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Up Topic Rybka Support & Discussion / Rybka Discussion / "Obviousness" invalidates patents. Rybka 1 Hyatt/ICGA 0
- - By Ugh (*****) Date 2014-04-16 11:44
@CourtNewsUK: if anyone is interested in a baby buggy patent infringement case, read it here:

On patent law, the most stringent means of protection. I take the court ruling to mean that obviousness (meaning a skilled designer would naturally and obviously come to a particular design) overrules even a patent.
Parent - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2014-04-24 13:47
This has been well known for ages, right? Also that the same applies to copyright. This is why simple idiom, like "for(i=0; i<N; i++)" in C, can never be copyrighted.

'Copy' applies to the action, not to the result. Two things can be exactly the same, without being copies of each other, if they were created independently, without one using any knowledge from the other. Which is actually quite likely, if it is sufficiently obvious.

Any luck with the ethics committee yet?
Parent - - By Peter Grayson (****) Date 2014-04-24 20:35
For some reason the post I made here back when all this blew up seems unavailable. There was a relevant and interesting case proceeding at the time that covered much of the law on software copyright. I've attached the links below because for those interested in software copyright the case law makes interesting reading.

With respect to the Rybka situation my view changed specifically after reading the judges comment in the initial proceedings in section 185/126 regarding plagiarism.

"A competitor might write a program of his own in a different computer language and arranged in a different way and with many improvements of his own but if he obtains the rules for calculating the tax from the original program instead of working these out for himself it is hard to see why he should not be considered a plagiarist.'"

Irrespective of whether or not the Rybka program was a breach of Fruit 2.1 copyright it confirmed for me there were sufficient grounds for it to fall foul of the ICGA rule on originality. It may be questionable whether many other chess engines entered into ICGA competitions would fall foul of it too if examined with the same intensity as was Rybka.

There were some unanswered questions from the software case and for completeness I've included the links below that gave the final UK and European Court rulings.

Software may be clear of copyright but does it necessarily follow the author must be clear of plagiarism? It is difficult to envisage what grounds FIDE would have to criticise the ICGA originality decision because in terms of plagiarism, based on the above judge's comments, Vas was self condemning irrespective of the accuracy of the presented interpreted source code.

Cannot see how Rybka is +1 based on what was already known at the time.

Parent - - By Ugh (*****) Date 2014-04-24 22:15
Peter, your reading of 185/126 is incorrect.

The judge is trying to evaluate the difficult problem of software copyright. He gives (I reproduce below) several "interpretations" which are clashing with one another, and then comes to a conclusion.

126 is a ONE possible interpretation. The judge goes on to compare 127, the pudding. And then goes on to THROW OUT your example 126. The material you quote SUPPORTS Rajlich.

Rajlich is further supported since the OUTPUT of RYbka and the output of Fruit are different. The judge was referring to softwares which gave IDENTICAL outputs.

Finally, FIDE are ruling on the ETHICS of the ICGA case, not the question of originality. Ethics are issues such as should the Panel ICGA contain persons of bias, etc and are therefore to do with the PROCESS of justice, not the decision. Eg, not whether Rybka broke rule 2, but whether the deciision panel was constituted and acted fairly.

He then said:
"125. This does not answer the question with which I am confronted, which is peculiar, I believe, to computer programs. The reason it is a new problem is that two completely different computer programs can produce an identical result: not a result identical at some level of abstraction but identical at any level of abstraction. This is so even if the author of one has no access at all to the other but only to its results. The analogy with a plot is for this reason a poor one. It is a poor one for other reasons as well. To say these programs possess a plot is precisely like saying that the book of instructions for a booking clerk acting manually has a plot: but a book of instructions has no theme, no events, and does not have a narrative flow. Nor does a computer program, particularly one whose behaviour depends upon the history of its inputs in any given transaction. It does not have a plot, merely a series of pre-defined operations intended to achieve the desired result in response to the requests of the customer.
126. The view in favour of the Navitaire case is expressed concisely by the authors of The Modern Law of Copyright and Designs , 3rd ed (2000) (I have assumed that when they speak of 'obtains … from the original program' they do not mean obtain directly, but indirectly from watching the program work), at para 34.64:
'For instance, the writing of a financing program may require as part of the task a careful elucidation of the relevant tax regulations—so that they may be reduced to a series of unambiguous statements—and it will be evident to any lawyer that this alone will probably involve a very large amount of work. A competitor might write a program of his own in a different computer language and arranged in a different way and with many improvements of his own but if he obtains the rules for calculating the tax from the original program instead of working these out for himself it is hard to see why he should not be considered a plagiarist.'
127. There is a counter-example that throws some light on the nature of the problem. Take the example of a chef who invents a new pudding. After a lot of work he gets a satisfactory result, and thereafter his puddings are always made using his written recipe, undoubtedly a literary work. Along comes a competitor who likes the pudding and resolves to make it himself. Ultimately, after much culinary labour, he succeeds in emulating the earlier result, and he records his recipe. Is the later recipe an infringement of the earlier, as the end result, the plot and purpose of both (the pudding) is the same? I believe the answer is no.
128.  I think that the answer to the problem is to be gathered from the passage in Lord Hoffmann's speech immediately following that quoted above …. from the Designers' Guild case: [he proceeded to cite [25]-[26]].
129. The questions in the present case are both a lack of substantiality and the nature of the skill and labour to be protected. Navitaire's computer program invites input in a manner excluded from copyright protection, outputs its results in a form excluded from copyright protection and creates a record of a reservation in the name of a particular passenger on a particular flight. What is left when the interface aspects of the case are disregarded is the business function of carrying out the transaction and creating the record, because none of the code was read or copied by the defendants. It is right that those responsible for devising OpenRes envisaged this as the end result for their program: but that is not relevant skill and labour. In my judgment, this claim for non-textual copying should fail.
130. I do not come to this conclusion with any regret. If it is the policy of the Software Directive to exclude both computer languages and the underlying ideas of the interfaces from protection, then it should not be possible to circumvent these exclusions by seeking to identify some overall function or functions that it is the sole purpose of the interface to invoke and relying on those instead. As a matter of policy also, it seems to me that to permit the 'business logic' of a program to attract protection through the literary copyright afforded to the program itself is an unjustifiable extension of copyright protection into a field where I am far from satisfied that it is appropriate."
Parent - - By Peter Grayson (****) Date 2014-04-25 01:08

  Point 127 is a counter example to point 126 but they are subtly different and the judge's conclusion took into account "because none of the code was read or copied by the defendants". However, by Vas's own statement, he read the Fruit 2.1 code and therefore I did not consider the judges conclusion in the case to be applicable here.

  I took into account that by Vas's own admission, he went through the Fruit published code and thus fell into the category that he gained knowledge "of the rules" from looking at the Fruit code not by working it out himself. Without question he made significant improvements that were his own work, speeded things up and produced a very strong chess engine possibly little different to what others have done in the past in essence when reading previously published work and methods. It seemed to fall within the category described in point 126.

  As I commented in my original post at the time, the elements of Fruit that were of value and being the original work of the author was what should have been highlighted for comparison, certainly not low value elements such as the UCI interfacing code for example, but on reflection that is true for copyright but not necessarily the case for plagiarism.

  It takes us back to the differences between commercialism and academic ethics. What may be permissible in the former may be frowned on by the latter given the academic definition "Plagiarism is the copying or paraphrasing of other people's work or ideas without full acknowledgement." So, as we know, ideas cannot be protected under copyright but they are taken into account when considering plagiarism.

  It would have been better if there were more independent experts on the ICGA panel but it is not clear to me where the line should have been drawn other than excluding commercial competitors. I am guessing none of the panel were paid for their undertaking and therefore it also raises the question would an expert have given it their time unless they had a specific interest in the outcome?

  From my perspective as a consumer the ICGA verdict on Rybka would unlikely have impacted on future purchases with the purchase criteria for any commercial engine being "is it value for money and different to what I already have?" Having said that I still bought Deep Fritz 13 and 14 ... doh!

Parent - By Ugh (*****) Date 2014-04-26 09:41

The tax program analogy doesn't work, other than to clear Rajlich.

As described, there are tomes of written tax law, the first theoretical program involved creative work to express these laws as equations and codings. The second theoretical work short cut the creative work and grabbed its equations and codings by interpreting the equations of the first program. Judge said this is plagiarism. Note also that program output is IDENTICAL for both programs, this is a tax calculation.

Judge said the pudding is not plagiarised, even though it appears identical because the second recipe was independently deduced.

Now, Fabien Letouzey did NOT (we assume) go back to basic chess books (the tomes of written tax law) to write Fruit. He would have gone, like everybody else, to the several decades of accumulated chess programmer knowledge and expressed in hundreds of source codes, tens of thousands of forum posts and various other sources. The huge creative work was already done (for example someone else in the past had worked out the equation that mobility=sum of attack squares). Vas did the same, the only difference for him, was that Fabien had already added some material into the collective chess programmer knowledge pool.

Collective wisdom, and some reports of what Fabien has said, and simple source code readings, suggest that Fruit did not contain any particularly original material, it was just extremely well written.

Add to this the fact that there isn't any direct code that compares, the two programs play different moves (according to ponder stats) and give different evaluations, neither the "pudding" nor the "tax law" cases are very parallel at all, except in that they STRENGTHEN the anti-ICGA-Hyatt case.
Up Topic Rybka Support & Discussion / Rybka Discussion / "Obviousness" invalidates patents. Rybka 1 Hyatt/ICGA 0

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