datapulse asks: "I was wondering what exactly can be protected by a patent? Can I patent an idea or a business idea? I ask this because I've always thought that only a tangible invention could be patented. I have a lot of ideas that I believe could be of very good use but I don't have the capital to put them to work." I'm running this one mainly so we can have a discussion on the true meaning of the "patent" and why so many of us disagree with the idea of software patents. As I understand it: patents were to protect the details of implementations, not ideas, but software patents have blurred this area tremendously. (Read More)
Tom Dunstan is wondering if it might not be a good idea to start up some sort of Patent Watch: "It seems that we only hear about patents (taken out in the U.S., at least) after they get granted. How public is the patent registering process? Would it be possible for the FSF or some likeminded volunteers to keep an eye out at the patents office so that we can make representations on the idiocy of some of the patents being granted before they get given? "