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Old 04-04-2012, 05:09 AM   #106
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Love these manipulative articles that find an extremely sympathetic demographic (little girls that can't speak are great) and pull on people's heart strings even if their point doesn't matter.
Somewhat depressing how much more angst is generated for the one little girl than for the hundreds of millions who can't afford to buy drugs which could save or improve their lives, also due to patents.
"No Americans were involved."
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:09 AM   #107
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Somewhat depressing how much more angst is generated for the one little girl than for the hundreds of millions who can't afford to buy drugs which could save or improve their lives, also due to patents.
"No Americans were involved."
You could turn it around and say that none of these devices, drugs, etc, would exist if it were not for patent protection. No company would be willing to invest money in research unless the law gave them the legal protection to have exclusive rights to exploit or license the fruits of that research.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:48 AM   #108
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You could turn it around and say that none of these devices, drugs, etc, would exist if it were not for patent protection. No company would be willing to invest money in research unless the law gave them the legal protection to have exclusive rights to exploit or license the fruits of that research.
I wasn't joining the OMG Patents are Evil brigade.
Just pointing out that there are far worse negative impacts that the one highlighted in this thread.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:51 AM   #109
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I wasn't joining the OMG Patents are Evil brigade.
Just pointing out that there are far worse negative impacts that the one highlighted in this thread.
Certainly I agree with you there.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:59 AM   #110
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you are one of those who thinks Microsoft invented spreadsheets, aren't you?
No, I think Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston (VisiCalc) invented the first useful computer spreadsheet in 1979 (or at least, they are credited with it). Of course at that time, software could not be patented. And that's a shame really. While they made a double-fistfull of money, Lotus 123 stole the concept outright and put VisiCalc out of business.

Bricklin now runs a vanity site on the intertubes.
http://www.bricklin.com/

The less successful predecessors can be traced back to mainframes in 1961.

Last edited by Rob Lister; 04-04-2012 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:17 AM   #111
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You could turn it around and say that none of these devices, drugs, etc, would exist if it were not for patent protection. No company would be willing to invest money in research unless the law gave them the legal protection to have exclusive rights to exploit or license the fruits of that research.
Not to mention future liability; Drug class-action lawsuits are all the rage. Every TV commercial break seems to advertise at least one.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:40 AM   #112
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Not to mention future liability; Drug class-action lawsuits are all the rage. Every TV commercial break seems to advertise at least one.
That is a very good point indeed.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:07 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Rob Lister View Post
No, I think Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston (VisiCalc) invented the first useful computer spreadsheet in 1979 (or at least, they are credited with it). Of course at that time, software could not be patented. And that's a shame really. While they made a double-fistfull of money, Lotus 123 stole the concept outright and put VisiCalc out of business.

Bricklin now runs a vanity site on the intertubes.
http://www.bricklin.com/

The less successful predecessors can be traced back to mainframes in 1961.
Spreadsheets existed on paper well before they existed on computers. Implementing a previously existing pen and paper thing in software, while copyright-able, should not ever have been patent-able. Even the judge who's ruling paved the way for software patents regrets it's "unintended consequences"(*). Lotus won because they had a better product with more functions. Lotus did buy visicalc in 1985 and then retired it.

(*) http://www.researchoninnovation.org/WordPress/?p=103
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:43 AM   #114
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Spreadsheets existed on paper well before they existed on computers. [/url]
We can, of course, trace them back to those Sumerian cuneiform tablets which were mostly similar lists by merchants.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:25 PM   #115
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Hellmark, patents have to be "enabling." If a patent is sufficiently vague that it does NOT enable someone "skilled in the art" to create such a device then it is easily challenged. It doesn't have to enable someone in the general public but it would have to enable a specialist in that technical field.

There is a different cost to challenging patents depending on whether you want some input to the re-examination ("inter parte" versus "ex parte"). Including legal fees it commonly runs $10-50K to re-examine a US patent (assuming the USPTO agrees to do it) and can run higher if you have several inter parte rounds that require significant patent attorney time. That is one order of magnitude less expensive than a similar lawsuit in a US court.
Yeah they can be challenged, but that is expensive, and time consuming. Most of the time, the ones with the ability to challenge, don't have the resources of the ones with the vague patents. I've known people go up against companies with vague patents, and while they were in the right, they went bankrupt before anything was ruled in their favor, due to things being drug out.
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