Re: patents and academia


please let's stop this thrad on this mailing list. Not making any  
judgment on the content here, but the mailing list is semantic-web,  
and we are clearly off topic here talking about patents and industry.
Fell free to continue the conversation as "personal" email, at least  
to me and perhaps other interested people.

Just a note. Your views on the life in academia are quite general. I  
guess both in academia and in the industrial world you can find  
"virtuous" and "evil" examples. Every system has its pros and cons,  
often coming from somewhere else.

True that there's over-publication... but don't tell me that's far  
away from hyper .com hype... and results are bad in both cases.

Nobody here is questioning the idea of patents per se. The problem  
actually arises for patents in software, and it is a real a problem,  
as you can derive from the fact that the legislation on the subject  
is not shared worldwide.

It is not the case, as you may imagine, that all academic people have  
no role in the "real world".
There are two problems here. One is that patents are a way to protect  
(and foster) investment in new technologies.
If Dudley's patents were/are relative to a technology that uses geo/ 
meta information, with a specific implementation, it may make sense.  
In this, it is somehow relative to copyright. You can copyright a book.
Can you copyright the idea of "a book that is about crime and police" ?

Second, for society as a whole, patents work well for "applied  
technology" but usually not so well for basic science or  
infrastructures  (like the semantic web, to get back in touch with  
this list).
If your view of economy is to increase overall richness of the  
society (including yourself) and not just taking for yourself  
something from others, you should wonder about patenting "basic ideas".
Thing that in fact can't be done, at least, in Europe.

Andrea Splendiani

Il giorno 19/gen/08, alle ore 15:03, John Milton ha scritto:

> G'Day Dudley Mills:
> Unknowingly perhaps, you have stumbled upon the dirty little secret  
> of academia. Closeted safely in tenured towers, academics routinely  
> dismiss all patents as invalid due to some idea that everything is  
> prior art. Nothing can be original as it all has been done before.  
> That patron saint of academia has to be the Commissioner of US  
> Patents who wrote about 1900 that the patent office should be  
> closed because everything inventive has already been invented.
> Naturally, this begs the question as to how much or many  of their  
> own, endless reams of pubished papers have any real value, other  
> than to justify their tenure by a "publish by the pound or perish"  
> philosophy. In truth, most of the scribblings that academia vomits  
> out are minor in nature, petty in scope and of no real value to  
> anyone. The real value of much of academic output reflects the real  
> value of the academics themselves. Zero. They play at innovation as  
> the fops of former times played at European courts - concerned with  
> minutiae  of no value to the world outside their palace walls. What  
> color, my cravat?  How is my collar turned out?
> Because they eat a daily, free lunch - care of those who do produce  
> - academics never have to actually prove themselves in a world  
> where their income depended on someone actually being willing to  
> pay for their self absorbed, maniacal fixation on the non essential.
> Academics subconsciously hate real innovators because they fear  
> them and what real, productive inventors represent - hence, the  
> constant pull in academia to a kind of intellectual communism. In  
> this pseudo world, ownership must be killed, since ownership  
> implies responsibility. Responsibility would do away with the echo  
> chambers of the chattering classes where each utterance is chorused  
> by the universal academic chant, "Wow, that is profound. Now,  
> listen to what I say".
> My best wishes to you for starting this thread and for continuing  
> it. I have long wondered if in the tawdry emissions of this list, a  
> person of real value actually existed. Best of luck on your patent  
> adventure. May you make ten million. And may the new owner shove it  
> right up academia's butt. What a change if the "watchers" of  
> academia might actually have to become "doers". Take care.
> Sincerely
> John Milton
> Dudley Mills wrote:
>> G’Day Noah,
>> > Disclosure is the whole point of the patent system. Without that  
>> there
>> > would be no reason for the patent system to exist. Please remember
>> > that it is the governments charge to look after the interest of the
>> > public not that of private
>>  enterprises. Disclosure is your part of the
>> > bargain in exchange for a little bit of the public's freedom.
>> Wrong. The matter must be disclosed and must be novel and inventive.
>> > I'd be most grateful if you would point out a major application  
>> either
>> > planned or in
>>  operation.
>> > Sure, <>, have you heard of it?
>> I’d be please if you would point out how Google makes use of  
>> Semantic Web concepts.
>> >I think, perhaps, you chose the wrong free
>>  software developer to pick
>> > a fight with.
>> Not interested in fights. I used GNU’s bison and yacc 15 years ago  
>> to build a
>> computer language parser and was very pleased with it. I hope the  
>> contributors
>> eventually went on to make some money to support themselves in  
>> their old age.
>> > Business don't pay royalties because they see a value in an  
>> idea, they
>> > pay royalties because they have to.
>> A bit of both really; no (sensible) business likes parting with  
>> money but all
>> see that they need to spend to make. They choose to spend to make.  
>> Certainly
>> my licensees (other technology) do.
>> > Please buy my patents and you can have the honour...
>> > The honour of what? Buying morally corrupt legal devices from  
>> someone
>> > who spams a community mailing list in the most inappropriate way
>> > possible so that I
>>  can extort and damage the very community I have
>> > worked for so long to develop and enrich.
>> Most interested to learn of your Semantic Web products, especially  
>> ones which
>> you think I would damage. It is quite possible that what was seen  
>> as threatening or
>> damaging would actually be beneficial.
>> If the result is someone buys the patents and implements the  
>> concepts then
>> the Semantic Web will have lurched forward. Then my messages would  
>> not
>> be spam.
> Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

Andrea Splendiani
post-doc, bootstrep project (

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Received on Wednesday, 23 January 2008 12:58:51 UTC