Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Issues with the forum and all license/patent related discussion
Alec
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:30 am

Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Alec » Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:56 am

OK, so, to continue the discussion of patents: I'm very interested by all of this as it may have some bearing on my future conduct as a graphics researcher. First off however I want to say that I don't think patents are immoral. I think it's probably true that the patent system is broken, but I'm not convinced it's evil. Specifically, I think patents are exactly the same as copyrights, and it's no more immoral for an inventor to patent his algorithm and charge people to use it than it is for Adobe to copyright Photoshop and charge people to use that. Though I do agree that patents seem to be more powerful tools and more broken in their use. But the point is I have no moral compunction about filing for a patent. Though I'd love to hear any arguments in either direction.

More to the point, however, it seems clear that no one wants to go within a hundred feet of a patented method. I've heard advice that it's better to release unpatented research and then develop and sell an implementation of the algorithm. However, my question is, what about cases where the algorithm in question is quite straightforward (though that's not to say obvious) and could be implemented by anyone with ease? Or where the inventor has no interest or skill in developing engines or starting continuing businesses? Is there any way for an inventor of a novel method to in some way capitalize on that without devoting his life to commercializing the method either through consulting or starting a company to sell implementations? What have people done in the past?

Eternl Knight
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 4:31 am

Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Eternl Knight » Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:08 am

Now that we are in a thread more suited to the topic at hand - I'll let fly... er, "discuss civilly" :P my thoughts on patents. Please note that I am not attacking you in any of this (I don't know you, so for me it is silly to get personal about things), but I will be blunt about how I feel about things so it may come across that way. I apologise in advance :)

My first "issue" is with your comparison between patents and copyrights. This is because copyrights only protect an "expression" of an idea, whereas patents (especially broadly worded ones) protect the idea/concept itself. If Adobe were to successfully "patent" Photoshop, there would be no GIMP, Paint Shop Pro, etc. This is because the idea/concept of a "digital painting via mouse or graphics tablet" would be protected. Copyrights have a longer lifetime than patents because they only protect a specific expression of an idea/concept. I can take that same idea (bringing it back to physics, let's say "Gauss-Siedel relaxation") and express it differently (say through coding an open-source library like Erwin has graciously done) without running foul of legal considerations. If, however, the idea is patented - it doesn't matter how I express it in my work (in my case, code) - I am still legally liable. If I happen to KNOW that the idea is patented and still go ahead with it - I am liable for triple damages.

On your second note, most people will avoid patented research like the plague. This is for two reasons. Firstly, knowing said research is patented means that any implementation would require a license. One should note that in an open-source & indie community (such as that which frequents these boards) - there is not much money around for said patents. So knowledge of the patented material only implies risk with no reward.

The second reason is that (as you have pointed out elsewhere) patents make as broad claims as possible in their application. In a perfect world, this is simply to cover as much of the innovation itself as possible, but the abuse of this practice has made it such that (in general) anything remotely related to the innovation itself can also be covered. that this is partially the fault of the Patent Office is no comfort to those receiving a "cease & desist" from a patent lawyer. This means that even though I make no use of a patent's "actual innovation", I may be covered by one of the broader claims granted and as such are legally liable for "infringement".

Patent lawsuits are costly. Remember that the makers of Blackberry LOST a lawsuit even though the patents in question were deemed invalid days after the case was settled (for 600 million I believe). Add the cost of the actual litigation itself, and you can understand why people without heavy artillery wish to avoid patents whenever and wherever possible.

I am not against patents as a whole though. I am (by qualification, if not actually practiced trade) an Electrical Engineer. I recognise the value of patents in that industry at least. Software patents are a little too close to patenting "mathematical techniques" for my liking. Especially when we are considering physics & collision here. this is a "hot topic" and it is unusual for one side to convince the other side of it's merits in this - so I will leave it alone.

As for how to monetize you innovation(s), I cannot help you. I am in the practice of actually implementing engines/solutions using my innovations. For me, this is the way it should be. I find it somewhat selfish that I should profit from an innovation if I am not actually trying to further advance the area in question. This is a personal opinion only and so is no reflection on you though. Then again, I have turned down well-paying jobs & contracts with firms I have a moral issue with (much to my wife's disgust), so I am probably not the best person to be talking to on the subject :)

In general, the people that have made money from software patents (that I personally know of) have done one of two things. They either implement an actual "solution" using their patent or they sell the patent to a larger firm (usually by implementing at least a partial solution that would interest the firm in question).

--EK

Alec
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Alec » Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:21 am

Thanks! By all means, let fly. I actually love to debate, and I promise I won't take anything personally. Anyway, this thread needed another side to be interesting :) so I'll be happy to play that part.

First off I should retract / admit a mistake regarding the words "exactly the same". I concede that there is a qualitative difference between owning an expression of an idea and owning the idea itself. The similarity I most want to get at between copyrights and patents is that both are a way of retroactively funding some creative act with rewards proportional to the usefulness of the contribution. It's that idea that I mean when I make the broad statement that I support patents. Practically speaking, there are a lot of people (and I'm one of them) who enjoy researching new algorithms, but not implementing new engines, and because those people are providing a useful service to society there should be some mechanism for providing them with a living.

As to owning an idea, why not? If that idea would really never have been thought up without the owner, then it seems that you are still getting a good deal even if you have to pay to use the idea. You can't claim it's unfair that you can't use an idea because of the patent, if the idea wouldn't have existed in the first place without it. In my mind it's just like paying for a tractor -- there is something you can use to help you create wealth, but you can't get it unless you pay for it.

Of course the problems that most people see are that ideas which are obvious or were already around have been patented. That's due to a broken patent system. Actually, to me, those are not even the biggest faults of the patent system. To me, the biggest problem with both patents and copyrights is that they provide money only by limiting access to what should essentially be an unlimited resource. Once software is written or a research paper published, it would cost nothing for everyone in the world to have access to them, while that would create a lot of wealth. (E.g., if everyone had access to all software, that would be great.) In my ideal world there would be some way of judging the popularity and usefulness of software and inventions and allocating money to the creators of that software out of some communal fund. (Of course that's tricky.) Then developers could get the same compensation as they ever did, but everyone would be allowed to use all software and all inventions. It's ridiculous, when you stop and think about it, that Adobe won't let any person simply download Photoshop from their servers, as it would only cost them a couple of cents. It's like turning people away from a drinking well. What you need is some way of funding the software (or the well) that doesn't depend on limiting access.

But to talk about morality: is it immoral to seek a patent? I'd agree, of course, that it's immoral to seek to patent ideas that are not your own, either through trickery or overly broad claims. But I think it's perfectly moral for an independent researcher, working on his own time and without funding from any public agencies, to see to patent his invention (which is neither obvious nor trivial) on the grounds of seeking compensation for past labor. Would you agree with that statement? I suppose that that statement is different from asking whether the patent system itself is moral, as it's possible that the system is immoral while, given that the system exists, it's not immoral to use it, because you are forced to by the lack of an alternative. But if that is the case, and you agree, I think that means we can't be angry at patent holders themselves.

EDIT:
Reread your post and noticed this.
>> I find it somewhat selfish that I should profit from an innovation if I am not actually trying to further advance the area in question.
How so? The innovation itself was the contribution to the field. If you don't want to contribute more than that, that's your right; you should be able to just make the innovation and then walk away. If you've provided a service, it seems you should be compensated for that.

Dirk Gregorius
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Dirk Gregorius » Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:20 am

But I think it's perfectly moral for an independent researcher, working on his own time and without funding from any public agencies, to see to patent his invention (which is neither obvious nor trivial) on the grounds of seeking compensation for past labor. Would you agree with that statement?
Well, I would argue (without offending you) it is immoral to discuss ideas on public forums (this was your intention with your original thread) and then even when you have done the major work to patent them or expand your patent based on this discussion. Also note that your original idea might be based on freely available material as well. I mean which idea is totally new and also absolutely based on your very own thoughts. At least you are using some kind of algebra and calculus plus Newton mechanics. Imagine what would have happend if these ideas would have been patented? This is a very philosophical question I guess... :-)

On the other side you should indeed earn money for work, but there are other ways than patents. If you develop the solution to a particular problem sell it to a big company. Or (even though you don't like it) build a complete system/engine that can be licensed and works. One problem with all this academic papers is that they look great for this three or four examples usually published with them, but if you use them in a more general way they don't hold what they promised. So you come with a patented idea and some company should invest money in "materializing" it in some way, but who is responsible if it turns out that the idea is not so good as its owner claimed? Imagine maybe 2-4 developers integrating your "idea" into a system and then it doesn't work. Even if I don't have to pay a license fee in this case the company just burried 100-200k.

Antonio Martini
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Antonio Martini » Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:12 pm

accordingly to some patents we should be very worried even when using springs or taking partial derivatives.
Ideal considerations apart, if a system like the one of software patents(i'd better say fomula patents)doesn't work in practice it should not exist. I think we can all agree on this? We can live with some summations, partial derivatives and springs "secretly" used somewhere;)

cheers,
Antonio

pinballwizard
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by pinballwizard » Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:52 am

Glad to see this discussion happening. I'm generally against software patents but recognize the reality of their existence. That said, I'm all for healthy discussion and debate about the issue, with no personal offense intended to anyone. So, here are some more thoughts...

Alec wrote:
As to owning an idea, why not? If that idea would really never have been thought up without the owner
This second sentence assumes its own conclusion by assuming that an "owner" thinks of an "idea". I question this very premise of ownership. Someone can _originate_ an idea, but by virtue of originating it, does he automatically own it? What is the concept of ownership? I believe it means exclusive control over use. This concept of ownership makes sense for physical property, where physical reality bars exclusive control of a physical item by more than one person: it is a zero-sum game.

This isn't the case for ideas. As Thomas Jefferson said (http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders ... _8s12.html):
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it.
This doesn't mean that the act of research and originating an idea are worthless, but I think we should distinguish between the issues of "I should be entitled to own an idea" or "I should be entitled to receive compensation for the work of originating an idea". Also, Netwon's words about "standing on the shoulders of giants" should be remembered: every idea bases itself on other ideas, so it is difficult to really say what is "original thought" or what is just plain clear thinking that any researcher could also achieve.

Another problem I see is that patents can so easily change owners. A benevolent researcher might patent a great idea then sell it to a patent litigation company. Said patent litigation company, having bought thousands of patents from other such individuals or small companies, might try to squeeze money out of an entire industry with its war chest of patents. Real example: the '690 patent http://www.igda.org/columns/lastwords/l ... _Mar05.php . Because I am unconvinced of the philosophical tenability of the concept of "owning an idea", I am also unconvinced about the morality of allowing patents to change owners.

My understanding is that the owners of the '690 patent did, in the end, make their money, though. Therefore, submarine patents are apparently a viable business strategy, though it's questionable to me how such patent litigation advances the field (I'd be open to hearing explanations though).

The fact that patents can change owners at anytime makes looking at patented research extremely risky. It's a risk that defies calculation. Almost always the patent holders say "contact us for licensing details". No price is mentioned, so you don't know how much it will cost. You don't know your likelihood of infringement, and if you read the patent to find out, you're only increasing your risk (the triple damages thing that EK mentioned). And you don't know who will own the patent tomorrow.

Alec
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Alec » Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:07 am

Dirk Gregorius wrote:Well, I would argue (without offending you) it is immoral to discuss ideas on public forums (this was your intention with your original thread) and then even when you have done the major work to patent them or expand your patent based on this discussion.
Right, but I didn't do that and have no intention of doing anything like that -- I only seek to patent ideas which were new and original to me. At any rate, let's keep the discussion about "a patent seeker" rather than about me specifically.
Dirk Gregorius wrote:At least you are using some kind of algebra and calculus plus Newton mechanics. Imagine what would have happend if these ideas would have been patented?
I would say it would be correct that they would be patented, in order that Newton would get the money to pay for the years he spent researching the ideas. Now of course when you think of patenting Newtonian mechanics, you imagine huge amounts of money being charged to anyone who lets a ball drop, but that's just a question of how BIG the patent rewards should be; I'm not saying we should give everyone who has a patented idea millions, just that they should get some compensation to cover their costs. The terms of granted patents and therefore how much money one can expect from them are independent of the notion of patents at all.
Dirk Gregorius wrote:On the other side you should indeed earn money for work, but there are other ways than patents. If you develop the solution to a particular problem sell it to a big company. Or (even though you don't like it) build a complete system/engine that can be licensed and works. One problem with all this academic papers is that they look great for this three or four examples usually published with them, but if you use them in a more general way they don't hold what they promised. So you come with a patented idea and some company should invest money in "materializing" it in some way, but who is responsible if it turns out that the idea is not so good as its owner claimed? Imagine maybe 2-4 developers integrating your "idea" into a system and then it doesn't work. Even if I don't have to pay a license fee in this case the company just burried 100-200k.
That's true, but I don't think the fact that there are other ways to make money argues against patents specifically. I guess my real question is this: given that the patent system does exist, for better or for worse, if you spend years developing a truly original and beneficial and non-trivial contribution without any pay, would you, as the inventor, feel guilty in filing for a patent in order to seek some compensation for that idea? So far I think most of the arguments have been against patents in general, against the idea of owning an invention. But as a reality, should one feel guilty in using this imperfect mechanism to seek compensation? If so, what are the reasons? It may be sufficient to say that it will really annoy a lot of people, and therefore one should sacrifice one's own gain for the sake of others. But morals, at least in the US, tend more to focus on individual freedoms: whether you have the right to do something, whether your actions themselves are moral, not the consequences. I'm looking for arguments of the second kind: what makes the action of filing a patent so wrong in and of itself? Or is it just a case of maximizing global happiness with no regard to whether it's right or wrong?

Alec
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Alec » Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:19 am

pinballwizard wrote:This second sentence assumes its own conclusion by assuming that an "owner" thinks of an "idea". I question this very premise of ownership. Someone can _originate_ an idea, but by virtue of originating it, does he automatically own it? What is the concept of ownership? I believe it means exclusive control over use. This concept of ownership makes sense for physical property, where physical reality bars exclusive control of a physical item by more than one person: it is a zero-sum game. This isn't the case for ideas.
Nor is it for software, which is the parallel I was trying to get at before. Why should someone be allowed to control access to software, which is essentially information (and therefore an "idea"), and not to an algorithm? What if an inventor rewrote his algorithm as a small computer program and copyrighted it, and sued anyone who made something very similar to it (as I think you're allowed to do with copyrights)? Wouldn't that be essentially the same as a patent? And yet no one is arguing against copyrights. As I said, I think both copyrights and patents are bad in that they limit access to a non-zero-sum-game resource, as you call it, but they're both necessary evils in order to allocate resources properly.
pinballwizard wrote:This doesn't mean that the act of research and originating an idea are worthless, but I think we should distinguish between the issues of "I should be entitled to own an idea" or "I should be entitled to receive compensation for the work of originating an idea".
That I completely agree with. I think that the main point I'm trying to make is that one should be entitled to receive compensation for an idea. The way that currently works is that the inventor is said to "own" the idea, and then can charge for its use, through patents. If there were another system to achieve the same goal, that would be fine with me. I'm not saying that patents are great things in and of themselves; they are only good inasmuch as they achieve the second goal (of directing compensation). But they do achieve that, and so I say that they are good.
pinballwizard wrote:The fact that patents can change owners at anytime makes looking at patented research extremely risky. It's a risk that defies calculation. Almost always the patent holders say "contact us for licensing details". No price is mentioned, so you don't know how much it will cost. You don't know your likelihood of infringement, and if you read the patent to find out, you're only increasing your risk (the triple damages thing that EK mentioned). And you don't know who will own the patent tomorrow.
pinballwizard wrote:I am also unconvinced about the morality of allowing patents to change owners.
(Putting your words slightly out of order here.) I completely agree with the first paragraph -- the ability for patents to change hands does make things much more complicated and, probably, much worse. However I'm not sure where bad economics, or bad politics, moves into becoming immorality. Certainly people abuse the patent system in immoral ways, but I don't think agree that that makes the patent system itself immoral: it *can* be used morally. I guess it's the same as P2P: our view as developers (because I have been a developer as well, at least on my own) of patents is very similar to record companies' views of P2P software. It's so immensely damaging to us that we can't see past that and tar the whole thing with the same brush. It's certainly possible and certainly moral, in my opinion, for someone to use P2P to distribute their own music or favorite photos, just as it's perfectly possible and perfectly moral for a morally stringent researcher to use the patent system to seek compensation for his uncompensated research.

Eternl Knight
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Eternl Knight » Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:53 am

At any rate, let's keep the discussion about "a patent seeker" rather than about me specifically.
While this is an admirable goal - it will be hard, especially considering you seem to be the only one arguing FOR the application of patents in this particular field of interest on the forums. As such, the best "example" to use when required will be yourself.
I would say it would be correct that they would be patented, in order that Newton would get the money to pay for the years he spent researching the ideas.
Without trying to be offensive, this iw where you ignorance of how & why patents are granted shows through. It is not "legally" possible to patent mathematical concepts in & of themselves. They (along with abstract ideas and laws of nature) are exempt from patentability. When regarding the "nature" of software - this becomes another (much more fundamental) problem to be addressed. I will talk about this later.
I'm not saying we should give everyone who has a patented idea millions, just that they should get some compensation to cover their costs. The terms of granted patents and therefore how much money one can expect from them are independent of the notion of patents at all.
Again, this shows some ignorance about the concept of patents and how they are applied. Patents are, basically, a government approved monopoly on an "invention" (or, more recently, an "innovation"). As such, "how much money one can expect" is very much an integral part of the "notion of patents". Whether someone is WILLING to pay you the amount you ask is independant, but teh simple fact that one has a monopoly on the innovation in question means that anyone desiring/requiring access to it will NEED to pay you what you ask or wait twenty years for the patent to expire.
That's true, but I don't think the fact that there are other ways to make money argues against patents specifically.
Agreed. However, your initial question (as I understood it) was not whether or not money argues against patents, but what one should do to commercialize their research. Patents are only one such way of doing this. So flipping it around, because patents are available does not argue against making money in some other way.
I guess my real question is this: given that the patent system does exist, for better or for worse, if you spend years developing a truly original and beneficial and non-trivial contribution without any pay, would you, as the inventor, feel guilty in filing for a patent in order to seek some compensation for that idea?
This would depend on the idea and how I came about it. Standing on the shoulders of giants is somewhat difficult when said giants demand a fee for the boost.
So far I think most of the arguments have been against patents in general, against the idea of owning an invention. But as a reality, should one feel guilty in using this imperfect mechanism to seek compensation? If so, what are the reasons?
Actually, what most people are expressing on these boards (and pretty much world-wide from my reading & experience) is that they are not against patents "in general" but the use/abuse of "software patents" in particular.

For example, it is not possible to patent Newton's laws of dynamics. However, were they discovered today, they could be patented so long as the calculations in question were performed on a computer. This is important. Patents in other areas apply because no matter how they are used - they are a "legal patent". If I patent the use of "inverse electro-magnetic fields to bend light around arbitrary objects" (i.e. some sci-fi invisibility field). It doesn't matter if I do it with static magnets, electro magnets, positrons, or silly string - so long as the inverse electro-magnetic fields are used to bend light, the patent holds. However, with "sofware patents" the patent only holds if the "computer" is used to implement the invention. I could come up with a novel way of inverting matrices that is orders of magnitude faster than anything you have ever seen. However, that by itself is not patentable. Stick it into a computer however and it is. Given the amount of math in physics engines and the innovations surrounding them - this is a hot topic, and one that should not be brushed over to argue about "general patents"

One should also remember that software patents are only valid in the US, Australia, & Japan (unfortunately, the only countries I have worked for/in). And in the last case before the Supreme Court of the US, it was remarked that the Supreme Court has yet to rule on sofware patentability. In other words, it is still possible that software patents as a whole will be deemed unconstitutional (though this is by far to complex an issue for me to make predictions on it).
I'm looking for arguments of the second kind: what makes the action of filing a patent so wrong in and of itself? Or is it just a case of maximizing global happiness with no regard to whether it's right or wrong?
The action of file "a" patent is not wrong. The action of filing "specific types of patents" is another question. I think part of the problem we have in communicating on this issue is the fact you want to argue generalities when it is the specifics that are at fault.
...copyright stuff...
One thing you need to remember about copyright is that one can only sue for infringement if there is a provable case that the infringing IP is a "derivative" of the original. That is, you need to prove that I used the original in some "significant" fashion to create my copyrightable work. If I come up with an almost identical copyrightable work without knowing or or referring to your copyrighted work - there is no infringement. This is not so with patents. It matter not that I came up with the innovation the patent covers without ever referring to yours. The fact that you patented the innovation before I did means I am liable, regardless of how I came about the innovation.

--EK

Alec
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Alec » Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:30 am

Eternl Knight wrote:I think part of the problem we have in communicating on this issue is the fact you want to argue generalities when it is the specifics that are at fault.
I think you're right. You've quite rightly pointed out I'm very ignorant about a lot of the issues of patents, and I don't feel that I have the experience to judge one way or another on a lot of the large issues being brought up, so I'll try from now on to stay away from those. I guess pretty much the one thing I do feel that I know is that I don't feel guilty having sought a patent for my own work, which I'm completely convinced is original. (Included in that statement are of course some general ideas -- such as, it's OK to file for a patent in at least some cases. That's why I was arguing those points.) So if we want to come to any resolution (hopefully an agreement), let's keep it as specific as possible: should one such as myself, an originator of a genuinely new idea, feel guilty for having filed for a patent?

Maybe people have already answered this question and I've missed it -- if so, sorry. But this is the only one that is of interest to me and which I have an actual opinion on. I'll leave all the other questions to the far more experienced and knowledgeable people on this forum to debate.

Antonio Martini
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Antonio Martini » Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:42 am

Alec wrote:That's why I was arguing those points.) So if we want to come to any resolution (hopefully an agreement), let's keep it as specific as possible: should one such as myself, an originator of a genuinely new idea, feel guilty for having filed for a patent?
that's a personal matter i would say, i havent read your paper, however i personally would feel very guilty for a few reasons:

1. making claims broader than the "invention" like you mentioned.

2. patenting something while relying in my everyday life on unpatented things and so not paying for them. Seems a bit selfish and greedy.

3. This stuff may go in the hands of lawyers and it may
force small companies to close just because they dont have any money for a proper defence even being right.

the above seems to apply also to you? anything else? what do you think about the above points? in the specific case i would say that the method is not gonna save lives, so if you want to make money keep it secret and sell it if sombody is willing to buy it. Looks like that some people want both make money and also be famous, one of the two isn't enough.

cheers,
Antonio
Last edited by Antonio Martini on Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alec
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Re: Position Based Dynamics: Patent

Post by Alec » Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:51 am

In response to 1), it's still a provisional patent so the claims haven't been put in yet. So I'll dodge that issue for now. As for 2), I don't think I'm being greedy, as I simply wouldn't have worked on the invention if I hadn't had the prospect of remuneration. Thus I think doing the work and trying to get money for it is still a net gain for the world at large. I don't think that the existence of other patents and ideas changes this. Finally, as for 3), that is one reason I agree there are grounds to feel guilty over. However in my case I don't feel that anyone would accidentally infringe my patent, as it's a very specific algorithm (not, e.g., the basics of springs) and, in my opinion, not obvious from the previous work. Therefore they'd have to read the paper and know there was a patent before they implemented anything, and therefore could not infringe other than intentionally.

As for making money and being famous, of course that's what everyone wants, and there's nothing wrong with that. As it happens, however, the larger consideration in this case is that publishing is what keeps academic progress going. So publishing is always a good thing, in my opinion; it's not just fame-seeking (though of course it helps with a career). And as for being rich, well, I'm just looking to get paid for the years I worked on it, not looking to buy a yacht.

It was very interesting to discuss this matter as an intellectual debate. As it seems to be tending towards being more personal, and having given both my rationale for the general case and then my defense of my own actions, I'm going to leave it at this. It was really interesting hearing from so many people with so much experience on the matter; definitely I learned a lot, so thanks! Regards,

Alec

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