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Re: Patents to be Auctioned

From: Renato Golin <renato@ebi.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 09:31:40 +0000
To: dudley.mills@bigpond.com
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org
Message-Id: <1200735100.6236.29.camel@brubeck>

On Sat, 2008-01-19 at 10:49 +1100, Dudley Mills wrote:
> I anticipated the extraction of contact, classification and geographic
> semantic data from web pages and its incorporation in searchable
> databases.

Dear Dudley,

I appreciate your sincerity and calm even after my rant, that's a very
good quality.

If by anticipated you mean "I've patented first", I agree. But if you
mean you thought it first, I'm afraid you're completely wrong. The idea
of searcheable data, especially semantic data and geographic information
is older than all of us. The problem of semantics and how to define,
incorporate and learn from it dates back on the greek era, but the
patent system have merely 200 years, so virtually any idea before that
could be claimed by US citizens.


> I agree that the concept of semantic data is very old and I feel it is
> well past the time that the concept should have had substantial
> commercial importance on the internet.

It will have, and patents are not going to help, in fact they will make
it worse. Big companies like IBM, Google, Microsoft will buy your
patents and disable small energetic individuals or start-ups to
implement the idea.

It's very unlikely that the big companies will ever implement that, as
they normally don't, and just store it to disable competition. Patenting
software, ideas is completely against democracy and capitalism
concentrating capital and blocking technological and commercial
evolution.


> The problem with ideas in the public domain is that they are difficult
> to exploit in a competitive commercial environment with the result,
> generally, that they are slow to be adopted commercially. The purpose
> of patents is to encourage commercial investment.

It is difficult, but that's no excuse for doing the wrong thing.

Software patents won't encourage commercial development but capital
concentration.


> Fair criticism if I had the fire that you espouse but I am retired. If
> Google or Microsoft want the patents, I’d consider those to be good
> homes. But perhaps there is some other person or organization out
> there with the fire for whom these patents represent a more important
> opportunity.

Fair enough, then pass on your idea, make intellectual partnership with
people that can implement and get profit from it. You will be creating
lots of jobs, changing the Internet and getting money from it.

People or organisations with budget for patents won't have the fire to
implement them, that's for sure. That's why start-ups develop while big
companies fill patents, because they're too busy maintaining their old
crap to implement new ideas.


> Years ago I asked W3C if they had any use for the patents (donated
> free). They suggested I setup (yet) another working group. If free
> does not do the job, I’ll try not-free.

Well, what can I say, I hate bureaucracy too, I used to work in the
private sector, now I work for a research institute and on both worlds
bureaucracy is worse than it should and could be.

But again, being difficult is not an excuse to do the wrong way. It's
not because there's traffic in your lane that you'll get the the wrong
way lane.

In my case I'm writing a text (freely available, Creative Commons
license) to help the future generations of bioinformaticians to increase
their software quality. I'd love if it could become a book too, but not
for profit, for 

Anyway,
Received on Saturday, 19 January 2008 09:31:52 GMT

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