Bob Zeidman is considered a pioneer in the fields of analyzing and synthesizing software source code. He is the president and founder of Zeidman Consulting, a premier contract research and development firm in Silicon Valley that provides engineering consulting to law firms regarding intellectual property disputes, and he is the president and founder of Software Analysis and Forensic Engineering Corporation, the leading provider of software intellectual property analysis tools, having pioneered the field. His book The Software IP Detective’s Handbook is one of the main books for engineers and lawyers on software intellectual property.


's contributions
    • For decades, a rumor has persisted that DOS was illegally copied from CP/M and that the fortune accumulated by Bill Gates rightfully belonged to Gary Kildall.

    • Antedeluvian: I haven't heard about Intel's copyright, but an assembly language is different because there are many choices for instruction mnemonics. An instruction to move data could be MVE, MOV, MVI, MOVEATOB, or BLAHBLAH. But if you call it MOVE, it would be hard to argue that it was creative. Having said all that, you're right that it's subjective as to what is "creative." So DRI could have argued that the commands were creative. I just think it's unlikely that a judge or jury would have agreed. Also, I found evidence that the Intel ISIS OS used the same commands as CP/M before CP/M, but I can only find documentation on ISIS-II and not the original ISIS. Kildall was involved with ISIS at Intel before he left Intel.

    • I'll be giving a history of events in my talk and answering many of these questions. And I'll take questions from the audience afterwards. Plus, I expect that we'll have some of the early DRI people at the event to contribute their memories of what happened on that fateful day when IBM visited Monterey, California looking for an operating system.

    • Amen, Jack. It's funny how a closed office used to be a long-for reward that came with a promotion. Now people want these open spaces. Maybe many engineering tasks have become like assembly lines where people don't need to be creative. I prefer my private office with a door I can close and think in peace (and do whatever else comes naturally).

    • Back in 1981 I was a student at Stanford when Art Schawlow won his Nobel prize, 30 years after his work on the laser. I took his grad course on spectroscopy mainly for the opportunity to meet him and learn from him. In 1999 I attended his memorial service at Stanford Memorial Church. It was a nice event, attended my more Nobel Prize winners than I'd ever seen in one room. But what struck me was that there were maybe 100 people at the service. He contributed to one of the greatest technological inventions in human history, yet so few people, and no government officials showed up. Movie stars and sports figures attract overflow services and pages of newsprint. I think this is a really sad statement about our society. -Bob Zeidman

    • This is the stupidest idea on patents I've heard yet. There are numerous problems, but I'll just name three. First, if an invention is easily reverse engineered, then that makes a great argument for obviousness. Get what. If it's obvious, it's not patentable. Second, just because you make it easy to reverse engineer doesn't mean your competitor will oblige you and do the same. How about if you just ask them to list all their infringing inventions and send you the list? Third, if you have a limited budget, patent those inventions that have the greatest potential value! Duh. Why would these "experts" in IP promote such a stupid idea? Probably because they provide reverse engineering services. There are at least 1,000 times as many patent applications than patent litigations. This is just a way for them to greatly expand their market. Let's hope their advice is ignored by most.

    • If you believe your IP was stolen, you can use CodeSuite, our set of leading-edge software forensics tools. For more information or to download a free copy, visit the SAFE Corporation website www.SAFE-corp.biz.

    • pkimelman is misinformed. I'm an inventor with a small business who has 5 patents and about 15 more in the pipeline. I've also worked as an expert witness for very large companies, very small companies, and patent holding companies. My own patents take an average of 6 years from filing to issuance with several never being issued -- if anything the USPTO is overly cautious and overworked. The percentage of patents that are initially rejected has risen substantially since 2000 as the percentage of patents that are issued at all has dropped substantially (the statistics can be found at www.patentlyo.com). Also, in my experience big companies don't assert "garbage patents." Part of my job is to go through patent portfolios and eliminate patents that can't be defended. It's a waste of significant time and money for a company to assert a bad patent, and it results in bad PR. The patenting process currently is too long and expensive and should be made more efficient to help the small business or individual inventor with limited resources. On the other hand, once a patent is issued, the small businesses and individual inventors currently have a lot of power, including the power to sell to a patent holding company with resource to enforce the patent, and that's the way it should be.

    • Guess who the current patent system helps most. It's the individual engineer who has a great idea and wants to build a company before the big corporation figures out a solution. Why do you suppose those who are pushing for reform are all big, established companies like Microsoft, Google, and IBM? Anyway, this patent strike is a really silly and poorly-thought-out idea. So Rick, exactly which parts of which patent reform bill do you support and which do you object to? Which patent lobby do your feel is wrong -- those representing big electronics and manufacturing companies? Those that represent universities? Those that represent pharmacological companies? Those that represent individual inventors? Each believes in very different kinds of reform -- and their recommendations in some areas are complete opposites. And how would a "patent strike" convey that specific information? Or is it that the patent system, written into the U.S. Constitution and that has formed the basis of our capitalist economy since 1776, is just wrong and should be abolished? Let's just emulate Europe and Japan, as you suggest in your article, whose economies are in worse shape than ours and whose history of innovation doesn't even compare to that in the U.S. On a final note, I had a nice business selling software to a large company that eventually wanted to buy my software and my patents. After we came to an agreement they tried to sneak onerous clauses into the contract, hoping I wouldn't notice. When I did notice, they told me they would simply produce their own infringing software and dared me to stop them. My business went to zero, and I didn't have the millions of dollars needed to go to court. I was able to sell my patents to a large patent holding company ("patent troll") who has the resources to force the large company to pay license fees or go to court. They assumed a large risk in return for a large potential payout. I minimized my risk and was compensated for my years of hard work. Your simplistic view is that of someone who has never innovated or had an invention worth protecting. It's sad that so many arm-chair engineers like yourself are pushing so hard to destroy the system that protects those who actually innovate and drive the economy. -Bob Zeidman

    • Definitely do what you can to protect your software IP. But if you think it's been stolen, you'll need our CodeSuite tools for comparing and analyzing software IP. Learn more at the Software Analysis & Forensic Engineering website (www.SAFE-corp.biz).

    • Hi Max, "Dark" anything really means "We physicists have no idea but we need to publish some papers anyway." -Bob