O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by AN O'Nymou » Sat, 01 Apr 2006 09:05:34


I have come up with a computational scheme for structural analysis
which I believe is novel. I have spoken to one of my professors about
it and they agree that some concepts in it are unique. However, they
have suggested that I research the literature more for similar schemes.

Can a *scheme* for computing something be granted Intellectual Property
protection?
E.g. hypothetically speaking, could the inventor of Finite Elements
have patented his work and gotten royalties for every subsequent code
that used his ideas? What about the inventors of CFD & SPH?

How are IP rights enforced? Without a decompiler, it is not possible to
know for certain if a compiled binary breaches someone's IP rights.

Is there a patent search database for computational schemes (I'm
assuming it is protectable!)? It would save time rather than trawling
through lots of disparate fields whilst juggling my research.

Thanks.
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by nospa » Sat, 01 Apr 2006 15:33:34


Point 1. This is a legal question.

Comp.lang.fortran isn't a very good place to ask legal questions. We
often discuss the "legality" of Fortran code, but that's a sloppy,
informal use of the word (even though I use it that way myself.)

Point 2. This is a legal question.

Yes, I know that was point 1, but it is also point 2. Usenet is not a
good place to get legal advice - not in any newsgroup. I despise dealing
with lawyers myself. It would take a long and off-topic essay to express
the depths of my dislike for dealing with them. I had to deal with some
earlier this week and will again next week, reminding me of how much I
hate it. (I'll be getting money from these dealings, but I still hate
them). However.... yours is a legal question, and that *IS* what lawyers
are for.

Whatever reason you might have for trying to get legal advice on usenet,
it isn't good enough reason. It is such a bad idea that it is one of the
cannonical bad ideas often expressed in such comparisons as "that's as
bad an idea as trying to get legal advice from usenet." Any answers to
legal matters you get here are worse than worthless... literally,
because it is better to not know the answer than to think you know it
and be wrong. Asking questions like this on usenet is likely to get
answers from people who don't know the difference between patents,
copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, etc., but don't let that
ignorance stand in the way of giving answers.

My own ignorant answer :-) is that the question is far more complicated
than you realize (which is why you should ask a lawyer). There was a
time when algorithms were not patentable. But the laws got stretched,...
and changed. I'm not sure that there is any kind of thing today that
someone hadn't managed to patent. You and I are probably infringing on
patents by living, because portions of our own DNA are patented; I'm
hoping we won't get a cease and desist order. :-( The rules vary from
place to place, and time to time. The EU has recently been debating
changes in their patent law. Have I mentioned that the question isn';t
simple?

Of course, finding a good lawyer isn't simple either. I'm afraid I can't
advise you on that one.

--
Richard Maine | Good judgement comes from experience;
email: last name at domain . net | experience comes from bad judgement.
domain: summertriangle | -- Mark Twain

 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by Jan Vorbrg » Sat, 01 Apr 2006 17:05:07

>>Can a *scheme* for computing something be granted Intellectual Property

I quite agree.

In this particular case, you need to talk to a competent patent attorney
first. Yes, that's a different kind of person than a lawyer. Afterwards,
you will likely want to a lawyer specialising in IPR also.


Indeed. I think it's one of the most difficult things to do.

Jan
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by Jan Vorbrg » Sat, 01 Apr 2006 17:11:27


> I despise dealing with lawyers myself.

While I find that understandable, for one thing I don't have to deal with
US lawyers often - thank God for that! For another, I have come to the
considered opinion that the first thing one needs to make clear to a lawyer
is that she doesn't run the show, instead being there to serve the issue
at hand. If that isn't accepted, there's no way one will find a productive
working relationship with that person.

The dilemma, of course, is if you can't get rid of one with the bad attitude,
for whatever reason. But at least there are enough cases where one is in
sufficient control to achieve this.

Jan
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by Joos » Sat, 01 Apr 2006 17:11:50

The first people to talk to are the right people at his university.
Since they are the employers, they most like have some/all of the
rights too.

Joost
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by AN O'Nymou » Sat, 01 Apr 2006 19:58:53


Sorry mate. I seem to hardly ever get replies when I post to uk.legal.

They seem to be a snotty lot who killfile legally ignorant people there
easily...or have had too much bad experience with too many trolls and
are quick to (wrongly) prejudge, take your pick.

I promise my next few posts here will be on topic :-)
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by AN O'Nymou » Sat, 01 Apr 2006 20:03:56


I'm a full fee paying postgrad student not involved in biotech work, so
AIUI I have full IP rights over my work.

You're right. I don't know why I didn't think about it earlier. My uni
has a legal division that specialises in IP rights. Time to make them
work for their salary :-)
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by nospa » Sun, 02 Apr 2006 00:50:17


Ah. I hadn't noticed the uk bit. It was right there in front of me, but
I hadn't noticed anyway. Whatever the answer is, it is probably
different in the uk than over here (usa) anyway.

Sounds to me like you got a good pointer from Joost, though.

--
Richard Maine | Good judgment comes from experience;
email: my first.last at org.domain| experience comes from bad judgment.
org: nasa, domain: gov | -- Mark Twain
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by pa » Sun, 02 Apr 2006 01:09:04


Really ? In any case, you'll soon find out.


--
pa at panix dot com
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by Joe Krah » Sun, 02 Apr 2006 01:42:34


...

I suspect most Fortran programmers despise dealing with lawyers, whether
or not they despise the lawyers themselves. The problem is that lawyer
logic is vastly different from mathematical logic. Lawyer logic is a
very fuzzy and context dependent logic.

Joe
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by karg » Sun, 02 Apr 2006 02:26:53

In article < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >,
"AN O'Nymous" < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > writes:

Perhaps, google with the search words "gif patent" would
help answer this question.

As others have noted, seeking legal advice here is not
the best of ideas.

--
Steve
http://www.yqcomputer.com/ ~kargl/
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by Kevin G. R » Sun, 02 Apr 2006 05:20:19

>Lawyer logic is a very fuzzy and context dependent logic.

Actually, it is different enough a process that even calling it by the name "logic" is
deceptive (albeit unintentionally) to anyone with a mathematical, scientific or engineering
background. What is done in law has its rules and precepts, but they do not fit together
in a form that universally conforms to "logic". I've learned a little about IP law in
self-defense (and to be able to interface more effectively with lawyers) and I strongly
suggest you do not even think about it using the same terminology.

Perhaps this is another place to invoke "Threepwood". ;-)
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by Craig Powe » Sun, 02 Apr 2006 07:05:32


IANAL.

Whether a particular computational scheme is patentable may depend on
where you are located -- e.g. (and inspired by a subsequent comment from
you) the U.S. and the U.K. AFAIK differ on how permissive they are about
computation-related patents.

I have seen it suggested that it is a very bad idea for engineers who
may be working with things that have been patented before to go looking
for such patents -- if you then violate a patent, it may be held to be a
deliberate violation, and the damages are then greater. This is also
something that could vary depending on jurisdiction.

I would think you would already know this, but the starting point for
your literature search should be journals (and I presume that was what
they had in mind by suggesting that you search the literature), and
there are a number of good indexes for same. After all, it's not just
patents that impact the patentability of something. If it's been
previously published but not patented, that previous publication may
preclude patenting it.
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by Jan Vorbrg » Tue, 04 Apr 2006 16:26:38


> Lawyer logic is a very fuzzy and context dependent logic.

Well, that would depend on the context, wouldn't it?

In fact, I am finding that putting my source code reviewer's hat on is
a good starting point to discuss contracts with lawyers. It requires a
similar way of thinking: you need to ask yourself, "do I relly intend
this", and you need to check that all conceivable scenarios are covered
in one way or another.

But interpreting legalese - now, that's another matter.

Jan
 
 
 

O/T: Patenting a computational scheme?

Post by glen herrm » Tue, 04 Apr 2006 17:22:26


(snip)


And compiling it is another matter altogether.

-- glen