A Software Patent Discussion with Matt Levy

By Gene Quinn
April 18, 2017

Matt Levy

It is probably fair to say that Matt Levy’s views are contrary to mine with respect to many patent related matters, but particularly so with respect to software patents. It, therefore, probably comes as a shock to at least some that we have a very cordial and friendly relationship. We chat whenever we are attending the same industry functions, we get together for lunch periodically in DC, we talk via telephone, and we swap e-mails.

Until recently Levy, who is also the author of Patent Progress, was patent counsel for the Computer & Communications Industry Association. However, Friday, April 14, 2017, was his last day at CCIA. Levy will now join Wiley Rein in the firm’s Washington, DC office.

One of the things I have always liked about Levy is that while we do disagree about much, we do so in a way that is not disagreeable. I also greatly appreciate how he always tries to work with me to figure out at what point in our analysis we go separate ways, which leads to some very interesting and lively conversations (as you might imagine). By doing that, however, we also discover just how much we actually agree, which sometimes is surprising.

Recently we were swapping e-mails and something came up that I found particularly intriguing. I told him I thought we really need to take this on the record and he agreed. What follows is our conversation, which took place on January 23, 2017. The publication of this interview has been delayed for several reasons.

Before proceeding, a disclaimer: The views expressed are Levy’s, who was speaking for himself and not for the CCIA, any of its member companies. That out of the way, without further ado, here is my interview with Matt Levy.

 

QUINN: Thanks, Matt, for taking the time to chat with me today I really appreciate it.

LEVY: It’s my pleasure.

QUINN: The reason I wanted to reach out and have this conversation was because in a recent email chain you and I were going back and forth and you said that you think we probably agree that innovation is key or critical to the economy or economic growth, and you said that we probably would agree that patents are critical for protecting innovations. But you said that you thought where we may disagree is on whether patents drive or follow innovation. And we can talk about any of this but that’s really why I wanted to go on the record with you, to have a conversation about that point in particular, because I have mixed feelings about that. I think in some instances patents drive innovation, and in other instances patents may follow, but I really want to get your thoughts and let’s just have the conversation go where it may.

LEVY: Sure. I’ve been thinking about that since I wrote it; I think I do believe at least at some fundamental level innovation comes first. I think that human beings are truly inventive, creative beings who’ve invented everything from fire and tools up to writing and all the amazing inventions that human beings have come up with long before the modern computer age. Some things are really incredible if you stop and think about how people came up with them. So people are inherently creative. But there is some point at which even if someone innovates they’re not going to have the drive to do something with it on a larger scale without some sort of protection. And I think that’s where something like patents come in is to enable the development on a larger scale. There may be follow on innovations that happen along the way that arguably would not have happened without the patents. So it’s probably a little too glib to say that all innovation always comes before patenting. I think there may be some — there are probably innovations that come afterwards. But I think at its core innovation comes from human beings’ inherent creativity and the patents really are there to let us do something with those innovations on a larger scale and get them out to people. I think it’s safe to say that in many industries without patents we wouldn’t have the development of products that we do. Pharmaceuticals are a classic example but they’re not the only industry that benefit from patents.

QUINN: That’s right.

LEVY: I guess that’s my starting point.

QUINN: Yes, and there are probably many industries that do, many innovations and many innovators that do. I wonder – this is fundamentally a very difficult question – I suppose in many regards how you feel about this probably dictates to some extent which side of the aisle you line up on when people are saying are you pro-patent or are you more anti-patent. And such is probably not a fair characterization as I’ve come to learn in my conversations with you. You’re a pro patent guy in some real large respect, although I think the perception of you is that you’re against patents. And maybe before we go any deeper let’s address that issue right here. How would you characterize yourself?

LEVY: I think I am pro appropriate patents. I absolutely believe that patents are a proper tool to use to protect innovations where there’s a risk of copying. I don’t want to be too simplistic about it. I think that there are a lot of very positive aspects to patents. The problem in my mind comes when we allow patenting that’s just much too broad. And this is really because of my background in software. If someone patents something at too high a level, too abstract a level, they end up capturing way more than they invented. And so they end up being able to block other people from doing things that they should be able to do. This is really where the software industry, programmers and developers especially, start clashing with the patent system; the way the software industry developed from its early days was through sharing and reusing code. There are even books that describe what are called design patterns, which are these high level patterns that you implement in code. They might give some low level code to implement a few things but generally they’re describing at a high level data structures and algorithms; the implementations are using pretty standard techniques. If we allow people to start patenting things like design patterns, programmers get heartburn and start freaking out, because there’s no way that the person invented every possible use of that design pattern. So patents do tend to clash with software, and that’s where a lot of tension comes in. But I can absolutely see the benefit of patents for many industries.

Pharmaceuticals, as I said, is a perfect example, but there are plenty of other industries. I was watching a show a year or two ago; I was on the road and I was watching some show on household inventions. The host would find small inventors who would come up with a useful household product and then they would pick a couple of them to pitch to an investor, who would then do something with it if they liked it. The winning inventor that night was this guy who had developed a special rim for a glass. The idea was that it was intended originally for a wineglass; it was some pattern in the rim, it was very small but apparently it stimulated your tongue in a way that made the wine less bitter. And he actually had solid patents on the idea. He had spent a ton of his own money on it; the investor decided to go with it because the way he had written the patents allowed them to invest not only in the glasses but to look at other — he had patented some other possible uses of it with other cups. And I was looking at this thinking, well, this is perfect, this is exactly what patents are for. The guy had a brand new idea. He invested time and money into it. It would be something that would be very easy for other people to copy if they saw it, so it’s perfectly appropriate. The patents here let the investors take the risk of developing a new product. Now whether it ever went anywhere I don’t know. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the glass on the market but still that’s the basic idea of patents, right? It’s not a reward so much as it’s a chance to let the inventor invest in the invention without fear of all that money and effort just going to waste because somebody comes and rips them off.

QUINN: I guess in some respects I wonder how you wouldn’t characterize it as a reward. It feels like a reward in some important ways; a reward for coming forward with the innovation. And just to circle back for a minute before we go down that path with respect to software, which I suspect will take us down a long path. I think we disagree about this to some extent, maybe some very large extent, because I think software should be patented. I think in a lot of respects too much got patented and too many people who didn’t really understand software technology were both representing inventors and were trying to be inventors.

LEVY: Right.

QUINN: And I think you see some – let’s just say very thin specifications. Any time I do a patent search I can almost guarantee that the first time an inventor tells me what their software is I’m going to find it. And if you read them, and I read these things all the time, and most of what I’m reading even from three, four years ago would have almost no chance of being issued if it was filed today. So much more is required. But one of the frustrating things from my perspective dealing with those people who are programmers is usually when they’re talking about patents, and being stopped by patents, the start and end of what they look at is the title of the invention. And they throw their hands up and say oh, how could this be patented even with good patents. And that becomes frustrating. And maybe it’s frustrating simply because the patent system has gotten so complicated that unless you have a PhD in patents you can’t understand what is actually being protected, which is maybe another conversation for another day. But I do think that if you have a software invention that really is an invention and you can really describe it and you explain how to bring it into being from a technical standpoint that should be treated no different than any other invention, which is why I personally am uncomfortable with using 101. I think we have to be using 112.

LEVY: Well, so I agree with the first part of what you said, which is that assuming that there’s something technical here and you describe how to do it and how to bring it into being — I think I wrote this on your site, actually — then I do think that there’s a space for software to be patentable in those circumstances. I disagree as far as whether it’s 101 or 112. So the 112 versus 101 debate is interesting and I’ve had it a number of times and I’ve thought about it quite a bit. I actually think if we started from scratch what we might do is essentially require software or computer implemented inventions to come under means plus function almost automatically so that we just don’t even worry about it. You have to put in the implementation details. You’re going to claim it functionally because that’s actually the clearest way to claim it and if we don’t have to worry about whether you’ve given enough detail to explain how it works, then we’re done. I think part of the problem is that means plus function has not been interpreted properly in my opinion, because that’s been applied so loosely. Now that may be changing, I certainly hope so, but there was a long period where unless you actually literally used the word “means” it was not going to be interpreted as means plus function even though it was supposedly only a presumption. It was a presumption that was never rebutted as far as I could tell in Federal Circuit case law. There were a number of years where it was 100% if that word “means” was there it was means plus function. If “means” was not there it was not means plus function. And that’s problematic for software, because you often have a module for doing something, or a component for doing something. And if I can’t go buy that component, if I can’t look at it and say okay I know what to go buy to do that then that’s probably not enough structure. Again, I’m over simplifying because we’re just having a discussion here. But that’s the basic idea.

QUINN: I don’t know that you are. And maybe I’m going to shock you because I’m going to disagree with you, but I think I’m going to disagree going in a different direction that you might expect. I personally would think the law should be that if you do not use means plus function language or any terms that are legally equivalent then it should not be means plus function. But — but I think when you’re using means plus function what you as the writer have to be doing is thinking to yourself that I am intentionally invoking this treatment and therefore by using language I am reading in the technology that I’ve disclosed into the specification into my claim. So if you don’t use means plus function then you’re not doing that unless you have gone through the painstaking process to define things and then you’re pulling in a definition the way that you would in any other kind of patent, which in the software space is maybe a little bit tougher to do if you’re not using means plus function language. I always tell people that I think you want to write your specifications to support use of means plus function claims, you know, write your specifications so that you could use means plus function claims even if you don’t. That way you have that information there, which will necessarily create a specification with a thick technology discussion.

LEVY: Right. I think that’s good advice. So what I was going to say is that I think that what has happened, at least historically and I’m hopeful that this is changing, is that many people, applicants would — well, patent attorneys let’s be honest — would draft language that was basically functional but not invoke the means plus function language by not using the word “means”; then they manage to persuade an examiner essentially that it was means plus function but it’s not in the record. That way they can then argue that the claim is a much broader version and it’s not means plus function. Of course, the judge following Federal Circuit law says, oh, well the word “means” isn’t there and you didn’t clearly say that it was means plus function so therefore it’s not. And we get these absurdly broad claims this way. That’s the root of a lot of this problem, the whole 101 versus 112 debate.

QUINN: It is. But you know, I wonder who are these examiners because so many of us don’t deal with the examiners that –

LEVY: It has changed. Yeah, but this has changed over time so that now the office trains them to be more aggressive in just forcing applicants to be clear about whether they’re invoking means plus function or not. I think that may be a huge part of the solution: just require it to be in the record whether these claims are specifically getting means plus function treatment and which ones are not. That makes it easier for the examiner, makes it easier for people later once the patent issues. This is probably another topic for another conversation but clarity of the record would solve a lot of the problems that you and I are talking about, just making sure that we can look at a patent and easily know, oh, okay, that’s means plus function even though they didn’t use the word “means” so I don’t have to look outside the spec to figure out what this means. It should be right there.

QUINN: Right. But you know the thing is there has been this cottage industry for a very long time of getting the broadest claims you can get and patting yourself on the back for getting ridiculously broad claims.

LEVY: You and I agree on that. Yeah, you and I agree on that completely. I think it’s bad for your client, I think it’s bad for the patent system. You should be getting a patent to protect what you invented and reasonable variants. It shouldn’t be that someone can just make a little tiny tweak and get around the patent if there’s something fundamental there. You should be getting basic some sort of reasonable equivalents, and what those are obviously depends on the field and the invention itself. But otherwise you should get what you invented and not a lot more.

QUINN: Right. And I see some of these claims and they’re so broad and it does kind of make you wonder. And then by the same token I see some claims that are getting shot down as patent ineligible and they don’t seem really particularly broad to me. They don’t seem particularly abstract to me and I don’t even know how you could begin to know whether they’re abstract because — and I guess I’ve struggled to articulate this and I think I may have recently here figured out what’s really bothering me in a way that I can articulate it, maybe in an elevator pitch. So let me try it on you. These 101 decisions are being made without any prior art but the Alice/Mayo framework forces the decision maker to decide whether or not there’s something inventive and to see whether there is only that which is conventional, because that which is conventional can’t contribute to patent eligibility.

LEVY: Right.

QUINN: But once you start going down that path now you’re considering things that have historically come up only under 102 and 103, but now we’re not even applying any prior art. We’re just subjectively determining whether or not it’s conventional or it’s not conventional and I think that that’s a huge mistake. I think that question has to come up under 102, 103 and then under 112 we ask if it is actually described properly. Otherwise we are left with a test that is nothing more than subjective, which is why all the previous tests in the software industry have ultimately collapsed under their own weight. Once judges came to the realization that look you seem to be against these types of patents so every decision you make using the same legal standard that the rest of use is a negative. And I use the same legal standard that you use and every decision that I make is that they are patent eligible. That’s really what ultimately killed the Freeman Walter Abele test.

LEVY: Right, right. Well, so you know an interesting point that you raise about the term “conventional means.” There’s a practical reason, as I’m sure you know, why 101 has taken on so much power: it’s because at the moment it’s the only real question of law that you can use to challenge the validity of a patent. Everything else is at best a mixed question of fact and law which means you’re going to have trouble arguably getting even summary judgement on it, much less judgment on the pleadings. It’s incredibly expensive if you have to wait that long and go through discovery.

QUINN: Right, I get that. The problem I have with that is you still have to interpret the claim. I mean, you’re deciding at the very beginning in these Alice/Mayo framework questions what is the claim directed to. Well, how can you have any hope of knowing what it’s directed to and whether or not it is directed to a judicial exception if you haven’t interpreted the claim? And I guess where this starts to really become extremely problematic, because admittedly some of these cases that started coming up over the initial couple of years people would look at that and nobody was getting real agitated about because the party that lost the patent shouldn’t be expected to be able to get that patented. So we kind of shrug and wait for another case. But when you see the PTAB say that an MRI machine is not patent eligible that’s when a lot of people say, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the phone! It’s an MRI machine. And what they did there was to look into the body of the claim and say that it seems to them that the new feature was this classification system, which is software related, so therefore the claim is directed to this software related thing despite the fact that the claim is explicitly written to cover a machine that would include the software. But when you get to that level of dissecting the claim I don’t know you can in an honest way – and by that I mean honest to claim interpretation precedent – go through that analysis without looking at the specification in great detail and looking at the prosecution history. So in other words, I don’t know how you can do any of this in the more difficult cases at least without a thorough claim construction.

LEVY: Well, all right. So let me see if I can say back to you what I think your point is because I think I get it. So I think what you’re saying is that, look, maybe these simple cases you can do in the pleadings but for some of these more complicated ones really it’s just over simplification to try and do it without, at a minimum, some claim construction and possibly some genuine fact finding about what the state of the art was, what was known, what was truly conventional.

QUINN: So let me say one more thing, and throw one other key thought out there because I want you to talk about all of this if you can. I also fundamentally don’t understand how in so many of these cases, and you see the particularly at the PTAB where they will reverse an examiner on 102 and 103 and say, no, examiner, this is novel and nonobvious. But you know it’s patent ineligible because it’s an abstract idea. That just doesn’t compute for me. How could it be abstract to the point of infirmity if you did a 102 and 103 analysis?

LEVY: Yeah, but that’s not quite what they’re saying so I have to disagree with you there.

QUINN: Okay, go ahead.

LEVY: So when they reverse a 102 or 103 what they’re saying is the art that you have cited does not teach or anticipate or disclose this claim. So they’re not saying that it is novel and is non-obvious; they’re saying this art doesn’t work. That’s it. I mean, when they reverse it. So it is completely possible for art to not — for some particular cited pieces of art to not disclose the claim but the claim still be patent ineligible.

QUINN: Yeah, I still have a problem.

LEVY: Now, you have to look at particular cases to see whether the decision is wrong or right but I mean, that’s what they’re saying and I don’t have a problem with that as a general matter. Particular cases might be different but I think it’s perfectly possible.

 

CLICK HERE to CONTINUE READING… We will pick up our conversation with discussion about whether it is possible for a patent claim that has been evaluated under 102 and 103 to be so infirm that it is properly characterized as abstract. We also discuss whether innovation leads to patents, or the prospect of being able to obtain a patent incentivizes innovation.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and founder of IPWatchdog.com. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an attorney with Widerman Malek. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 64 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. Paul Morinville April 18, 2017 12:11 pm

    I can’t help but like the guy. He is ALWAYS wrong, but he is certainly reasoned in his errant thoughts and fun to spar with.

  2. Anon April 18, 2017 12:47 pm

    Mr. Levy has a distorted view of the US Constitution and technology. At CCIA “Matt’s background makes him uniquely qualified as Patent Counsel.” His background is in consumer software applications. It would be nice if he kept to his field rather than tainting industrial software that is tied to real-world physics. Here’s a claim from his granted patent:
    1. A method for flexibly distributing imagery for a shared application in an application sharing session, the method comprising the steps of: generating an image frame update of a screen for a shared application being commonly viewed by multiple different application sharing viewers; caching the image frame update for the screen for the shared application; notifying registered ones of the application sharing viewers of said image frame update for the screen for the shared application; serving said cached image frame update for the screen for the shared application to requesting ones of said application sharing viewers that had been notified; detecting a late joining one of said application sharing viewers; and, serving a pre-defined layout of the shared application to said late joining one of said application sharing viewers in order to facilitate a sequential retrieval by said late joining one of said application sharing viewers of already distributed image frames for the shared application.

    Mr. Levy should stick to what he knows and admit that, today, he’s nothing more than a paid lobbyist, a mouthpiece for money looking for opportunities to not fix but to further distort the US patent system.

  3. Anon April 18, 2017 12:57 pm

    Forgot to add, how many of CCIA’s members are monopolies? Could that be something to consider? What does Mr. Levy think of antitrust laws? On one hand he supports monopolies and on the other he works against the government’s grant of limited monopolies under the US Constitution. We could also go on to look at the number of women/underrepresented minorities at those monopolies. Mr. Levy is a power broker for a certain type of clientele run by a certain type of human. He’s a blues musician? What does he give back to the African-American community?

  4. step back April 18, 2017 1:37 pm

    IMHO there is a shill industry dedicated to convincing computer programmers that patents are bad for them because some sneaky lawyer will write a claim buried in some obtuse document that blocks all programmers from earning a living without paying an exorbitant tax to some undeserving troll.

    It seems that Mr. Levy buys into that story … that too many out there are getting “overly broad” patent claims allowed.

    If that is the case, then the claims should be struck down under 112 for lack of enablement, lack of written description; based on solid evidence.

    The current hokey use of 101 to strip inventors of their Constitutional right of exclusivity (per Art. 1, sec. 8 clause 8) without any due process of law, purely on the whim of some anti-inventor judge or examiner is contrary to the spirit of the American patent system and the right to a fair trial before one is deprived of property (or of life or of liberty).

    How about if we start stripping holders of real estate of their rights of exclusivity based on arbitrary conclusions that there deeds feel “abstract”? I mean, isn’t Euclidean geometry an abstraction to begin with?

  5. Caesar Salazar April 18, 2017 1:49 pm

    Is there an audio transcript of this interview?

  6. Gene Quinn April 18, 2017 1:59 pm

    Paul-

    I have to agree with you 100%. I find that there is always going to be things where Matt and I disagree, many times on a very fundamental level which suggests that there will never be any agreement possible. He is extremely well informed though, and fun to debate. He is also a really nice guy… albeit misinformed (poke).

    -Gene

  7. Matt Levy April 18, 2017 2:58 pm

    Paul and Gene,

    I like you guys, too. I actually do like to try to understand where you’re coming from. As Gene can attest, my views have changed over the years, mainly as a result of listening to other people. It’s why I post here, even though I know there will be a few attackers.

    Speaking of which….

    Anon,

    It amuses me that you attack me personally when you’re an anonymous commenter. Your courage and conviction are truly something to behold.

    I’m willing to come here, to a site where many, if not most, of the readers disagree with me and exchange ideas.

    You’re not even willing to reveal your name. When you decide to stop acting like a little weasel hiding behind anonymity, then we can have a real discussion.

    I’m assuming there’s probably a decent person in there somewhere who actually wants to engage in debate. Of course, I could be wrong, like I apparently am about EVERYTHING.

  8. IPdude April 18, 2017 3:26 pm

    Gene,
    What do you make of the announcements by IV and WiLAN that they will no longer acquire patents? Is it telling about the entire patent market or just the NPE model? Perhaps the patent market will improve if the NPE model is done away with (e.g., return of injunctive relief and other legal remedies before NPEs).

  9. Curious April 18, 2017 4:09 pm

    What do you make of the announcements by IV and WiLAN that they will no longer acquire patents?
    Assuming that statement is true, it means that the anti-patent crowd and the large established companies cemented their victory in devaluing intellectual property such that patents have very little real value. If IV cannot make money off their huge patent portfolio, then surely the little guy cannot.

    I’ve said this for years now, and it is worth repeating. If a small entity came into my office asking me to patent technology that is key to their success, my response would be that I could certainly do the work, but I don’t believe that the money invested in patents will help them in the long run. Perhaps the pendulum will change directions sometime in the next 5-10 years, but for the foreseeable future, patents provide very little value to small entities right now. In today’s environment, large companies can pretty much infringe with impunity the technologies of small entities today. I wish things were different, but that is the state of the law right now.

    Perhaps the patent market will improve if the NPE model is done away with (e.g., return of injunctive relief and other legal remedies before NPEs).
    NPEs are merely middlemen between technology creators (i.e., inventors) and technology users. They wouldn’t be necessary if technology users weren’t so reluctant to license technology directly from the inventor’s themselves. Regardless, the return of injunctive relief doesn’t mean the NPE model would disappear. You still need middlemen that can market the technology to those that can use it.

  10. Night Writer April 18, 2017 4:35 pm

    @@ I don’t agree with you guys. This guy is a self-interested sleazebag that has built up a model of the world that served his interests at the expense of the rest of us.

    If he integrated his ideas, then he would have to deal with the inherent conflicts in his positions. But, he built up a nice slam of patents for software to further his career.

    3rd rate mind. zero ethics. Please never write or comment again. Just the worst sort of human being.

  11. Matt Levy April 18, 2017 4:50 pm

    Night Writer, if that is your real name, you got me. Little did you know that Gene paid me 10 times what he usually pays me for this interview. Plus, I outsmarted him, and made him pay me in Bazooka Joe. He has no idea the collectible value of those little comic strips. Bazooka Joe, you sure do make me laugh!

    Also, they sell those models of the world at my local hobby store. I probably should have put the cap on the glue while I was assembling it. Lesson learned.

    But, Nightie, you should really lay off the personal stuff. Seriously, if you’re going to label someone as “the worst sort of human being,” you might want try hiding your IP address properly. But don’t worry, despite my “zero ethics,” I won’t out you here.

    I will, however, give you a stern talking to when I get home, young man. You know you’re not allowed on the computer until your homework is done. It shouldn’t take you too long, since you’ve already done the fourth grade twice now. Third time’s the charm!

    Nighty night, Nightie.

  12. Gene Quinn April 18, 2017 5:02 pm

    For the record… It does not appear that “Anon” is our usual friend who goes by the name “Anon” and has for many years. We appreciate you taking the time to comment here, but “Anon” is a regular and we sometimes have “Anon2” so if you might consider a slightly modified moniker that would be helpful.

    Thanks.

  13. Gene Quinn April 18, 2017 5:09 pm

    Night Writer-

    I have to disagree with you on Matt. I’ve spent many hours speaking with him, and I think I can say that some of his positions have softened over the years. In fact, several months ago he wrote this article that we published:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2016/11/30/software-patents-will-survive/id=75101/

    Which concludes:

    “The reality is that the law needs to settle down and provide some form of predictability. Software can be just as work-intensive and innovative as any other field, so it’s hard to justify some sort of complete patenting exception for software. The problem hasn’t been software patents per se; it’s been bad software patents that overclaim and block others from innovating.”

    I think that surprised a lot of people, and I know he took flak for publishing that article. Still, I think his conclusion is one that is rather mainstream. We can quibble about whether those overbroad patents really block innovation (I don’t believe that) but the bad actors have used really bad patents to harass nuisance value payments out of many for years. The PTAB hasn’t stopped that and neither has (or will) patent reform.

    As for his positions being in conflict, I think you’d be hard pressed to prove that.

    -Gene

  14. Paul Morinville April 18, 2017 6:15 pm

    Matt, Please reread my comment. I said you are ALWAYS wrong. Not wrong about EVERYTHING. These have very different meanings. See what I mean? ALWAYS wrong.

  15. Matt Levy April 18, 2017 6:20 pm

    Paul,

    I hate to nitpick, but I think I’ve characterized your comment accurately.

    Suppose there existed something where I wasn’t wrong. That would contradict your premise that I’m ALWAYS wrong. Therefore, assuming your premise is true, there cannot be something where I’m not wrong; equivalently, I’m wrong about EVERYTHING.

    QED

    Oh, and I clearly don’t hate to nitpick. I guess I was wrong about that, too.

  16. Paul Morinville April 18, 2017 6:38 pm

    If it come out of your mouth, through your keyboard or out of your pen you are wrong. Everything is a lot of stuff, so you cannot be wrong about everything because you cannot comment on everything. It is just when you eject your thoughts on something that you are wrong, making you ALWAYS wrong. Now do you understand why you are wrong in this case?

  17. Caesar Salazar April 18, 2017 6:40 pm

    Matt,

    I must say you have a lot of courage commenting here on this site. People who hold views similar to yours are basically shamed out of existence in many of these threads. The attackers, like you have just experienced, hide behind anonymous usernames (and ironically attack anyone else who is anonymous that doesn’t agree with them).

    I commend your bravery and keep up the good work!

  18. Paul Morinville April 18, 2017 6:47 pm

    For the record, Paul Morinville is my real name. My momma gave it to me… Born with it… post it proudly. What is your real name Caesar?

  19. Caesar Salazar April 18, 2017 6:53 pm

    None of this really matters in the long run anyways. The boomer generation will start to wane and when gen x and millennials are in charge, the world will be a lot different. It’s like that Bob Dylan song about the times changing.

  20. step back April 18, 2017 10:42 pm

    We’re back to that grand schism between them who believe software is nothing but a pure math and them who know there is cooling fan furiously pumping hot air over that overheated, overclocked and screaming quad core CPU chip. 🙂

    (Oh so sorry. I meant to say over that “generic” and irrelevant conventional computer component.)

  21. Anon April 19, 2017 8:11 am

    Above, a different “Anon” (than I, a regular here) posts some remarks.

    To which, Mr. Levy responds:

    It amuses me that you attack me personally when you’re an anonymous commenter. Your courage and conviction are truly something to behold.

    With all due respect Mr. Levy, you beat a fallacy with your reply. Anonymous and pseudonymous writing has a long and hallowed history in this country, and your counter attack drawing on the personal characteristics (or implied lack thereof) is every bit as errant as what you yourself seem to take umbrage with (ad hominem).

    As to the “other” Anon’s comments, I have not read them yet to any depth and have no opinion one way or another.

    Yet.

  22. Anon April 19, 2017 8:14 am

    Caesar,

    Your reply of “People who hold views similar to yours are basically shamed out of existence in many of these threads” is also fallacious.

    Or do you yet have an answer to the suppositions that I have proferred as to your own postings here?

    As I recall, you never did either confirm nor deny my views about your background. Views mind you, expressed with zero of this “shaming” that you now reference.

  23. Matt Levy April 19, 2017 8:20 am

    We’re back to that grand schism between them who believe software is nothing but a pure math and them who know there is cooling fan furiously pumping hot air over that overheated, overclocked and screaming quad core CPU chip. ?

    The type of CPU doesn’t matter if someone else invented it. The fact that someone’s invention runs on a blazing fast processor they bought adds no patentable weight. There’s a real debate to be had over where to draw the line for software, but, unless the inventor improved or created it, the particular hardware isn’t relevant to patentability.

  24. Matt Levy April 19, 2017 8:49 am

    With all due respect Mr. Levy, you beat a fallacy with your reply. Anonymous and pseudonymous writing has a long and hallowed history in this country, and your counter attack drawing on the personal characteristics (or implied lack thereof) is every bit as errant as what you yourself seem to take umbrage with (ad hominem).

    A couple of things:

    Anonymity is important to protect challenges to authority or to allow the expression of unpopular opinions, I agree. I don’t, however, think that anonymity is a good thing when used to lob personal attacks.
    I think that anonymity is important enough for many forms of expression that allowing people to lob personal attacks anonymously is probably a price we have to pay.
    That said, I went back and reread what I wrote in my response. I don’t like it; going into my bio from my previous job and pulling things out of context just to attack me (not anything specific I’d said) got under my skin. I accused the commenter of being a coward and lacking conviction, which I can’t know. In other words, you’re basically right.

    I will say that I like this Anon better then the other Anon. I agree with Gene, first Anon, you need to pick a different nom de plume. Since you haven’t stepped up, I will dub you Nonnie.

    Nonnie essentially said that because I used to be paid by a tech group, my opinions weren’t mine. And apparently my experience in computer science and software design isn’t sufficient to entitle me to have an opinion on software patents.

    Nonnie, that’s just silly. I should have just said it was silly and mocked you for it. Instead I called you a unprincipled coward. I’m sorry, Nonnie. Next time I will ridicule you and the ridiculous things you write. (I’m going out on a limb and assuming you’ll say something else that makes no sense.)

    Mr. or Ms. Anon, thank you for pointing out my fallaciousnessitude, or whatever the word is.

  25. Night Writer April 19, 2017 10:11 am

    @11 Matt:

    I could go through your book in detail and your positions in detail to support my position. The reality is that I have done it with so many other people like you on these blogs. You are all the same. What I said stands.

    And, I note that you didn’t bother to address the main substantive point I made. That your positions are inconsistent and if you ever integrated your thinking you would have to admit that you have built up a separate model for information processing patents when there is no reason to do so. Information processing patents and advances occur just like they do in all the other areas.

    Try to engage on that point. I know you will lose on that point. And that point is why I said the rest of it. People like you all play the same games. I have taken down many professors that try these games.

    So, let’s see a list of the differences between information processing patents and other types of patents. You have just artificially created categories (those witch software patents) to further your own ends.

  26. Night Writer April 19, 2017 10:12 am

    And, by the way, people like me are anonymous because if we weren’t some of our clients would not like what we write. We have very good reasons for being anonymous and this is recognized as an integral part of free speech.

  27. Night Writer April 19, 2017 10:14 am

    I am also sure that any dialogue with you will end just like it does with people like Lemley. They don’t answer the questions put to them and feel entitled not to engage and just spout whatever nonsense they think they can get away with.

  28. Matt Levy April 19, 2017 10:50 am

    Nightie,

    Glad to see you’re refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Since you want me to engage with your “positions,” here’s what you espoused in your original comment:

    @@ I don’t agree with you guys. This guy is a self-interested sleazebag that has built up a model of the world that served his interests at the expense of the rest of us.

    If he integrated his ideas, then he would have to deal with the inherent conflicts in his positions. But, he built up a nice slam of patents for software to further his career.

    3rd rate mind. zero ethics. Please never write or comment again. Just the worst sort of human being.

    Your positions can be summarized as: Matt is a stupid jerk face. I did engage with that by mocking you as being at a fourth grade level.

    If I had any idea what “integrating ideas” meant, or which positions exactly you think are in conflict, I’d engage that. Apparently I’m supposed to do your work for you, and then argue with myself. Not going to happen, Nightie.

    I’m sure your clients wouldn’t be thrilled with the things you’re saying. They’re not based in fact. I never “built up a separate model” for “information processing patents.”

    All I said was that they affect different industries differently, and, in my opinion, they’re not a naturally good fit for software. I tried to explain some of the reasons why I think that.

    You’re entitled to disagree, Nightie. Feel free to pick out reasons I gave and explain why you think those reasons are wrong. Hell, go ahead and “go through [my] book in detail.” I’d love to know what you think.

    (To the audience: what Nightie doesn’t know is that I’ve never written a book. Won’t he be surprised to find that out!!! So let’s keep that a secret between you and me.)

    If you want to add my head to your imaginary trophy wall of people you think you’ve “taken down,” knock yourself out. But maybe, some day, you might realize that the reason people like Lemley and I don’t “engage” isn’t a feeling of entitlement.

    It’s that we don’t know what you’re talking about, and we only have so much energy to spend trying to understand you. At some point, it’s up to you to communicate your ideas to me if you want me to respond.

    I will respond to the only position of yours I clearly understand: I respect your right to think of me as a stupid jerk face. Honestly, Nightie, I don’t really care.

    I will now join Lemley in ignoring you from now on.

  29. gene April 19, 2017 11:56 am

    give the anonymous posters credit for honesty. the Alfred Kaminski’s and David Geist’s of the world are easy to fake and i can’t believe intelligent people fall for the simple {first name}{last name} bait. many organizations do not allow their employees or associates to post on social media (or websites). we would not want to miss their input would we?

  30. gene April 19, 2017 12:06 pm

    Hi Matt, i tend to agree with your views. you should not be surprised that the folks who are frustrated by the requirements of the patent laws in regard to software also are frustrated by the differences between opinions, facts, and evidence.

  31. Paul Morinville April 19, 2017 12:15 pm

    gene, There are legitimate differences in opinion, but the facts are the facts. There are real facts, like venture capital fleeing to China and the US patent system now 10th in the world, tied with Hungary, and there are lies like the economic costs of $29B and $80B still being batted around.

    If you opinion is based on lies, you have no credibility here. If you opinion is based on facts, but it differs and you can articulate a reasonable explanation of why you view it that way, you have full credibility here and I enjoy what you say.

  32. Night Writer April 19, 2017 12:18 pm

    @28 Matt: I wrote >>So, let’s see a list of the differences between information processing patents and other types of patents. You have just artificially created categories (those witch software patents) to further your own ends.

    And you cannot figure out what it means to integrate your ideas from what I wrote above? And you talk about different categories above too.

    Whatever Matt. My initial assessment of you was clearly correct. A clear take down of you.

  33. Night Writer April 19, 2017 12:22 pm

    @30 gene: Facts? I challenged Matt to tell us some differences between information processing patents and other types of patents to support his creation of different categories and different conclusions for different categories.

    Mine was a fair question that Matt did everything possible to ignore and blow smoke to avoid answering. So, no substantive discussion with Matt.

  34. Night Writer April 19, 2017 12:26 pm

    And, Matt, you are making different conclusions for different categories of patents, so asking you what the difference is between the categories are to support the different conclusions is a fair and relevant question.

    Your reaction indicates that you know full-well that you cannot answer that question. But, please go on and continue to call me names and ridicule me with your buddy “gene.”

  35. step back April 19, 2017 12:32 pm

    The fact that someone’s invention runs on a blazing fast processor they bought adds no patentable weight.

    @23
    In other words, if it was an invention in the biochemical arts and the inventor had “bought” his/her ingredients rather than inventing them him/herself then recital of those ingredients in the composition of matter claim (or method of making claim) deserves no patentable weight?

    Wow.
    I’m learning new patent law every day.
    Thank you Professor Levy 🙂

  36. step back April 19, 2017 12:34 pm

    Oops me thinks my CPU forgot to put in a terminating blockquote

  37. Curious April 19, 2017 12:54 pm

    The boomer generation will start to wane and when gen x and millennials are in charge, the world will be a lot different. It’s like that Bob Dylan song about the times changing.
    Fortunately, by the time gen x and the millennials have the power to make serious changes, they’ll realize their idealized notion of ‘free intellectual property’ is a bad idea. While there will always be people that give away the fruits of their labor for free, most will not.

    If I ask my neighbors to come over to my yard and do my spring cleaning for me for free, they’ll look at me as if I have two heads. However, the anti-patent crowd (of which Mr. Levy is one) are essentially asking inventors to give us their inventions for free. While this may not completely stop innovation, it will certainly suppress innovation. People don’t like to have their creations stolen, but intellectual property, by its very nature, is easily stolen. Consequently, unless there are strong protections in place for intellectual property, many of these people will cease to stop innovating to avoid the aggravation of seeing other people profit from their own creations.

    Many baby boomers flirted with communism in their youth. However, as they grew older, most realized that communism was an attractive ideal that just didn’t work in the real world. Both pure communists and the anti-patent crowd presume that people will work just as hard regardless of incentives (or lack thereof) for working hard. However, that idealism ignores human nature in which people are offended when they work harder than the next guy but get the same amount in return. There is this fundamental element of fairness that both communists and the anti-patent crowd ignore. As such, I’m not worried about gen-X and the millennials — they’ll figure it out.

    There is reason why every major developed country has had a patent system for a very long time — it works and it is important.

  38. Matt Levy April 19, 2017 12:54 pm

    @23
    In other words, if it was an invention in the biochemical arts and the inventor had “bought” his/her ingredients rather than inventing them him/herself then recital of those ingredients in the composition of matter claim (or method of making claim) deserves no patentable weight?

    Really? You know very well that your comparison makes no sense. A system claim and a composition of matter claim are not the same with respect to patent-eligibility. There is no “abstractness” concern with a composition of matter.

    The patent-eligibility of software cannot rely on known, preexisting, unimproved hardware. See Enfish or Electric Power Group, or Alice for that matter.

    You certainly didn’t learn patent law from me.

  39. step back April 19, 2017 1:06 pm

    Yeah, but what if I was trained in the “math” of chemical philosophy?
    What if I believed that the Periodic Table is an abstraction and any recital to any of the abstract objects in said class of abstract elements is pure abstraction?

    Then 101 surely applies to the biochemical arts.
    (p.s. Did the Professor forget to assign Myriad v. Assoc Molecular whatever to the class?)

  40. Night Writer April 19, 2017 1:09 pm

    @38: Matt: The patent-eligibility of software cannot rely on known, preexisting, unimproved hardware

    So, what is the relationship between hardware/software/firmware Matt?

  41. step back April 19, 2017 1:10 pm

    On a deeper philosophical dive, note that the Universe is a natural phenomenon.

    Ergo, everything in the Universe is natural phenomenon.

    Ergo squared, all inventions within the Universe are natural phenomenon.

    And therefore not patent eligible. 😉

  42. Night Writer April 19, 2017 1:12 pm

    @38 : where in Alice is that supported?

    I can see you are one of these people Matt that has no interest in science or reality. You want to live in this make-believe world of the SCOTUS and the Google purchased CAFC. You can cite law, but law cannot change science.

  43. step back April 19, 2017 1:16 pm

    OMG Night @40

    You poor thing.
    You made a big mistake by taking courses in the hard physical sciences.
    Now your brain is warped.
    You can’t bring yourself to understand that “software” is independent of the physical Universe and floats in a lambda space untethered from any of the constraints that might hobble a hardware/firmware engineer.
    That’s a shame.
    😉 /end sarcasm

  44. step back April 19, 2017 1:24 pm

    OMG #2 for Night @40 and 42

    You also forgot … you poor unwashed thing
    To take out your magic law eraser
    And erase away the part in your copy of section 101 that comes before “or improvement thereof”

    You should have learned from law Professor Levy that only the “improvement[s] thereof” are patent eligible, not that other stuff!

    I’m so glad I had an opportunity to set your straight

  45. angry dude April 19, 2017 1:31 pm

    IPDude @8

    “Is it telling about the entire patent market or just the NPE model ?”

    Dude,

    there are no NPE-nodel or no-NPE-model patent markets

    it’s either we have market for something or we have no market at all

    it’s like requiring owners of real estate to actually live in their properties to be able to sell them – crazy and not workable at all

    same with any other type of property, including patents and copyrights

    property is property. period.

    (unless Scotus explicitly says that patents are public domain and not inventor’s property)

  46. Edward Heller April 19, 2017 1:32 pm

    I must say that I was surprised by the content of this conversation in that others beside myself are openly talking about whether the Supreme Court is conflating the issue of breadth, which inherently is a 112 problem (written description, enablement, definiteness), with whether the claim is claiming a new and useful machine, manufacture, composition or process.

    Clearly the lower courts and the Federal Circuit seem to be interpreting Bilski/Mayo/Alice that breadth is a 101 problem, i.e., that a claim so broad as to include in it nothing of the novel means or methods for achieving a claimed result presents 101 problem in addition to presenting a 112 problem.

    But how the Federal Circuit could have gotten to this from the Supreme Court cases is a wonder. The Supreme Court in both Bilski and Alice was dealing with business methods claims, claims that did not actually recite or require novel apparatus, but which were rather directed to inventions that were business method in nature and mathematical in particular in the case of Bilski. Breadth and business methods are not necessarily the same thing.

    Thus, to even fail Alice step 1, in my opinion, the claim should not be directed at all to improvements in machines, manufactures or compositions, but to mathematics or business methods, basically, the manipulation of abstract ideas. A claim that claims an otherwise statutory machine, manufacture, composition or process but does so broadly does not present a 101 problem under Bilski/Alice. Rather it presents only a 112 problem. I think the Federal Circuit needs to recognizes this.

    But I recognize were Mr. Levy is coming from – the ease of invalidating claims under 101. That is driving defense counsel and perhaps the Federal Circuit.

  47. Matt Levy April 19, 2017 1:43 pm

    OK, this will be my last comment. The mockery is fair game; certainly I started it. But Step has brought up something that I think is worth commenting on seriously.

    Step, there is something called the lambda calculus, which is useful for representing functions, but I doubt that’s what you mean.

    Software is inherently mathematical, and yes, it does exist apart from the physical world. Software can be instantiated into a physical manifestation, like a circuit, like firmware, or software running on top of an operating system.

    Alan Turing, among others, created a model of computation before there were physical computers, and those models are still used today. (While recursion theory, which is the study of what is computable, isn’t that active any more, computational complexity theory which studies the feasibility of solving different problems, is.)

    There are very real limits to what software can do, regardless of the hardware that’s used. There are fairly easy to explain problems that cannot be solved programmatically at all. And there are problems that can be solved, but even the fastest computers imaginable couldn’t solve them before the universe ends.

    That’s not to say that there aren’t massive practical engineering problems in creating hardware that implements software. Of course there are. But those are distinct from the software itself.

    Every scientific area has its own language and its own basic truths. Computer science is no different, although it straddles mathematics and engineering, i.e., the abstract and the physical. (And yes, fields like physics and chemistry have theoretical branches and practical branches, too.)

    It’s why so many of us struggle with the patentability of software. If you don’t see that, I think you’re missing a big part of the picture.

  48. angry dude April 19, 2017 1:46 pm

    Mr. Levy:

    Is this “abstract” math formula patent eligible or not ?

    C = M^e (mod n)
    M = C^d (mod n)

    If your answer is NO then stop typing on your keyboard immediately cause you will be using RSA algo which is an “abstract math” software patent which those anti-software patent clowns despise so much

  49. Night Writer April 19, 2017 1:56 pm

    @47 Matt: You said nothing. And, please, many of us have graduate degrees in computer science. I studied theoretical computer science at one of the top ranked universities in computer science.

    What you said is garbage. What you meant to say was that in your head there are representations of software that are abstract. So what? You obviously are a third-rate mind.

    (Now that he Matt says he is gone, we can all call him names and say what we really think.)

  50. Night Writer April 19, 2017 2:07 pm

    Matt says: >>Software is inherently mathematical, and yes, it does exist apart from the physical world.

    OK. Where is it Matt? In the spirit world like Stevens believes? It will take a lifetime for you to untangle the mess you have created by going after information processing patents to make a buck and reputation.

  51. angry dude April 19, 2017 2:33 pm

    C = M^e (mod n)
    M = C^d (mod n)

    So… yes or no, Matt ???

    And you (even you, Matt) can do it entirely in your head (for small numbers, of course)

  52. angry dude April 19, 2017 2:51 pm

    Curious @37

    The communism mantra they used to teach kids was:

    “From each – according to his/her abilities,
    To each – according to his/her needs”

    Nothing wrong with that: if my needs (food, clothing, housing, utility bills, car payments, kids expenses etc etc etc) are taken care for by someone else then I’ll be more than happy to engage in inventing activity without thinking about profiting from it – just because it’s interesting and intellectually satisfying.
    Alas.. maybe in another universe
    In this universe if I tell electric company to cover my bill just because I invented some cool little gadget and published design online so everyone can build it the’ll turn my lights off and submit me to collection agency (and possibly recommend psychiatric help)

  53. step back April 19, 2017 2:55 pm

    @47 Professor Levy,

    LOL. This is exactly where I understood you to be coming from:

    Software is inherently mathematical, and yes, it does exist apart from the physical world. …
    Alan Turing, among others, created
    a model of computation before [before ???] there were physical computers, and those models are still used today. (While recursion theory, which is the study of what is computable, isn’t that active any more, computational complexity theory which studies the feasibility of solving different problems, is.)

    Without revealing names, I personally know someone very high up in the computational theory field and have had a number of discussions with said person on these issues.

    Computational theory is not a “science”. Yes it is a math. Turing’s machine is a physically impossible fantasy (a mathematician’s fantasy). It is impossible to have a read/write tape of infinite length (because for one thing it uses up all the matter in the Universe) that spools at infinite speed (because that exceeds speed of light) and then forever reads/writes its ones and zeroes (because that uses up all the energy in the Universe before time runs out).

    Yes I understand the need for and beauty of doing computational theory analysis (one of the reasons we dumb engineers don’t do the bubble sorts anymore).

    However, real “science” has real physical circuits clocking at real limited frequencies, consuming energy, pumping out heat, needing those screaming cooling fans and suffering from alpha emission and metastable bit flips.

    The hardware … it move nonetheless.
    Peace. 🙂

  54. Curious April 19, 2017 3:16 pm

    Software is inherently mathematical, and yes, it does exist apart from the physical world.
    Software is only partially mathematical. Moreover, if you want to delve down deep enough, any physical structure (and interactions therebetween) can be described mathematically. As such, your comparison of software to math doesn’t help unless you are looking to say that everything shouldn’t be patentable because it has some relationship to math.

    It’s why so many of us struggle with the patentability of software.
    You publicly struggle with the patentability of software because that is what you were being paid to do. Supporting (or not) the patentability of software is a business decision to the likes of the people you used to represent at the CCIA. To them, having software be patentable was bad for business. While I’m sure many of them had patents, the benefits they obtained from having those benefits were outweighed by the perceived negative aspects of patents (e.g., those companies had to license the technology and/or defend against patent lawsuits).

    This is not a philosophically-driven debate. This is a debate driven by the bottom line. Your support for the unpatentability of most software is driven by the desires of the people you used to represent, which was driven by their bottom line. You started with the conclusion (that software being patentable was bad) and came up with the rationales to support this conclusion afterwards. The problem with that approach is that you are forced to use whatever rationales you can — no matter how (un)persuasive they are because you have nothing else to hang your hat on.

    I started out in patent law doing strictly hardware — straight-forward machine and over a substantial period of time, I transitioned into software. From my perspective, any good argument against software can equally be used against hardware. There is nothing special about software that makes it deserving of a different level of protection than hardware.

    What I find interesting about the difference between the anti-patent crowd and the anti-software patent crowd is the type of arguments they can make. The anti-patent crowd does have to worry about making arguments that only apply to software but not hardware. As such, their arguments tend have a more philosophical bent to them. The anti-software patent crowd has to make much more nuanced arguments because they don’t want to destroy hardware patents. It is in their attempt to distinguish hardware and software that their arguments fall flat.

    Like you, I have a financial stake in these issues. However, unlike you, I believe in the patent system. I’m glad that my clients have not asked me to burn down part of it because it is something I would feel very, very uncomfortable doing — so much so that I probably wouldn’t do it if asked.

  55. Anon April 19, 2017 4:29 pm

    Step back,

    Bingo.

    It is but one small step from what you reference to another alternative viewpoint of “MathS” in the sense of philosophy.

    All too often, and only too easily, are those with but one foot in the “technical” zone not even aware of the limitation of just where their one foot is (let alone, having a foot in each of both the technical zone and the legal zone.

  56. Anon April 19, 2017 4:30 pm

    Curious,

    …and your post comes up on another “philosophical” angle – that of Tegmark.

    Well done.

  57. Night Writer April 19, 2017 5:28 pm

    @54 good post Curious. And that is right that software is not math but instructions to a computer. “software” isn’t even really a good term to be using. And, you are right that the chair I am sitting on can be described using math.

    But, like all these contorted money grubbing anti-patent attorneys, Matt will surely not engage in substantive debate. They cannot. They lose. It is like Lemley the unethical. They yap out their crxp meant for the ignorant masses and then turn tail and run when the substantive debate starts.

  58. step back April 19, 2017 6:32 pm

    @57 Night Writer

    Friend, I don’t think it is as ominous as that, namely, that there are evil people who intentionally do evil and then run when the spotlight catches them in the act.

    Instead there are large swaths of people who were trained/educated differently than you and I. They truly believe in their internally-clung-to simpleton models of the world. Asking them to give up those models is like asking them to commit suicide. It isn’t going to happen.

    In other words, for some, the practice of software can never be more complicated than the math and computational theories that underlie the field. Turing’s fundamental base machine is as real to them as is Santa Claus to a 3 year old on XMAS night. Don’t try to take the dream away from them.

  59. Caesar Salazar April 19, 2017 7:05 pm

    Sooooo… is there an audio clip of this interview?

  60. Caesar Salazar April 19, 2017 7:11 pm

    Doesn’t Godel’s incompleteness theorem go against the notion that the real world can be described mathematically without relying on axioms that themselves cannot be proven within the framework of the reference mathematical system?

    Any math gurus here care to comment?

  61. step back April 19, 2017 10:33 pm

    @60 Casear

    What comes to mind is Roger Penrose’s diagram (Road to Reality)

    https://cambridgeforecast.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/worldspenrose.gif
    (View the graphic at the above link)

    Some people cannot comprehend that there are different realms and that physically real computers do not operate in the Platonic mathematical world.

  62. Anon April 20, 2017 7:34 am

    Caesar,

    As I alluded to, check out the writings of one such math guru: Tegmark.

  63. step back April 20, 2017 10:39 am

    Do you mean this?
    http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/mathematical.html

  64. Tiburon April 20, 2017 11:07 am

    > LEVY: ” He had spent a ton of his own money on it and the investor decided to go with it because the way he had written the patents allowed them to invest not only in the glasses but to look at other — he had patented some other possible uses of it with other cups. And I was looking at this thinking, well, this is perfect this is exactly what patents are for. The guy had a brand new idea. He invested time and money into it. It would be something that would be very easy for other people to copy if they saw it so it’s perfectly appropriate the patents here let them take the risk of developing a new product. ”

    You could say the exact same thing about Google/Waymo patents being used against Uber:

    1) Google invested time and money
    2) driverless car technology was a brand new idea
    3) easy for others (e.g. Uber) to copy

    Yet some people are talking about serially filing IPR’s against Google/Waymo patents in order to sway Google’s lobbying efforts 180degress in reverse. What is the difference between the rim on a wineglass and the algorithms behind driverless car technology?

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