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IBM Breaks Patent Record, Wants Reform

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the I-got-mine-Jack dept.

Patents 130

An anonymous reader writes "IBM set the record for most patents granted in a year for 2006. At the same time, IBM points out that small companies earn more patents per capita than larger enterprises and pushes for reform to address shortcomings in the process of patenting business methods: 'The prevalence of patent applications that are of low quality or poorly written have led to backlogs of historic proportions, and the granting of patents protecting ideas that are not new, are overly broad, or obvious.' And the company has been committing itself to a new patent policy: 'Key tenets of the policy are that patent quality is the responsibility of the applicant; that patent applications should be open to public examination and that patent ownership should be transparent; and that business methods without technical content should not be patentable.'"

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Ability to revoke patents? (5, Insightful)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565394)

How about changes to make it easier or even possible to revoke bad patents?

Then fewer people would apply! (3, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565642)

If you think that the patent system is there for the interests of the inventors then you are wrong. It is they way it is for the interests of the people in the patent industry. The patent machine is a nice little money maker for Uncle Sam and the patent lawyers. If you spoil the players' fun then they won't want patents. Much better to make it really hard to revoke a patent. That needs lots of lawyer hours and money.

It's the same for the tax system. That could be really simple, but no it's really complex so you need tax accountants/experts. It is a system set up to maximise benefit to the practitioners.

Re:Then fewer people would apply! (1)

Alchemist253 (992849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17570130)

I'm not sure what you mean by "patent system" but I hope you realize that the patent and copyright system is both mandated and justified in none other than Article I of the Constitution of the United States, which stipulates that Congress shall have the right...

"To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

The patent system exists to benefit all people, not just inventors, nor just lawyers.

Re:Then fewer people would apply! (1)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17570394)

"The patent system exists to benefit all people, not just inventors, nor just lawyers."

That's true in theory. However, as currently implemented it strays from the "To promote the progress of science and useful arts" and mainly benefits lawyers.

Re:Then fewer people would apply! (1)

Joelfabulous (1045392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17570356)

Yeah, my Dad and grandfather applied for a patent repeatedly when I was a kid. Dad's an engineer and designed a garbage bag holder for use in the kitchen -- you'd put the bag onto the frame of the device (a set of bars that were hinged), and the bag would open and close neatly while keeping the trash smell out. Pretty convenient. Sadly, they blew 12 grand before they decided to stop applying for a patent. Apparently it was too similar to other such garbage bag holders that shut and kept the smell out. There goes a year's worth of schooling for me... And they wonder why I'm an arts student with an interest (yet aversion) to engineering and technology... When an engineer and a chemistry professor with a Ph. D. couldn't beat the system, I preemptively gave up.

Ability to revoke patents?-Court now in session. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17565854)

Yes I can see it now. Some kind of web forum populated by the technically minded with veto power. Their symbol will be a forward leaning line with a dot after it. There will be a background process that periodically sweeps the forum to get rid of "special interest" trolls.

Re:Ability to revoke patents? (5, Interesting)

Dufftron 9000 (762001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566254)

It is possible to revoke patents. It happens regularly, along with re-examinations prompted by either patent holder or a third party.
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/document s/1300_1308_01.htm#sect1308.01 [uspto.gov]

The whole system is fairly transparent and the new proposed peer review system would be a great opportunity for you to provide all this prior art that you claim exsists so the the examiners can have access to it. They get a limited amount of time to try to find something and if they can't find anything there are limits as to the legal definition of obviousness that can be applied to reject an application.

Re:Ability to revoke patents? (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566354)

You mean something like this [slashdot.org] ?

How about "automatic revocation"? (3, Insightful)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566632)

I don't think it should be TOO easy to revoke patents, however as it stands it is much too difficult to do so. More importantly, I think that the patent systems in pretty much all juristictions are missing an important thing: RESPONSIBILITIES.

Patents essentially grant monopoly rights to inventors for their creations for an extended time (say 20 years). This is to encourage innovation by giving the inventor time to fully develop and market inventions before competitors can rip them off. This is all based on the assertion that there is always a bigger, richer, "more evil" entity out there who could develop and market an inventor's creation more quickly than a resource-strapped inventor could. Without the originally intended patent protection many inventions would've been commandeered by big, established corporations and the end result would be that innovation would die away and the only entities capable of innovation would be those with vast resources (very large corporations and governments)--and such entities by nature are anti-innovation.

The problem is that patent enforcement is only one-way--it grants protection TO the inventor but asks little to nothing FROM the inventor in terms of responsibility. I think patent reform should include a set of RESPONSIBILITIES as well as rights, and if the patent holder does not live up to those responsibilities the patent should be automatically revoked. The responsibilities I see would be something like the following:

* The inventor must plan to develop and market this invention (make it available to the public in some way) within 'x' years or the patent will expire. The 'x' year period would be much shorter than the 20 year lifespan of a typical patent, and would depend on the "class" of a patent--complex physical devices would be granted several years where simple physical objects and non-physical inventions (technical processes, etc) would be allowed only one year from the granting of a patent. The inventor may develop and market the invention himself or license it to another entity, but the patent-holder CANNOT sit on a patent without actively trying to make the invention happen. If the patent expires after this time frame it becomes public domain.

* The inventor must consistently enforce the patent--if someone willfully violates the patent and it is evident that the patent holder knows of this violation they must pursue royalties or other legal action against the violator within a reasonable time frame. There should be protection from "submarine patents" wielded by patent trolls, such as those used against RIM for example. If RIM made improper use of patented technology there was AMPLE time for the patent holder to take issue with it. It seems that the patent holders in this case deliberately waited until RIM had sufficiently deep and full pockets before reaching into those pockets for a settlement. The patent holder should have a cooperative relationship with developers and manufacturers, not a parasitic one. In such a situation the accused patent violator should have the means to have a patent revoked if it is wilfully abused this way.

* If an invention DOES get developed and is marketed publicly, within the specified time frame and is properly enforced by patent holders, then the patent can be held for the full time frame. However, it must be CONTINUOUSLY marketed/licensed during that time. If the patented item ceases to be publicly marketed/used, and/or there are no current licensees to the technology, then the patent should expire early. Although the intention of the patent system was to encourage innovation, they have become a means of SLOWING innovation because so many good ideas sit in patent files gathering dust on shelves. It is perverse that corporations out there apply for patents (or purchase the patent rights) so they can DELIBERATELY shelve them, and sue out of existence any competition that tries to use the ideas covered in them.

Patent law is just another case of what happens when rights are not balanced with responsibilities.

Re:How about "automatic revocation"? (2, Interesting)

gripen40k (957933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567298)

In reply with your comment, I just want to list a few notable problems with your ideas.

* The inventor must plan to develop and market this invention...
But what happens if his/her funding fell through? With no money to market and sell the idea, all of his/her hard work and dedication would be for nothing! But of course finding investors is also a form of marketing, so this would cause the patent 'lease' to be extended. In that case, a company could easily shelve it and 'look' for investors (ie say they are looking), there-by keeping their patent lease.

* The inventor must consistently enforce the patent...
Yes but you know how many companies are out there in any one particular field? This should really just apply to the most obvious of devices and companies (ie. Apple/Cisco and the iPhone, which clearly Apple screwed up). RIM was pretty much unheard of until they really were big, and so it's part of plausible deniability, RIM could have gone unnoticed from those patent trolls for some time.

Overall I think these ideas are on the right track, but it will be very, very hard to stop people from abusing any patent system, regardless of what that system entails.

Re:How about "automatic revocation"? (1)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17570434)

"But what happens if his/her funding fell through? With no money to market and sell the idea, all of his/her hard work and dedication would be for nothing! But of course finding investors is also a form of marketing, so this would cause the patent 'lease' to be extended. In that case, a company could easily shelve it and 'look' for investors (ie say they are looking), there-by keeping their patent lease."

They should license it to somebody who produces the item if they can't produce it themselves. If the licensee does not produce it within a given time frame, the patent should expires. No patent should be allowed to exist for the only purpose of locking up ideas.

Re:How about "automatic revocation"? (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17570546)

Yes but if the timeframe is too short the companies will just wait until it expires and then use it without having to pay royalties.

Re:How about "automatic revocation"? (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567452)

I'm firmly of the opinion that an independent inventor should be able to use the idea even though he is not the original inventor.

After all, if it is easy enough to come up with the idea with no knowledge of the original invention, it really can't be all that non-obvious.

And if an inventor is not using his invention, he should not be able to enforce the patent against anyone.

IBM is smart. (3, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565420)

They see the coming collapse of the entire patent system and would rather have some capability of holding monopolies than lose any chance of it.

IBM is smart-Wallpapering patents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17565566)

How many of the patents that IBM holds meet the new criteria? Will the one's that don't, be voluntarily revoked?

Re:IBM is smart-Wallpapering patents. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565828)

How many of the patents that IBM holds meet the new criteria? Will the one's that don't, be voluntarily revoked?

Man, the AC's are doing well tonight. Did you al so leave the comment on the server upgrade thread about "if you don't understand the question we don't need your answer?". Get an account so we can Friend you.

Re:IBM is smart. (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565586)

I agree. At this point we're just better off setting the term to zero and pushing the whole system over the cliff. "fixing it" will just prolong the pain.

Re:IBM is smart. (2, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565836)

P and GP are correct. But the pain will not be shared equally. Those with more experienced players ( ie: patent lawyers ) will do proportionately better as the system gets worse. So none of the big players wants to see it go over a cliff.

Re:IBM is smart. (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566124)

Nah. It will just be replaced by something worse. Do you think shrink wrap licenses are bad now? Imagine a world in which you have to sign a license to use every form of commercial technology you use. Want to buy a tube of toothpaste? It will come with a shrinkwrap license that states that you have to agree not to reverse engineer, duplicate, analyze or even try to produce your own toothpaste.

Patents exist because they are an improvement on a system where everything is held as a trade secret. Thow them out and you will create a nightmare.

Re:IBM is smart. (3, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565988)

They see the coming collapse of the entire patent system and would rather have some capability of holding monopolies than lose any chance of it.

Should the patent system collapse? Would that really be a good thing?

Patents work like land title.

Would it be possible to build a house without title? Sure, the same way it's possible to build a tech business without patents.

Would there be benefits to abolishing title? Sure, you couldn't "hold" land you didn't use, as someone would build on it and you would be out of luck. Much like you wouldn't be able to "hold" an idea and get license fees as a patent troll.

Will I be first in line at the county office to tear up my title deed and usher in this utopian future? OF COURSE NOT! Why? Because there's a serious risk that someone would bulldozer my house while I'm on vacation and build something else. The title system takes the risk out of land development, much like the patent system takes the risk out of technological development.

Re:IBM is smart. (4, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566184)

There's the "intellectual property" meme again. Virtual property is unlike real property. If I steal someone's apple, that's a resource he will have to do without. If I copy someone's design, he still has it and can still utilize it. It's thought that treating "intellectual property" as if it were real property, outlawing theft, providing registration, etc. is a good thing, but it's still debateable.

IBM is smart-Free property (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17566350)

Agreed. Now if you'll excuse me I'll be in the bedroom hacking my DirectTV box to get free programming. Hey don't give me that look! The paying customers will make certain everything stays afloat.

Re:IBM is smart-Free property (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17569776)

The DirectTV people probably could come up with a way to only transmit programming to people who've paid for it, say via careful distribution of encryption keys or hardware, but they choose not to because it's easier to make a weak technological solution and then buy some laws that prevent reverse-engineering. This is a serious problem, and it's the beginning of a whole lot of bad laws we're burdened with now.

I have no problem if companies decide to try and encrypt their content. If they want to tie it down, lock it to hardware, whatever; go for it. But where I draw the line is when they started getting involved in the legislative process and making it illegal for people to break their chains, even when it was clear that people had the right to use the content in ways that the 'chains' prohibited.

If DirectTV is broadcasting its signal onto my property, then I ought to be able to set up a 1m dish and an LNB amplifier and a signal processor, and do whatever I want with the incoming electrons, as long as I don't take the results outside of my property (e.g. rebroadcasting them in a way that causes them to leave my property). That it's illegal for me to set up a dish and a few analog parts, and perform some mathematical transformations to the resulting signal, is absolutely ridiculous, and represents the height of governmental pandering to corporate interests.

Corporations should be free to attempt to restrict and encrypt their content as much as they want. But individuals should be allowed do whatever they want with the signals that they're given, particularly when they're being broadcast over the EM spectrum, which is inherently a public resource.

The anti-circumvention laws about satellite TV broadcasts in the 1980s are where we really started to go wrong with technology laws in this country, and it's a very direct path from there through to the DMCA. It's nothing but laziness: as long as its easier to get a law passed than to build robust systems, companies will always go to Congress with bags of cash in hand.

Re:IBM is smart-Free property (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 7 years ago | (#17570588)

Yep, I agree that allowing media companies to meddle in legislation is a terrible idea. We've had a wonderful demonstration of this in Europe when Janelly Fourtou (an MEP) was lobbying hard for IP 'rights'. Some wondered how many of the normal people who elected her to represent their interests were sitting around in cafés asking for greater legal protection for media conglomerates such as Vivendi? Probably not that many.

The more suspicious suspected that her being married to the CEO of Vivendi may have had more to do with her interest in IP than those who voted for her. The fact that she stood to make substantial personal gains in a locked-down world may also be related.

We do need copyright laws but the law should have nothing to say regarding circumvention of DRM measures.

Re:IBM is smart. (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566368)

The analogy is apt if you live in a country like mine [wikipedia.org] , where there is no real shortage of land. In the absence of title, I would not necessarily be deprived of land, but it would suck to lose the improvements that I choose to make to that land.

Re:IBM is smart. (2, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566698)

Yeah, because companies will all rush one by one to spend billions in R&D just to have a 5 people software firm take the idea and make a functional product out of it for pennies.

Its like biotech patents. Yeah they have bad sides, but between all the billions spent, the risk taken, the years spent on R&D before you get a product, on top of the -extremely high- risk of getting sued to oblivion if you make the slighest mistake, if Walmart could just wait for you to spend the billions, only to sell the product for 99 cents a bottle, would you be willing to go for it?

Patents are a necessity. The system is flawed, but not the idea behind it.

Ridiculous hyperbole, you lose. (2, Interesting)

sydb (176695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567502)

What software invention cost "billions" in R&D. I don't believe there are any.

Forbes says [forbes.com] that:

In 2002, IBM spent $4.75 billion on research and development. That's more, in dollars, than Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

Infoworld says [infoworld.com] :

IBM filed more patent applications than any other company with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2005 to once again lead the annual ranking put out by the U.S. Department of Commerce office.

The company filed for 2,941 patents in 2005, which is down from 3,248 applications in 2004 but still well ahead of second-ranked Canon, which filed 1,828 applications,


Assuming the figures don't change too much annually, the average cost of an IBM patent is about $1.5M per patent. And IBM is a hardware company. I'm confident if you looked at software patents alone, that figure would be a lot less.

Re:Ridiculous hyperbole, you lose. (2, Interesting)

EarthlingN (660382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17569282)

Just a thought, for fun.

Maybe patents should be given a value or life span according to the amount of work that went into it.

Say, for instance, someone built a small shell script* that could parse all known patents and generate all possible combinations of inventions or methods that haven't already been thought up. Then, let's say there is a useful-enough-to-patent** function that could weed out the chaffe and submit the rest as full blown patent pending requests.

I wouldn't really want to give that person a very long monopoly on every new invention in the whole world.*** It seems that once the time/money he'd invested in his invention machine was paid off (plus some profit) it would do more harm than good to let him charge everyone a tax for thinking.

(* or Lisp or Prolog)
(** do you think this is how IBM comes up with so many ideas? ;)
(*** unless I am that person >8^)

Re:IBM is smart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17567662)

Except that that isn't the idea behind them. Just because you invent something, doesn't give you the natural right to sue anyone who dares to help society by inventing a similar thing at a lower cost.
Patents are explicitly about getting the details of an invention published, rather than being kept as trade secrets. If this weren't the case, they wouldn't be called 'patent' - that is, after all, latin for 'open', not 'revenue generation'.
If it's possible for a 5-person team to 'steal' the idea without it being published, then a patent is a liability on society: it gains us nothing (the details can be gotten with little R&D without the patent), and it costs us alot (one otherwise public invention is locked away from us for a couple of decades).

The bit about getting a 20-year first-mover advantage is to make this idea attractive to the inventors in favour of keeping trade secrets. If the secrets can be adequately found out at little to no cost by studying the invention itself, then the patent is useless.

Re:Analogies do not work for this (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567086)

Why? Because there's a serious risk that someone would bulldozer my house while I'm on vacation and build something else.

Because if that were the case, I could hold vague and broad land titles for the entire country side and do anything with the land for years until someone someone thinks its still unowned and spend the effort to build a house...

Then I jump out of the wood work and shout "GIVE ME YOUR MONIES!!!"

When you look at the land title it says that I own everything that is nearby a tree and has grass and maybe not owned by others.

And you tell me that this is so vague it could be land anywhere in the country side.

And to that I would tell you that I will see you in court and you unable to pay the court fees now have to rent the house that you spent money to build to me.

Otherwise known as RIMM and Blackberry.

Re:IBM is smart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17568752)

The analogy would only work if land titles were to properties the size of postage stamps, vague, and impossible to reliably survey.

See, patents don't take risk out of technological development they =add= the risk that anything you do could unknowingly infringe or be interpreted as infringing. At best, a patent may narrowly protect a part of your product from being imitated by a larger competitor, but every other part of your product is exposed to an unknowable number of potential lawsuits.

The only solution is developing patent warchests to fight off patent lawsuits through cross-licensing. If you're small, you can't hope to win that game. Even if you're big, the patent hording approach is no defense against IP holding companies who do nothing but sue.

Re:IBM is smart. (1)

lsatenstein (949458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17569294)

Patents of ideas, without recognized products should be discarded, or the USA should take the same stance as the rest of the WORLD.

If a patent is infringed upon, the penalty would be the actual, not estimated losses, due to products which compete with the existing product for which the patent is filed. There would have to be proof of marketing attempts, and of manufacturing, not just to prototyping of the product being patented. No penalty if the patent was being held as a ransome or blackmail license.

Ideas would bear 0$ penalty.

Re:IBM is smart. (1)

kirils (1050022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566418)

I'll pray you are right about the collapse.

The Open Source Community can't trust IBM. (5, Informative)

btarval (874919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17569170)

Oh, with all due respect, I think you are seriously understating the problem. IBM explicitly demonstrated this only too well last month.

What isn't getting reported (at least not on Slashdot, for whatever reason) is that IBM's current actions are schizophrenic, if you view them in the best possible light. In the worst possible light, these actions can be viewed as an attempt to by-pass the Patent Office. To make absolutely certain that the big guys retain control over the process, and aren't pestered again by the little guys.

A superb example of this is the fact that IBM is ACTIVELY fully supportive of Software Patents, and has even used what appear to be rather bogus ones (against a company which is using Linux, no less), in order to stifle the competition.

I'm speaking about IBM's lawsuit last month against Platform Solutions. Here's one quote and link from a press article:

"IBM's decision to sue Platform Solutions is another indication that the company is becoming more aggressive about defending its intellectual property in an effort to extract more revenue from its extensive patent trove." [informationweek.com]

There are other links if you do a Google search; but it's pretty clear that IBM wants to keep this as quiet as possible.

The point remains though, that IBM is being extremely agressive with Software Patents, against what appear to be Linux-based products. And anything IBM says about "improving the quality" is utter BS. Their priority is to improve the bottom line.

Sorry if that pops some people's bubbles about IBM. There is no question that IBM has been helpful to the Open Source community. But it's quite clear that this only goes so far. And as long as they are actively working as a Patent Troll to stifle competition, IBM cannot be trusted.

Let us hope that it doesn't go so far as submarine patents. But honestly, I've never seen a big company play nice out of the goodness of their heart yet, when it comes to their competition.

IBM might have struck me as leaning that way before last month. But not any more.

Too bad - I already patented patent reform (2, Funny)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565442)

Poor IBM.

I have an idea though: everyone will drop all their "bad" patents at the same time. On the count of 3. Ready? 1...2...

Re:Too bad - I already patented patent reform (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565498)

Think of it this way, if a company has to pay a license fee because of a patent, then the consumer also has to pay that fee since they need to recoup the cost. So if there is a patent out there for something that a company had been developing before the patent or release before the patent they will have legal fees or license fees.

We can't do that! (2, Funny)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566148)

everyone will drop all their "bad" patents at the same time.

If everyone did that, the incredible mass of patent paperwork impacting the earth's surface simultaneously would produce a force so great as to shift the orbit of the planet! If you think CO2 causes climate change, wait'll you see what THAT would do!

Patent system broken (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565464)

From my very limited understanding of the situation, it seems like there is serious problem with the patent system because small companies patent everything to protect themselves from larger companies, larger companies patent everything to protect themselves from patent trolls, and patent trolls use the massive overworked system to get patents filed which will never be found by small or large coporations in order to sue for profit.

You misunderstand (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565882)

From the people actually driving the patent system (ie. US govt and the patent lawyers) there is nothing broken with this. Lots of applications (dumb or good, who cares) == lots of profits. Lots of litigation because of patent systems (dumb or good, who cares) == lots of profits.

Any system will work the way that its owners intend. While the patent system is owned by the patent lawyers etc, you won't see any changes.

If the patent holders (inventors) controlled the patent system then you'd see things work differently. There would be a feedback cycle that improved the quality of the patents. Right now, the patent system is a nice money spinner for Uncle Sam and there is no external quality check. Imagine though if you could sue for bad patents. eg. USPTO issues you with a patent so you start a business based on it, but the patent gets revoked so you had to close your busiuness. Imagine if you could chase USPTO for your losses. Likewise, imagine if USPTO had to cover your expenses when you have to take a stupid troll patent to court and they were wrong to give out the patent.

Re:You misunderstand (1)

Dufftron 9000 (762001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17568340)

This is untrue from the USPTO side of things. While the patent office does make money, they do not keep what they take in. Congress takes the fees collected and allocates less than that back to the agency. They are trying hard to remedy the back log and address the quality issues that have stemmed from the onslaught of 600,000 patent applications a year. The patent office does not have any vested interest in granting applications and would be better off if applicants were forced to actually give up on bad applications. As the system currently works however, once an application starts in the system it can stay there almost indefinitely as long as the prosecution makes lip service to advancing.


If you want to actually help remedy the situation you could contact your representatives as they are the ones that control the rules that patent examination follows. The current rules change proposed http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/dapp/opla/pre sentation/focuspp.html [uspto.gov] would go a long way toward speeding up the system and cutting down on the "bad" patents that make it through the system. The reduction in claims and limits to the number of appeals alone would free up examiners to spend more time looking at the actual merits of a case. Obviously, the rules changes will be fought by the lawyers and agents as they are paid by the hour and long examinations benefit them directly, so some voice in support of the changes outside of the USPTO would be beneficial.

Re:Patent system broken (1)

revolu7ion (994315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565936)

From my limited understanding the issue is with the parent company.

"The parent's patent process is painful, potentially posing problems - probably profanities proceeding. Plus it places persistant pressure on profitability of primary com-petitors, pleasing the pre-mentioned parent. "

Paul Pacer - President of Patent Pending

How about? (2, Interesting)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565466)

How about only allowing people to patent inventions that have cost money (resources) to bring into the world (i.e. prototypes, experiments, ect), and not inventions that anyone can "discover" simply by sitting down and thinking hard. (algorithems, formulas, ect)?

Re:How about? (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565540)

Never heard the expression "Time is money" ?

Re:How about? (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565668)

I agree with you in principle, but I think it's overly specific, and could be used to squish out the little guy (think: home inventor) from being able to come up with a patentable invention, since he may possibly use materials that are on-hand, and not have any real expenses.

Re:How about? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565812)

No, the person in his garage is coming up with something tangible, the developer is mearly writing the instructions to do something.

The order and arrangement of the instructions should be registered under copyright and not patent.

How about?-Copyfight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17566078)

"The order and arrangement of the instructions should be registered under copyright and not patent."

Lord knows copyright gets more respect [slashdot.org] than patents.

Re:How about? (1)

ricree (969643) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567018)

The order and arrangement of the instructions should be registered under copyright and not patent.
Because using a system with an indefinite end point is a much better alternative. Say what you want to about patents, but at least they have a nice neat end date.

Re:How about? (1)

robinvanleeuwen (1009809) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566088)

I think this is a bad idea, OMG someone think about the children!
no seriousl though. There are a lot of bright kids with plenty of
good ideas. I rarely see students with money to spend on inventions,
tests, prototypes etc. They need to buy food, clothes, gas/water/elect.
beer/etc. But they do have brilliant ideas...

Your system would rule them out...

just a thought...

Re:How about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17568588)

Please, let's not design the patent system with children in mind. People and children with good ideas are a dime a dozen. People that get things done, that's what we're missing in this country.

Re:How about? (1)

j. andrew rogers (774820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566242)

How about only allowing people to patent inventions that have cost money (resources) to bring into the world (i.e. prototypes, experiments, ect), and not inventions that anyone can "discover" simply by sitting down and thinking hard. (algorithems, formulas, ect)?

What you call "thinking hard" only costs nothing if your time is free. There are many algorithms that were only developed after very significant amounts of technical man-months were invested in research that ultimately led to their creation. And most such algorithms are fully verified and implemented as prototypes, which also costs money.

If the development of new basic algorithms was so easy and inexpensive, why are they discovered so infrequently?

Re:How about? (1)

willy_me (212994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566514)

Thinking hard takes time and time is a valuable resource. One may not have to pay for it directly but it still has a significant opportunity cost that can't be ignored.

Willy

Time IS a resource... (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567458)

And given we are mortal, it's a finite resource for any given individual.

Re:How about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17570728)

I agree. Patents should only be granted if you can walk into the patent office, put your prototype down and say "I want to patent this."

Patents on "ideas" should be banned. I have a hundred new ideas every day and I bet real money every single one of them has already been thought of by someone else, somewhere in the world. I can't think of the last time a product was introduced that astounded me because I haven't already thought of it.

Patents are both good and bad (5, Insightful)

sygin (659338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565492)

The patent system needs to be updated to reflect the world we live in now, not the world hundreds of years ago. There are many examples of patents holding back progress.

Retina scanning is a typical example of this. One group/person holds most of the patents on this tech, how many times have you had your retina scanned? There is an only a few obvious methods to get the job done and the patent holder controls all of them. I guarantee that when those patents expire, we will have mainstream retina scanners everywhere.

For a start:
1. tech patents should have a shorter lifespan.
2. Getting a software patent should be damn nigh impossible.

Re:Patents are both good and bad (2, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565794)

Retina scanners are not being held back by patents, they're being held back by the public's perception of retina scanning as being too invasive. I don't expect that will change when the patents expire.

In addition (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565808)

You should not be able to patent business models or obvious solutions to common problems.

Re:Patents are both good and bad (1)

kirils (1050022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566218)

Who wants they retina scanned anyway? It's more than enough that they copy all of your fingerprints and put them into the criminal FBI database.

Re:Patents are both good and bad (1)

BurningPi (1032288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566572)

Who wants they retina scanned anyway?
Everyone who has a choice between that and a rectal scan.

It's easy when you're on top (3, Interesting)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565528)

Sure, now that IBM has all the software patents they could ever need, they show others how to do the same thing. Of course, what this means is that IBM is pandering to an ever larger field of patentable technology through the normal process of cross-licensing (you license your patentable idea to me, and I won't charge you for X, which we already have a patent for).

I'm glad they're being reasonable about the advice they're giving, especially about "not patenting a business process with no technical content", but they're already so far ahead that they can afford to be reasonable. I don't see patent reform on the horizon as a result; IBM has too much invested in the current system to take a really progressive stance on "Intellectual Property" ownership.

mandelbr0t

Re:It's easy when you're on top (3, Interesting)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566256)

Or perhaps IBM is doing it out of need, not because they consider it the ideal situation.

For example, you can at the same time spend a lot on home security and lobby the government to solve the crime problem. Security solves the problem now, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't prefer not to need it at all.

So perhaps they patent so much because in the current situation it's what makes the most sense, but would prefer not to have to.

Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17566450)

They also have the most to lose if patents are weakened.

So I'll remain cautiously optimistic about their motives for the time being.

Re:It's easy when you're on top (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17568058)

I just love how there's so much "financial value" going back and forth with those patent cross license agreements. Do you know why MMORPGs hate letting players sell game items? Because, if the items have an actual monetary value, then the IRS will recognize a valuable item pickup as income. Blizzard would have to issue 1099's to every player, know their SSNs, etc. So, why doesn't all this priceless patent licensing get recognized as income, too?

Oh, I get it (1)

shatfield (199969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565550)

IBM wants to make it harder for smaller companies to patent business processes (or anything at all?) so that they don't get in the way of big companies patenting everything under the sun....

Re:Oh, I get it (4, Interesting)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565914)

This has nothing to do with it. IBM actually patents technology they research and develop. They are not patent trolls. IBM spends more money on R&D then almost any other company out there. They earned those patents. They just want to reduce the amount of patents awarded to people when they already have a patent on that technology. Then IBM has to waste money in court showing that the later patent should have never been awarded. It just makes sense both from a business and an ethical perspective. The Patent office needs to wake up and start scrutinizing applications more.

Re:Oh, I get it (1)

shatfield (199969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567716)

The patent office's business is selling patents, and business is gooooooood.

It'll be a cold day in the hot place when the patent office actually spends time researching whether or not a patent is valid. They'll leave that up to the courts to decide.

It's just good business.

Re:Oh, I get it (2, Insightful)

Dufftron 9000 (762001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17568484)

The patent office does not sell patents. I know it is posh to dump on the PTO but you obviously have no idea how it works. The PTO is held by the laws and regulations written by congress and does not have the latitude to adjust the amount of time given to examine any particular case. If you want more time spent on a case, ask congress to give them more time. The USPTO would love to have time to exhaustively search each and every application, but with fewer than 8,000 employees and more than 500,000 new applications a year as well as just under 1 million already in the system that is not exactly fair to applicants that have been waiting up to three years for someone to take a first look at their application. Even with the current problems and limitations that they operate under, they still have a less than 5% rate of allowing "bad" claims to go to the pre-allowance stage where they are caught and re-examined.

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/dapp/opla/pre sentation/chicagoslidestext.html [uspto.gov]

Readability ... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17568452)

The Patent office needs to wake up and start scrutinizing applications more.

This is probably also why IBM wants a notion of quality in patent applications. From some of the patents I have read you get so lost in the "patent speak", that it is hard to tell what is really being patented - think of this in the same way of trying to read a product description chock full of marketing buzzwords and double-speak. After a couple of hours of decoding the language, you might end finding that the whole document is actually describing the wheel, even though the whole thing was 20 pages long and it originally looked like it was trying to patent a new rocket engine. With this sort of problem its clear that time is wasted processing unnecessary patents, and why some patents get let through (fed up examiners).

I realise that some of this crazy writing style is attributed to legal type documents, but I have seen legal documents that were much easier to read and did not require a degree in lawyer-speak or double-speak.

Obvious solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17565574)

small companies earn more patents per capita than larger enterprises
 
Make large megacoroporations earn as much patents per capira as the small companies.

Yeah, right. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17565656)

I've worked on the peripheral of their patents applications. Most of the ones I've seen are just solutions to specific problems. Meaning that anybody would come up with the same idea given the problem. So while they might not be considered obvious with a blank slate, given a need, the solution *is* obvious. The did a whole bunch of patents on remote distributed media and given the requirements of security and content management, nothing I saw wasn't an obvious solution, they all got accepted anyway.

Write your congressman ... (1)

quiberon2 (986274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565682)

If you want a change in the law, write your congressman.

I think IBM is just trying to preserve its commercial freedom (to sign contracts with clients and to deliver solutions in accordance with those contracts).

If you allow stuff to be patented, IBM has got to have lots of them.

If you don't allow stuff to be patented, the cost of business will go down.

Re:Write your congressman ... (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566192)

most folks = rowboat with a shotgun
IBM = BattleShip New Jersey

for most values of "ammo" IBM will always have the bigger gun (sorry TSCOG but you knew this when you started)

small companies (2, Insightful)

micktaggart (1047954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565706)

Although small companies might be awarded the most patents per employee, I doubt they can actually defend their patents in court—they'll get their ass kicked immediately by larger corporations.

Re:small companies (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566432)

Ah, yes, like Eolas and Microsoft...

Patents cut both ways, and neither way is very fair.

The real reason for the backlog (3, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565786)

More and more people realize that patent clercs don't have the foggiest clue when it comes to the IT biz and start filing for ridiculous patents. Simply because it's been proven time and again that this is your way to big money for essentially no research. Just manage to get one of those trivial patents granted and you're set for life.

Is there really anyone wondering why there's a backlog from here to Albuquerque? Hell, it's more profitable than frivulous lawsuits for spilled coffee or being a general moron but there was no warning label for it.

If you want to solve this insane situation, reform the patent system. Now.

Re:The real reason for the backlog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17566816)

dude, you can't even spell clerk correctly...

Patent Quality Index (3, Funny)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565898)

The final initiative is the Patent Quality Index which seeks to define a quantitative metric for the quality of patents.

The article failed to mention that the metric will be a web-based distributed evaluation system, in which nerds in basements will view each patent and score them either "hot or not".

Re:Patent Quality Index (2, Funny)

shawnap (959909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566672)

Mod patent up!

IBM wants Protection from small companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17566062)

PLEASE!

Whine, whine - like IBM Needs protection ? [marketwatch.com]

What are they? A rare striped, albino, flat footed platypus?
IBM afraid of little mom and pop companies?

I remember from an economic modeling session that the Planet Earth global economy can only support a handful of IBM sized corporations,
but an infinite number of small 2 person companies ( Think: # of Elephants vs # of Bacteria ).

If IBM wants to actually produce more patents per capita:
#1 - make more innovations,
#2 - reduce head count.

Stop running to momma like the Government is supposed to guarantee your existence.
IBM should show protect itself the old fashioned way - CRUSH the Competition,
not sell off chunks of itself and then expect to increase in profits automagically.
Spend a little more time at the old work bench, and keep delivering Excellent 5 Star service.

If IBM can't adapt, well - economic survival of the fittest.
Good bye dinosaur.

IBM tries to pursue only quality patents (4, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566326)

As an IBM employee who has been through the internal patent vetting process, I can tell you that IBM isn't just spouting off about the importance of patent quality, IBM actually does try to ensure that it only seeks patent protection for really worthy ideas.

A colleague and I (mostly him) came up with an interesting approach for quickly and accurately finding the subject's face in an photo taken for an ID card. The idea is that rather than having to carefully adjust the camera before taking the photo, or having to carefully crop the photo afterwards, it's much more efficient to have a fixed camera that covers a sufficiently large field of view that all subjects, no matter what size, will be in the image and then have software automatically identify their head within the image and crop and rescale to get an image of just the head, with the right size and aspect ratio.

I'll admit that it's not any sort of blinding insight, but there were some very clever bits in the way my colleague made it work and made it fast. Not just algorithmic details, either, but some fundamentally good ideas. Further, after we'd implemented it we discovered that there doesn't seem to be another ID photo solution on the planet that works remotely as well. Most of them don't even try to automatically zoom and crop, and those that do suck at it. To the point the 80% of the time the user has to manually adjust the crop.

So, since IBM offers bonuses for patents, we figured that it had enough novelty in it to be patentable, particularly given the crap that gets patented. We filled out the paperwork and got ready for the review board to rubberstamp our application, or maybe point out a few legal niceties that had to be corrected.

They shut us down cold. "Not novel enough". "The usage may have some originality, but the basic ideas are all commonplace". "It's too obvious".

They told us we could work on it and re-present if we wanted, but they were pretty clear that unless we found some more, better, newer ideas, IBM would not pursue acquisition of a patent on our invention. That impressed me, actually, even though I was disappointed to be missing out on the bonus.

I can't say that *all* of IBM's patents are high quality. In fact I'd be surprised if a few dogs don't slip through. But IBM really does try ensure that it only patents real, novel, non-obvious inventions. Probably mostly to avoid paying any more employee bonuses than they have to, but the industry would clearly be a better place if more companies held themselves to the same standards.

Re:IBM tries to pursue only quality patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17567650)

As an IBM employee who has been through the internal patent vetting process, I can tell you that IBM isn't just spouting off about the importance of patent quality, IBM actually does try to ensure that it only seeks patent protection for really worthy ideas.

This is complete BS. IBM files more crap applications than anyone and has a special designation for its crap applications -- "category 3". Perhaps you should read Greg Aharonian's excellent patent news letter (www.bustpatents.com) to understand how IBM abuses the patent system by concealing prior art and filing literally thousands of crap patent applications.

Re:IBM tries to pursue only quality patents (1)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567712)

I can't say that *all* of IBM's patents are high quality. In fact I'd be surprised if a few dogs don't slip through. But IBM really does try ensure that it only patents real, novel, non-obvious inventions. Probably mostly to avoid paying any more employee bonuses than they have to, but the industry would clearly be a better place if more companies held themselves to the same standards.
I seriously doubt your bonus has anything to do with it. I suspect the amount of money that IBM would have to invest in pursuing the patent is much more than any bonus you would earn. And that, by the way, is what I think IBM is going after here. Filing patents is a huge business expense for IBM. And when competitors are filing a ton of patents for silly, obvious things, IBM only has two choices. One is to pre-emptively file silly patents, and this is a good strategy if silly patents are upheld. The other is to aggressively challenge silly patents on the grounds that they are silly. Both options cost a lot of money. If the government was more diligent, and patents were much more difficult to obtain, then IBM would save a ton of money on lawyering and patent-application support staff.

Re:IBM tries to pursue only quality patents (1)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17570506)

Patents on obvious ideas are more profitable to a patent holder with a large army of lawyers than those on truly innovative ideas, because the obvious ones will be accidentally infringed by numerous parties and thus will provide more revenue from lawsuits and settlements.

If something is innovative enough that people won't infringe it accidentally, but not super-innovative enough to make a profitable product out of it, it won't be worth patenting to them. Your idea probably was in that unprofitable middle ground.

The cynic in me (3, Informative)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566502)

Thinks that the IBM formal Patent program has become too cumbersome. Patent authors pass through a series of committees that either reject them or pass them on before they are ever considered for filing. If they were awarded 3700 patents then probably 20x that amount of submissions were made at the beginning of the process. Employees are awarded for patent submssions not patents. So this new rule will thin the submissions down greatly and will force most patent submissions to come out of the research areas. With fewer higher quality patents they'll have to do far less work to process them and will award far less in bounty money.

And why not (1)

Tastycat (1003898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566658)

That's a good idea.

BULLSHIT. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17566706)

WTF.. IBM is complaining about frivelous/obvious patents?

IBM has a friggin' patent on the wheel!

THE WHEEL!

Look it up if you don't believe me! "Vehicle Wheel", bitches.

bi2nat3h (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17566818)

One answer to help with the mess of patents (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566970)

Basicly require anyone who wants to patent something to demonstrate their patent. This could mean a working model. A prototype. A mockup. A set of blueprints as to how one would build a device incorporating the patented technology.

In the case of a drug patent, you would be required to demonstrate plans on how the drug (or the active ingredients) could be produced.
In the case of a gene sequence patent (such as a GM crop) you would be required to demonstrate either a working (i.e. growing in a lab) implementation of the gene sequence OR steps to create such an organisim. For a software patent you would be required to demonstrate the patent (pseudocode, real code in some language, a flowchart, whatever).

One big problem with the patent system is people who think things up and get patents on them without actually using those patents.

Another thing that I would like to see is "enforce it or loose it" for patents in the same way as for trademarks. That way, patent trolls cant follow the usual "lets go after the little fish and after we get some legal backing for our patent, we can go after the big guys" problem.

Re:One answer to help with the mess of patents (1)

RembrandtX (240864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17568620)

The patent office HAS this already, 4 years, 8 years, and 12 years after a patent is issued, fees need to be paid to keep the patent active.
if a patent is not renewed, it goes into the public domain.

File patents or lose your job (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567138)

Companies like IBM normally require employees to file patents to keep their jobs, no matter how trivial they are. Now they're going to war against their own employees for filing trivial patents. What did they think was going to happen? Going to war against your own employees sounds like something an American company would do.

Re:File patents or lose your job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17567942)

I've never heard of any job where filing patents was a condition of employment. Did you just
make that up? Do you work IBM?

Re:File patents or lose your job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17568870)

I work for IBM and I can assure you that if you want to make any promotion on the
technical track you won't get any unless you file a shitload of patents.

Re:File patents or lose your job (2, Informative)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17569344)

Companies like IBM normally require employees to file patents to keep their jobs, no matter how trivial they are.

I know many, many long term IBM employees in technical positions who have never filed a patent. Filing patents at IBM is viewed favorably, but it certainly isn't a requirement for holding onto a job.

Having the public review applications (2, Insightful)

YGingras (605709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17567190)

Why would the public approve a single patent? Patents are never in the interest of the general public. Patents take away something from the public and give it to the inventor in hope that the inventor will publish more of his ideas.

Re:Having the public review applications (1)

RembrandtX (240864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17568734)

Patents do NOT take something away from the public. What people seem to forget, is that the patent system ENCOURAGES people to publish their findings, sure .. short term they get an 'exclusive deal' on their idea, but after 20 years [from the application date mind you] its free game for anyone. People are also allowed to write improvement patents, where they improve on an existing patent, although the owener of the original patent might require licensing fees, of course - if your improvement totally makes his original patent a 'killer invention' the deal is normally settled pretty quick.

Example:

Anyone here who hates the patent system know the secret formula for Coca-Cola ? Anyone ? Anyone ?

No one knows it, because rather than let people figure out how to make coke, the company decided to lock that knowledge away in some vault somewhere and not let anyone but the most privileged in the company have access. If the Patent office didn't exist in the USA, that would be how EVERY company would act. With no method of preserving their business secrets, they would have to resort to hording their knowledge.

Anyone here know how to make a Spring-loaded dog assembly which enables a bezel of a speaker system and structure holding electric device to be mounted in ceilings and walls without having to use external retaining means ? [patentmonkey.com] If not, just follow the link - all the info on how to do it is right there.

Hey look, info has been given to the public, sure - you cant manufacture a product with it right now, unless its expired, or believe it or not .. the inventor actually PLACES it into the public domain when its issued. [It is an option !] Yes, the USPTO allows people to profit from inventing somthing, but it also allows people like you (and me) to have cheap hard drives, and REALLY fast processors. Compare computers now vs computers 20 years ago .. and ask yourself where we would be if there was no patent system in place, and all the emerging home PC patents that were filed, were instead kept in a vault somewhere.

I mean, I thought the Vic-20 was cool too, but those damn tape drives only held so much pr0n.

Having slashcourt review applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17569048)

Yes the OPs two assertions are incorrect especially when you understand that the "public" that he's referring to wouldn't have done anything with the ideas they do have. Patents allow someone to go beyound "talking" about an idea, and makig it into something the "public" can actually use. The other assertion that patents aren't in the public interest is plainly false. SOME patents aren't in the public interest, but not as a general case.

"No one knows it, because rather than let people figure out how to make coke, the company decided to lock that knowledge away in some vault somewhere and not let anyone but the most privileged in the company have access. If the Patent office didn't exist in the USA, that would be how EVERY company would act. With no method of preserving their business secrets, they would have to resort to hording their knowledge."

A similiar argument applies to copyright, except it's called "the patron system". Artistic endeavours going to the rich who can afford them (hording). I think that the modern majority has been spoiled by the plenty that the present system has created and assumes that the gravy train will go on no matter how much it's abused, or by whom it's being abused.

gn4a (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17568114)

Hot on the heels of Declined in market if I remain are having Trouble 5ee. The number a GAY NIGGER a sad world. At endless conflict

mod uP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17568354)

is perhaps members all over more. If you feel knows for sure what may disturb Other large - kkep your rivalry. While My calling. Now I community at Track of where

What a travesty. (2, Funny)

hlomas (1010351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17568676)

I blame theoretical physics for sapping the patent office of its brightest.

Not any more (1)

Programmer_Errant (1004370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17570122)

These days they would have said, "Sorry Albert, but your current job is a patent clerk and we're looking for somebody with current experience as a theoretical physicist".

-doll (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17569484)

irc network. The failure, its corpse during which I2 we need to address over the same is wiped off and
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