more patent abuse ?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Peter, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Peter, Nov 19, 2004
    #1
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  2. Peter

    Chris Hope Guest

    Peter wrote:

    >
    > now, a patent claimed for the ISNOT operator !
    >

    http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph...59".PGNR.&OS=DN/20040230959&RS=DN/20040230959
    > or
    > http://tinyurl.com/6d4wf
    > Ahh, wouldn't there be some prior art on this one?
    >
    > Somehow, this rush of patent filing activity by Microsoft looks more like
    > a land grab than an explosion of creativity.


    Extract from the beginning: "A system, method and computer-readable medium
    support the use of a single operator that allows a comparison of two
    variables to determine if the two variables point to the same location in
    memory."

    Outrageous!

    I find documents like this hard to read/understand, but from my
    understanding of it, from points (2) and (3), it applies ONLY to Basic, and
    only to the IsNot operator (as a contrast C type languages use !=). Reading
    further down the patent application it seems to get more and more specific
    so I can't really see the point in filing it.

    --
    Chris Hope - The Electric Toolbox - http://www.electrictoolbox.com/
     
    Chris Hope, Nov 19, 2004
    #2
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  3. Peter

    Tim Guest

    This is an absolutely useless patent. They got it wrong and in doing so have
    assisted the anti scum patent people. My guess is that they are indirectly
    trying to patent a future language addition to vb.net - no variant of BASIC
    I know of (as opposed to Visual Basic, particularly vb.net) has the features
    necessary to support the examples IE the 'new' operator.

    "A system for determining if two operands point to different locations in
    memory"

    Note that the comparison is comparing LOCATIONS not VALUES. The supposed
    "Inventor" is attempting to pre-empt the obvious retrospectively. IE in VB 6
    (as an example, basic never allowed these types of statements from what I
    recall of the many variants) the if not ( is-condition) then expression was
    common particularly for those expressions that tested TYPE information (EG
    class). However, again, these comparison operators are not comparing
    LOCATIONS, they are comparing TYPE information which is a meta data value.

    I don't know the definition of Prior Art, but this is an odd one as there
    must have been thousands of programmers who had attempted to type in some
    form of ISNOT in the past thinking this is logical, however the scope of the
    patent is so skinny that it is hardly worth contemplating. In C++ you can do
    this:

    int *p1 = NULL; // declare a pointer to an integer
    int *p2 = NULL; // declare another pointer to another integer

    both the above pointers are initialised to point to the same memory location
    'NULL' which can be regarded as Zero (and is 'illegal' to use this location
    in Windows - fatal exeception, DOS horrid things, and many other OS).

    C / C++ (and other langauges) already have this:

    if (p1 == p2) ... // if equal then

    or

    if (p1 != p2) ... // if not equal then

    In this case the expression int *p1; means 'declare a variable p1 that is a
    pointer to a variable of type integer. Ditto for p2, so when the Not Equals
    operator is coded above, in the C (and C++) languages you will find a
    comparison of the LOCATION as the operands are Pointers to storage locations
    as detailed in the patent. In fact the above example does not actually
    adhere to the patent as it is still a comparison of the contents of the two
    variables - the variables are pointer variables containing the address of an
    integer somewhere.

    This is more inline with the patent:

    int i = 0;

    if (&i != &i)... // if the address of i is not the same as the address of
    i then

    In C / C++ you would have to be an idiot to code something like that because
    that is a nonsense statement and as soon as you use two differently named
    variables, the address are different (ignoring variable references for the
    moment - another topic, but the patent discusses LOCATIONS not REFERENCES
    and addresses are irrelevant to references). It would be more expedient to
    write

    if (FALSE)
    {
    ... lines of code never to be executed
    }

    since the code that follows the if will *never* be executed - it is a
    techinque used to cut out a block of code without removing it or commenting
    it out.

    All the above have existed since year dot for C, so preceeds the patent.

    Again, a rubbish patent. The patent office should have their bums kicked for
    allowing this pollution.

    IMHO a potentially new element of a programming language that is in the
    public domain (BASIC) should not be able to be patented as that usurps the
    language from public ownership / use / whatever / wherever the ownership for
    BASIC sits. This is what standards committes are for. Certainly one should
    be able to write, copyright, patent worthwhile unique, ground breaking code
    libraries, applications, etc. but stuff like this?

    My 2 cents.

    - Tim






    "Chris Hope" <> wrote in message
    news:1100847507_1473@216.128.74.129...
    > Peter wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> now, a patent claimed for the ISNOT operator !
    >>

    > http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph...59".PGNR.&OS=DN/20040230959&RS=DN/20040230959
    >> or
    >> http://tinyurl.com/6d4wf
    >> Ahh, wouldn't there be some prior art on this one?
    >>
    >> Somehow, this rush of patent filing activity by Microsoft looks more like
    >> a land grab than an explosion of creativity.

    >
    > Extract from the beginning: "A system, method and computer-readable medium
    > support the use of a single operator that allows a comparison of two
    > variables to determine if the two variables point to the same location in
    > memory."
    >
    > Outrageous!
    >
    > I find documents like this hard to read/understand, but from my
    > understanding of it, from points (2) and (3), it applies ONLY to Basic,
    > and
    > only to the IsNot operator (as a contrast C type languages use !=).
    > Reading
    > further down the patent application it seems to get more and more specific
    > so I can't really see the point in filing it.
    >
    > --
    > Chris Hope - The Electric Toolbox - http://www.electrictoolbox.com/
     
    Tim, Nov 19, 2004
    #3
  4. Peter

    C9H8O4 Guest

    C9H8O4, Nov 19, 2004
    #4
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