Re: Intellectual Property Rights: an example

Tim Bates (
Sun, 27 Dec 1998 20:13:51 +1100

Spike Jones said

>tim, there is a monster piece of code developed by lockheed in
>the 60s that predicts the accuracy of a ballistic missile.
>that simulation contains hundreds, perhaps
>thousands, of person-years of some of the most advanced scientists
>and engineers that the cold war could produce.

and then he asked

>is the information in this code obvious?
well, yes and no. if you and i had to sit down and write it it might have taken quite a while ;-). I agree it is hard work and (if not undertaken by the govt) deserves protection from theft.

>where does it fit in your software patent theory? spike
a. you can't patent this kind of thing: it is not code that gets patented but "ideas" (algorithms).

b. this code was not patented and seems to have existed just fine- the military will just kill us if we look at it ;-)

c, more seriously, you have complete protection for this work under copyright. If i want to build a similar system, i can't just nick your code and run it, i have to write my own copy. I think that is fair.

What i want NOT to happen is someone says "oh gee, we could guide a missile by computer - I'll patent that"

And then some ass at the PO grants him a patent on the idea of computer guidance or all objects in all fields for the next n years.

As it stands, your program has no patent protection. Under my scheme it would be at least as secure and probably more so. More to the point, it would be impossible for someone to be granted a patent forbidding you to development guidance systems.

best wishes,

"Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous impatience."