Float extensions are out...

Originally posted by Matt Sealey:
The patent rewards the inventor with those exclusive rights, and it protects inventors from being destroyed by larger market forces (for instance if you invented some compression scheme that Microsoft later “borrowed”, you could make them pay you for it).

Enforcing them once they’re a worldwide standard after you let them stagnate in your filing cabinet, and only resurrecting them after a buyout, that’s not a flaw in patent law or the patent system, but in capitalism.

But abuse is not “patenting something that nobody had the foresight to implement before”.
If that were so, patents would be worthless.

Don’t get bitter just because you didn’t. You know a lot of perfectly valid money-making inventions are lost to inventors simply because they stumbled at the first hurdle by thinking it was too obvious to patent. 10 years later someone else patents it, makes a fortune, and they kick themselves for not having done it.

Come on, Matt. This is just utopist. This is like saying that communism is good because it shares the resources with the people. The theory is good, the practice has been demonstrated as an error.
Talking about software patents: In the patent system, who are the main beneficiary of the US patent system? I’m not talking about the theory but the practice (so, please, don’t told me who could be the beneficiary).
The practice is that the biggest corporations (and particularly their legal departments) are the only beneficiary of the US patent system. If you are a small developer company, you will not have the legal resources/experience to fill patents. Even if you fill a patent and a large company infringes it and you want to sue them, you will need large amounts of money. You should remember that in the US more than in other countries, the quality of the law depends on the amount of money that you have in your pocket.
It is even worse, if you are a developer you will be probably sued at the same time for infringing one of the many patents of the big company’s portfolio. It can be true or not, but, again, don’t talking about theory but practice, how many companies in the US do you know that have won the legal process and, after it, need to close their doors because they don’t have more resources? I know some of them. And most of the times the big company has bought the core assets when the little one has filled a chapter 11.
Probably, you should be a company like Eolas that don’t do anything except dedicate yourself to the patent business to take benefit from it.
If the system is so easily and so frequently abused it is because (talking in the practice) is wrong. The main problem is that the companies that are benefited from this system are the bigger ones so its pressure is bigger that their counterpart.
Read about the European fiasco at www.ffii.org, where the BSA (a legal consortium of some of the biggest US software companies) written the patent proposal for Europe, and after refused by the Parliament, when the Irish presidency (one of the biggest sponsors of the Irish presidency was Microsoft that have most of EU factories at Ireland) put it in a text to be voted by the Council. That is, just the biggest companies and the interested politics :wink: wants the software patent system. And the funniest thing is that they say: “we are not working in our interest we are working in the interest of Europe and the European companies”.
Please, Matt, don’t be a politic or a lawyer. Or are you?

Originally posted by Matt Sealey:
[b] [quote]
SGI may have patented floating point buffers and textures in order to stop someone else from patenting it with a much more restrictive licensing scheme.

Matt[/b][/QUOTE]This is one of the funniest argument of the people that defends the software patents…
Don’t you think this is a clear argument against software patents?

What a lot of people fail to understand is that “obviousness” is no valid reason to deny a patent.
Actually, it is . It doesn’t stop people/corporations from getting them though.

Patents gives the patent holder a monopol and a monopol is a distorsion of the market, so its bad. patents are against the free market. ask economists, they will tell you that. the question is: Is it worth the trouble? IMHO no. Patents are not about fairness(IMHO one of the most abused terms), its about economy, competion and innovation. And don’t forget that the most patents based on other. so one can lock other peoples innovation.


Originally posted by Overmind:
[b] [quote]
IP Status

SGI owns US Patent #6,650,327, [...]
SGI will not grant the ARB royalty-free use of this IP for use in OpenGL, [...]

I am a bit concerned about the IP Status of these extensions.

What does that mean? Does anyone using these extensions have to pay fees to SGI? Or is it anyone implementing these?[/b][/QUOTE]Have you done something unthinkable like, say, reading the patent? It’s available from the USPTO website, you know?

I find a few things interesting… SGI applied for this patent in June, 1998. The patent was granted in November 2003.

The patent abstract reads:

A floating point rasterization and frame buffer in a computer system graphics program. The rasterization, fog, lighting, texturing, blending, and antialiasing processes operate on floating point values. In one embodiment, a 16-bit floating point format consisting of one sign bit, ten mantissa bits, and five exponent bits (s10e5), is used to optimize the range and precision afforded by the 16 available bits of information. In other embodiments, the floating point format can be defined in the manner preferred in order to achieve a desired range and precision of the data stored in the frame buffer. The final floating point values corresponding to pixel attributes are stored in a frame buffer and eventually read and drawn for display. The graphics program can operate directly on the data in the frame buffer without losing any of the desired range and precision of the data.
Reading the claims, the patent refers to a hardware implementation (unless patent lawyers are very lax wrt what a processor, a circuit and a display are). I honestly don’t see how the patent is relevant for a driver. It’s revelant for the hardware vendor, no questions about that, but not for the graphics driver and most definitely not to something like a software-only implementation of OpenGL.

I agree, this patent bizness is getting out of hand. Actually, it is becoming to a point where it is purely rediculous.
A patent is supposed to applied to some new out of this world invention to prevent it from being copied or reverse engineered by someone else. It is a way to protect your intellectual property.
But it seems that lately, US corporations with their over-paid lawyers are patenting everything. I saw someone, who actually applied for a patent for a lunch box, that was no more than a cerial box with just a piece of paper attached to its side that had a puzzle and 2 holes at the top through which 2 small handles (made of fabric) went through … and that person got the patent for it … so if any parent makes a lunch box out of an old kellog’s box he/she will have to pay royalty to that inventor … !!! see how stupid that is … now it seems that, had lawyers and patent laws been in existence early on in history, we would have been paying royalties for things like having coffee at breakfast or using a fork to eat lunch or using the multiplication table …??? welcome to the new patent world.
Hey, they should fire those lawyers … they take too much of a companies actual resoures … resoures that could be spent on real R&D.

Have you done something unthinkable like, say, reading the patent?

Many companies have policies to NOT go reading patents on a whim. The reason is that, if your company is found to be WILLFULLY and KNOWINGLY infringing on a patent, the damages awarded in court might be triple normal damages. Thus, not knowing, and being able to show reasonably support (using corporate firewall logs, etc), is a priority to some companies.

So, according to this way of thinking, if you’re working for a technology company, and you have a habit of going to patent sites for some light reading, you should probably keep doing that only if you hate your employer and want the worst for the hand that feeds you.

Hi, im interested in trying out these extensions, I am a registered developer, but my drivers dont report support for these extensions, and also the latest glext.h doesnt appear to have the new tokens, where can i get everyting i need to try these things out ??

Originally posted by selwakad:
lately?! hm… i see this going on since the existance of the software business. there will be no change in the future. i guess. there are much bigger things that politics care about. currently, the election is about all :smiley:

the hardest thing for me to see is, they want to bring software patents into europe. as long as it’s the eu, i don’t bother, as i’m swiss, but even then,… this is the wrong direction…

Theses extensions are supported by 3Dlabs Realizm video card (except for the GL_ARB_color_buffer_float) for a long time now.

So you can buy this card if you want to test thoses extensions.

For patent issues, it happened many times in past where some extensions were ‘born dead’ because nobody wanted to support it due to IP issues (see http://oss.sgi.com/projects/ogl-sample/registry/EXT/coordinate_frame.txt , read the Patent Note, very funny).

Maybe thoses ones will be added to that list.

Has someone seen this patent: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parse…RS=PN/4,734,690

I came across this patent after reading this article: http://biz.gamedaily.com/features.asp?article_id=8236&section=feature&email=

The “best” thing is soon the EU will have a similiar patent system.

Originally posted by NitroGL:
Quick question… If those extensions have IP issues, then what about ATI’s? Does it have the same?
I think the companie’s own extensions are always patented, but they don’t always mention it in the spec.

Why do these ARB spec mention patent issues. Shouldn’t they be open to all ARB members for free?

This whole patent discussion is a bit OT, but I’ll add my opinion as well. I’m in general in favor of a patent system, including software. However, I’m not so much of a fan of the systems that are currently in place. Inventions have to be protected, but at the same time I want to ensure market forces are effective. This whole monopoly situation could be solved simply by forcing patent holders to license it to anyone interested. I’d also want some kind of regulation that puts licensing fees in proportion to the investment put into research and development by the patent holder. This way you could get rid of the silly patents. How much research and investment did go into the one-click purchase patent? $100? Well, with licensing fee regulations like this anyone who would license it would perhaps have to pay $20 for his license. Makes the patent pretty useless for the holder => patent won’t get filed in the first place.

It is a surprise that you are in favor of the software patent system. Some examples from your website are infringing some patents.

Have you read the last nonsense about the software patents? Based on the examples in your site, you can be sued by this law firm.

This is as other times: A law firm or a company that has nothing to do with development that buy some patents and begin to sue people for infrigment.

The manufacturer reiterated what other sources have told GameDAILY BIZ: these lawsuits are indicative of fundamental flaws in the American patent and civil suit systems. “You could almost call this a legal version of mafia extortion. Because America doesn’t have a ‘losers pay’ rule, these companies stand to lose more money fighting these suits than they would simply settling and giving McKool Smith a quarter for every system that they sell.”

Florian Mueller, Campaign Manager of http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com told us, “John Carmack is a programming genius but he was squeezed by Creative because they at some point went to the patent office to register some general idea. Now there’s that Texas law firm suing a long list of publishers. Where is this going to go? Is programming suddenly illegal?”

Humus, the problem with the forced licenses is the fair price? Who would set them? It must be a institution with all the informations and there is no one like that. There is a fine paper on software patents at the MIT. There is shown that the advantage for the early birds are big enouth to have stimulation for a invention. Its needs time to copy your invention and in this time you can earn the monopoly rent. copy right is enouth in the software space. patents are not about fairness, which is subjective, its about efficiency. And the patent system how its implemented is highly inefficient.

I was just recently contacted by someone researching a patent, as someone was trying to patent some sort of logging/visualization of intetercepted API calls. (They wanted to know how long my GLIntercept tool had been around)