[Linux-aus] "getting a stupid patents approved" contest

Arjen Lentz arjen at mysql.com
Fri Feb 11 07:25:01 UTC 2005

The "father of Java" recently mentioned a stupid patents contest 
performed by Sun guys ...


During the Q&A, he was asked about software patents, a topic
that has been in the news [8] a lot lately in Europe. Mr. Gosling
fondly reminisced about an informal contest that he and a group of
Sun engineers used to have to see who could get the dumbest patent
approved. He mentioned one patent he got through concerning the
wiring of lights to light switches. The generally acknowledged
winner had patented a process for cleaning glue off of circuit
boards through the application of liquid nitrogen.

In brief, he summarized, the patent examiners are letting any
old thing through. He went on to explain that, while he thought
software patents as a concept were a good idea, he could not see
a way to make the system work in practice. If there was a
solution, though, he expected it would require the current
system to be abolished, to start from scratch.

Arjen Lentz, Community Relations Manager
MySQL AB, www.mysql.com

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