How software patents are delaying the future

software patents

This fall, I went to Amsterdam to talk about "How Software Patents Are Delaying The Future", on a discussion panel organised by the European Patent Office. The other people on the panel were patent attorney Simon Davies, and Ioannis Bozas, a patent examiner at the EPO. The panel was moderated by James Nurton of Managing IP. Despite our very different views on the subject, we had very friendly and informative conversations before, during, and after the panel.

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Patent reform: Can preissuance submissions help?

patent reform

While almost no one thinks that the America Invents Act (AIA) will completely solve America’s patent problems, there are a few provisions in the AIA that may be useful tools in limiting and/or preventing bad patents. One of these tools is the newly implemented Preissuance Submission procedure, which went into effect on September 16, 2012. This procedure allows third parties to participate in the patent application process by providing prior art, which can then be used by a patent examiner to determine whether a patent application lacks novelty or is otherwise obvious. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now seized upon the new procedure to organize a project to identify pending applications related to 3D printing and then seek out relevant prior art for submission. » Read more

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Should software patents be abolished?

patent struggle

We talk a lot about what might be done to fix the problems of software patents, but not much about abolishing them. Abolition seems well-nigh impossible, given current economic and political realities. Serious economists and respected financial institutions don’t usually discuss it publicly. Thus, I was surprised when I finally got around to reading a recent working paper published last month under the auspices of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that argued broadly for patent abolition position.

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Choosing a license for your work

creative commons

Creative Commons

  • helps you share your knowledge and creativity with the world
  • develops, supports and stewards legal and technical infrastructure
  • maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation

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Software patents make front page of New York Times

software patents

This morning the New York Times published a front-page story on software patents. My wife got to the paper before I did, and as I got coffee she told me the story would make me happy. She also said it was too long for a normal busy person to read in its entirety. It is long, but I am happy to see that the closest thing we have to a national newspaper of record is getting the word out about the dysfunction of the patent system. » Read more

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The new software hygiene: Declare a license or risk losing participation

desire path

I had the privilege of working with David Tilbrook almost 25 years ago. He was the first person with whom I ever worked that clearly articulated proper software construction discipline for collaborative endeavours and captured a summary of it under the title, Washing Behind Your Ears: Principles of Software Hygiene.

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What to do about the "patent troll" problem

Patent troll

A new report titled An Overview of the "Patent Trolls" Debate [PDF] is a balanced but ultimately devastating indictment of "patent trolls." It was prepared by the Congressional Research Service for members of Congress, who could actually do something about the "troll" problem. It's a useful primer for those new to the area. » Read more

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Creative Commons applied to government, business, and journalism

Creative Commons BY

For people wanting to learn about Creative Commons and its application in different sectors, there is a sea of materials available online. In particular, Creative Commons international affiliates create a huge number of educational resources that cross language and cultural boundaries.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my work sorting through some of these resources to identify some of the best, focusing on Creative Commons license use for public sector information, for publishing content on a variety of digital platforms, and for generating revenue. As promised, today I’ll highlight some of the resources I’ve discovered. » Read more

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Closing the software patent loophole: Professor Lemley's new proposal

Wright Brothers first flight via NASA

There's an old saying that everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it. The open source community maintains an active voice of indignation when it comes to the harms flowing from bad software patents. So it's worth noting when a leading patent law scholar proposes a potential solution to the software patent problem, as Mark Lemley recently did in a new paper entitled "Software Patents and the Return of Functional Claiming." » Read more

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The first step in addressing dysfunction in the patent system: Admitting we have a problem

patent reform

Does the Apple-Samsung case have a silver lining? For the open source community, the large damages verdict is disturbing, but at least it is drawing public attention to some of the deep problems of our patent system. This week the New York Times ran a front page story on the jury’s verdict that said, “The case underscores how dysfunctional the patent system has become.”

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