Wednesday, December 14, 2011

That patents comment, The Gameshelf

Andrew Plotkin's "The Gameshelf" blog has a posting about the difference between having an idea and having a fully expressed idea as well as a number of other musings.
"The basis of our patent system is ensuring that innovators get paid." I came back with "That's the goal, not the basis", which was probably overcondensed. I was trying to point out that goals are not results. If the existing system isn't doing its job, the system is broken. In theory, you can't patent a naked idea; you have to put it in some kind of physical form. In practice, the boundaries between "idea" and "invention" have gotten very fuzzy; the physical form of software (or process, or a procedure) is irrelevant. Okay, that makes my quote fuzzy as well. The question, as several tweeters have pointed out, is obviousness -- or, the difference between the easy part and the hard part.
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