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I'd also like to add to this that in our world, it's not the idea or theoretical mechanism that matters, but how well it's implemented.

If I can manage to copy your idea and give it a better UX, more reliability, better prices, etc. and consumers choose me instead, should you really be able to stop me?

I think ideas do matter. Not ideas like the one click order or hey let's put a buy button in a game, but how to accurately recognise everything that's said in a room full of people, how to seperate sarcastic from factual statements in text, how to predict the number of bananas that need to be on the shelf next saturday.

The problem with you copying my invention is that you didn't share my research costs, so you could easily beat me on price. But as they are software solutions, I can bring them to market myself without much difficulty. I can hire or partner with the best UX designers and marketing people and I'm protected by copyright.

I wouldn't want to stop you from working out similar ideas and compete with me, nor would I want to become a law firm spending my time in court with people who had similar ideas. Patents are a danger and I don't need their protection because software ideas are either trivial and shouldn't be protected or they are complex and don't need protection beyond copyright and contract law.

But if I decided to create, for example, a voice-recognition API, I wouldn't be copying your method, I'd be creating my own, better method.

I think the issue is that your patent wouldn't cover your algorithm, it would cover "service which translates audio into text."

No, you can't patent a problem, only a particular solution to a problem.

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