Gic Chic
Monday, May 24, 2004
Patently Unclear
I have brewed, in wetware, a design for a physical device that behaves similarly to certain critical aspects of public key cryptography. "Why on earth," one might ask, "would you waste time on such a thing!?" It does seem perplexing, even to me, though it has something to do, unavoidably, with how my brain works.

The problem, you see, is that I was curious about the impact of a patent that physically realized what was previously considered a software concept. Since I could, barring a catastrophic bus fault, realize this wetware model in the more concrete form of a patent, it seemed like a good place to start. Despite having achieved the subgoal, the machine has not settled into a final state.

There are a lot of interesting issues at work. The most obvious is that "software patents" are not internationally recognized, whereas physical mechanism patents are. Therefore, internationally speaking, my "invention" would be valid. But what effect would their validation have on the related "software patents"?

It would be easy to avoid reference to those patents in mine, since mine is physical in nature. I would simply define what it achieved, and how it achieved it. An interesting, if not practical, physical security device. Pretty "original", that, possibly with no "prior art". Further, it could be used as a component of higher level "inventions", built on similar physical realizations of their concepts, which would also be valid. Could this resolve the international dispute, at least for this area of work? Could this lead to a whole practice involved in the physical realization of software concepts in order to legitimize international patent claims? Could this dramatically expand the number of patents issued, effectively requiring two realizations in order to protect the actual property?

The only sure answer I have to these questions is that it could undoubtedly lead to an increase in the number of patents. Hazarding a foray into concepts best discussed in my other blogs, I will provide as evidence of this fact that, by implication, this would increase the income of patent attorneys.

With that, for now, I leave the concept behind. Intellectually interesting, but of no real value to me. Hmm. Perhaps the machine has settled, after all.
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