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Stencil Shadows Patented!? WTF!

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It has been brought to my attention that two guys named William Bilodeau and Michael Songy have filed a patent for a stencil shadow technique (Carmack''s reverse I believe). View their patent claim here Anyone care to comment on any implications of this patent or similar ones. I think it is rediculous for people to patent algorithms like this. What are the odds of this patent actually being enforced? Will these guys have the ability to sue all game developers so they have to pay royalties to use stencil shadows? I find this very hard to believe. I am under the impression that basically anything you pay to be patented will be awarded whether there is proven merit for it or not and the place where things are sorted out is when they go to court. This still is a pain in the ass for the people who get sued by people trying to enforce these rediculous patents. Anyone know of any precedents for software patents? ATS

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Dude, the people who issue these patents are morons. It really doesn''t matter how long it''s been known, or how simple it is. Half the time you''ll get it regardless. One day I swear to god someone''ll patent the wheel.

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It says "filed: October 13, 1999" (4 years ago) so..

Sounds to me like a couple of guys who found out creating software is harder then they thought, so they thought they''d make some quick cash by sueing anyone that used ''thier'' algorithm by patenting it ("hey, it''s the American way" )

I don''t have any 3D programming experience, but it sounds like some algorithm to create shadows, which can be done in many ways. And proving, in court, that a certain program draws shadows using the "patented algorithm" is not practicle, and also hardly worth the effort.

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quote:
Original post by cowsarenotevil
Why does no one actually read my posts? They are NOT making money off of it, because it''s illegal. They have as much of a chance of winning a legal battle as a dead monkey.


Please do not spread incorrect information. Software patents are perfectly legal in the US and Japan. They have always been, and they are aggressively enforced over there (for example the marching cubes algorithm, GIF and MP3 compression, CSS encryption, the infamous SCO vs. Linux trial, etc). Until now, software patents are illegal in Europe. They will decide in 3 days, if they will remain illegal or if a US-style model is adopted (I hope not).

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quote:
Original post by Yann L
Please do not spread incorrect information. Software patents are perfectly legal in the US and Japan. They have always been, and they are aggressively enforced over there (for example the marching cubes algorithm, GIF and MP3 compression, CSS encryption, the infamous SCO vs. Linux trial, etc). Until now, software patents are illegal in Europe. They will decide in 3 days, if they will remain illegal or if a US-style model is adopted (I hope not).



Oh really? I did not know that (I didn't now that those were US patents, I just thought that many programs refraind from using them because they were illegal in some countries). My mistake.

EDIT: Does that mean I can go and patent a bunch of open source programs now?

[edited by - cowsarenotevil on September 21, 2003 3:39:54 PM]

[edited by - cowsarenotevil on September 21, 2003 3:40:44 PM]

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quote:
Original post by cowsarenotevil
EDIT: Does that mean I can go and patent a bunch of open source programs now?


If you can prove you invented the algorithms (or you have enough money to shut up the original inventor, which is unfortunately often the case), then yes. But you'll have to go through a long and expensive process, until you get your patent granted (or not). And you will not be able to enforce those patents in countries that do not recognize them.

BTW, to prevent any misunderstandings: you cannot patent programs, only copyright them. You can patent algorithms, concepts or processes.


[edited by - Yann L on September 21, 2003 4:27:06 PM]

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