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[News] Patents Are for Lawyers, IBM Patents Garbage

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The Cultural Gulf Between Lawyers And Technologists On Patent Law

,----[ Quote ]
| On Wednesday I attended the Brookings Institution's conference on "The Limits 
| of Abstract Patents in an Intangible Economy." The conference was organized 
| by software patent skeptics, so that perspective has been well represented. 
| But I was struck by the dramatic differences between the views of lawyers on 
| the one hand (who made up the majority of the panelists and audience members) 
| and the handful of technologists on the other.     


IBM Patents Removing Leading/Trailing Blanks

,----[ Quote ]
| theodp writes "With its example of how ' John Doe ' could be saved in a 
| database as 'John Doe' (i.e., without leading or trailing blanks), purported 
| patent reformer IBM dazzled the USPTO enough to earn Big Blue a patent last 
| Tuesday for Automatically removing leading and trailing space characters from 
| data being entered into a database system . The three IBM 'inventors' are 
| also seeking a related patent for Retrieving data from a database system 
| without leading and trailing space characters. Hey, if the patent system 
| ain't broke, don't fix it!"       



EFF lawyer warns of e-learning patent dangers

,----[ Quote ]
| Although Blackboard has publicly pledged not to enforce its patent
| against open-source software distributors, universities, or
| non-commercial entities, there are many gray areas that make it
| difficult to guess what is permissible and what is not. For
| instance, Schultz points out that the pledge allows Blackboard
| to sue proprietary software vendors that incorporate open-source
| software components into their offerings.
| Comparing Blackboard to "a schoolyard bully who holds a huge club
| over your head and promises not to hit you as long as you don't
| play with certain other kids on the playground," Schultz believes
| that Blackboard's pledge is "a nice gesture" but lacks the efficacy
| and legal significance of an official royalty-free patent license. 

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