On Wednesday 06 Aug 2008 20:52, Venkatesh Hariharan wrote:
On Tue, Aug 5, 2008 at 12:28 AM, jtd
In short "specific hardware" is
extremely generic until the
software gets in whence it morphs into "special adoption or
modification of its hardware or organization ".
In the above i have restricted myself to silicon. But the same
could apply to full machines - robots -. What a robot does is
totally dependent on the software. You could make it do flips or
What you should aim at is complete ban on patents for any
software / process / method irrespective of it being tied to
specific hardware, including the results of code being morphed
into machine readable binaries, either for execution on, or
modification of internal elements in FPGA / ASIC / General or
special purpose machines, irrespective of it's method of storage
jtd, I have to agree with you. Given how easy it is to produce
"specific hardware" nowadays, this can be a dangerous loophole.
After some thought my stance is that
1) Any physical device wether described as general or special purpose,
if dependent on an additional input in the form of code (machine
code, binary, fuse map, micro code etc.) to give the device it's
uniqueness, is by this very requirement of code, a reprogramable
general purpose machine.
2) Such code may exist internal to the device in ram, rom, fusemap,
etc., or external to the device.
3) Such code maybe required to be set into the device once as part of
the manufacturing process or intilization process (Commonly known as
One Time Programmable), or at any time during the life of the device
(Flashable or field programmable)
4) By changing the code we can create other unique characteristics for
the very same device. Examples are provided below.
5) In fact the uniqueness is an attribute of the code, not the device.
6) Such code is amply protected by copyright laws.
7) Such devices maybe claimed to be special purpose by it's
"inventors" simply because they choose to use it for that particular
Cases in point
Sound cards. These devices are used specifically for recieving abd
reproducing sound. However sound cards are also used as oscilloscope,
or a Software Defined Radio, Or a radio modem, simlpy by using
different software. The sound card may be used external to a PC, in
conjunction with a microntroller board (yet another special purpose
Set Top Box: These devices can be used as controllers for a variety of
purposes - motor control, robotics, Home automation. again merely
replacing the code inside the device changes it's capabilities
8) Therefore any claimed invention that has code in any form as part
of it's claims should not be allowed to be patented. The merits of
the invention must exist without any dependence on the code.
Any requirements for protection of code is amply met by existing