Monday, March 14, 2011

Essay about Software Patents

Long essay by Daniel Tunkelang

A Practical Rant about Software Patents: "As things stand today, software patents act as an innovation tax rather than as a catalyst for innovation. It may be possible to resolve the problems of software patents through aggressive reform, but it would be better to abolish software patents than to maintain the status quo." Read More...

He's very clear that he's opposed to software patents in their current form, and presents an overview on what is going on with software patenting today from his basic view point on how software patents are damaging innovation in software development.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Threat Of Parallel Filing

Thoughtful article from Simon Phipps of Computerworld on how corporations hiring programmers get them to watch their innovation for ideas that could potentially be patented. "In the corporations where I have worked, programmers have been incented along with other engineers to constantly watch their work for ideas that could be encapsulated in a patent. This 'parallel filing' - developers doing work and filing patents on their innovations at the same time - results in the creation of a ring-fence around each activity in which the engineers participate." Full Article

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Software Patent “Rant” Misses The Point

"Another day, another uniformed rant about the evils of “software patents.” The author quickly demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the nature of NPE patent litigation[...] Examining this sentence by sentence, it’s easy to demonstrate what’s wrong here"
Patrick Anderson, the author of this blog takes a paragraph by a software patent opponent and deconstructs it sentence by sentence rebutting each point as he goes.

Full Article

Obama plans to reduce US patent issue delays

Silicon Valley Sleuth Reports that Obama plans a fundamental rethinking of software patents and a substantial speeding up of the US patent issuing process which currently takes a minimum of three years.

They say "The US government has announced plans to cut the amount of time it takes to get patents cleared by the US Patent and Trademark Office.[...] The new plan is to set up a fast-track system that will aim to get important patents issued within 12 months. A review process will also be set up to examine problems with existing patents without companies needing to resort to legal action." Full Article

Saturday, March 05, 2011

US Justice Department investigates Web video group

Stephen Shankland at CNET News has reported that the US DOJ is investigating whether the actions of patent licensing group MPEG LA are stifling the Google VP8 video encoding technology. The problem seems to be that MPEG LA is actively seeking businesses with patents related to V8 to see if it can assemble a patent pool like the H264 pool. The complaint is that by publicly doing this, they are scaring businesses away from adopting V8 for fear that they may be faced with excessive royalty charges in the future and using this fear to unfairly force people to licence H.264.

There's a lot of background on the MPEG patents history and some interesting quotes from people who have previously attempted to break the H.264 licensing model

On2 (2002):
"'MPEG-4 is trying to monopolize the substantially software-based interactive video compression industry, plain and simple,' ... 'It is a move by a few very large companies to dominate a market and fix prices. Recent pricing policies by MPEG LA for MPEG-4, and the customer reaction to them are ample evidence of this.'"

Nero (2010):
"'Absolute power has corrupted MPEG LA absolutely,' said Nero, which makes CD- and DVD-burning software, in its complaint. 'Once MPEG LA obtained monopoly power in the relevant technology markets, it used that power to willfully maintain or extend its monopolies for years beyond their natural expiration...and administer its licenses in an unfair, unreasonable, and discriminatory manner that stifles competition and innovation, and harms consumers.'"