Monday, May 28, 2012

I Programmer - Free Online Magazine for Software Programmers

Tonight, I read a few articles on I Programmer, an online magazine for software programmers. In general, the magazine covers lots of topics that should be interesting to programmers plus to a lesser extent those seeking software patents.

The first article I read was Mike James' The Oracle v. Google Trial IProgrammer Reads the Patents. It's refreshingly candid. Mr. James notes patents are not the easiest reading in the world. They follow a stylized format that isn't particularly designed to convey the ideas that are important in the patent and they use a form of words that attempts to make the ideas seem as clever and innovative as they can be.

Mr. Jame's candidly admits after much group discussion about the Oracle-Google trial, I suddenly realized that none of my colleagues had read the patents - neither had I and this meant we were all talking about something we didn't know anything about. So I decided to find out what the patents really cover by reading them from cover to cover - the results were interesting.

Maybe this is no big deal, but I have read articles where it seems clear the author did not stop to read the patents. Why? It is difficult reading! So the journalist/blogger reads maybe the abstract, a little background, glances at an independent claim and then not understanding the technology all that well rehashes everybody else's views. If you subscribe to Google patent alerts, you know what I am talking about. The big news item breaks (e.g., Yahoo threatens to sue Facebook) and a spate of articles are written that all say the same thing.

Mr. James states at the end of reading US Patent No. 6,061,520, entitled Method and System for Performing Static Initialization, his opinion is that if this is patentable they all could be filing about 10 patents a week, if not more.

I am uncertain with Mr. James' conclusion on this patent, but it seems genuine and based on his own understanding after reading the patent. My questions are whether or not the conclusion (1) avoids hindsight (using the invention to be a template to reconstruct the invention) and (2) evaluates obviousness using only the prior art existing when the invention was made (e.g., on the filing date of April 7, 1998) rather than what we know years later in litigation?

The second article I read Patent Wars shows graphically the big picture of the mobile patent wars. See the graph of the relationship between the tech companies, their patent suits and purchase-sale transactions in the mobile computing field.

Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.