Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Software is an application of mathematical equations perhaps, but then hardware is an application of material properties and other laws of physics. Since material properties and laws of physics can't be patented, you're presumably against hardware patents as well?

The capability of modelling a physical system with math does not mean that physical systems are math.

On the other hand, the numerous proofs that software is math are fairly trivial for anyone with a modest background in mathematics.

> The capability of modelling a physical system with math does not mean that physical systems are math.

It's the modeling of physical systems that its patented, not the physical object itself. Those patents usually protect the inventor from people creating any number of variations on their exact design because it's the approach to solving a particular problem that is being patented.

I think there are a lot of people who take an absolute position against software patents and end up going through all sorts of contortions to differentiate between why ideas in the physical realm should be protected and ideas in the software realm should not.

That said, I certainly agree that most software patents are far too obvious and not deserving of any sort of protection. The challenge, of course, is how to fix the system to afford protections to real innovators and not to those who simply connect the dots.

Physical devices (even models thereof) are applications of physics equations, not physics equations themselves. These have been ruled time and again as being patentable.

Algorithms are mathematical equations. They cannot be patented.

Software = math, math can't be patented, therefore software can't be patented.

I know the mantra. I just don't buy it. Math provides the building blocks used to produce creative (and sometimes very innovative) solutions to problems in the form of software. Material properties and laws of physics similarly provide the building blocks used to produce creative solutions to problems in the form of physical devices or mechanisms.

Just because the basic building blocks used to formulate an innovation aren't patentable, it doesn't necessarily follow that the innovation itself shouldn't be patentable if it's truly innovative and worth protecting (which most software patents certainly aren't, but some undoubtedly are).

Since we can mathematically demonstrate software to be math, let's take that off the table. Arguing that part is idiotic.

That leaves the patentability of math. Man I wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time and convince Pythagorous to patent his little triangle formula in the context of architecture. I could make a killing.

Then perhaps the issue isn't that software isn't math, but that the statement "math can't be patented" was simply one made in ignorance and not reflective of the underlying spirit of the law?

Hardware is about particular values, not the equations. Software tends to be more about a transformational equation, but not in all aspects.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact