.
A lot like copyright.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:37 PM   #15
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A lot like copyright.
Exactly like copyright.

Neither one was created to protect some writer's or inventor's existing moral rights to a monopoly on their stuff. They legislatively created such a privilege (not a right) to reward the creators for sharing their stuff. That's what nobody gets.
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