February 21, 2010

Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in Intellectual Property, Monopoly Abuse at 14:12 by frifan

I don’t believe in imaginary property and I don’t believe in software patents in general. How can anyone have any rights to your thoughts?! If you come up with an idea, all by yourself, how can someone you have never heard of claim ownership of that thought. Even if they have gone through the trouble of purchasing a patent for it. The problem is that patent applications always, as far as my experience goes, are written in very generalized language to try to cover uses that they couldn’t imagine at the time. This makes them difficult to understand and even harder to use for creating something based on the ideas inside. To me this make the whole point about patents moot, as they cannot help others, only penalize them and kill competition.

I recently found interesting studies on the subject and why it has to stop (highlights). See a patent attorney highlight, or a Venture Capitalist explain why it is so bad and what the US can do about it. Otherwise they will see even more evil practices and patent trolls. Here is a recent example of an Intellectual Venture, by the king of patent trolls. They do not sue themselves, instead it is being outsourced.

"The purpose of the patent system should be to create incentives to come up with something that is both new and non-obvious, which would not be created without that incentive. And, then, of course, the idea is to share that information with the world, via the patent. But here we have a case where this is an obvious next step advance. […] But now we have a case where one company may have the right to prevent others from doing what it makes perfect sense for them to do. That’s not what the patent system was designed to do at all. A patent like this should never have been approved at all, as it serves no useful purpose in "promoting the progress" and seems to go against everything that the patent system is supposed to do." — Mike Masnick

My greatest fear is that the software patent craziness in the US will spread to other parts of the world, which is something they are working hard for as they have accumulated quite a number of them. If they were enforced I could be dragged to court for the work I have done in the past two decades. It would certainly wipe out most of the software industry. Leaving only the biggest players to fight out their disputes in court with hordes of lawyers.

"The real reason the independent software industry emerged is that operating systems and APIs made it possible for independent software vendors to develop applications independently. They no longer had to ask permission of the hardware vendors. This same characteristic of permissionless innovation led to the explosion of independently created services on the internet. The rampant abuse of the patent system has created the opposite condition for the creators of software and web services today.
Not only is it becoming impossible to invent new services on the web without the permission of a patent holder who claims to own the intellectual property embodied in your invention, it is impossible to know who you need to ask permission of." — Brad Burnham in TechDirt

Another great source of stupid patents is Apple, here is some courtesy of Gizmodo.

My second greatest fear in already a fact. Just look at what the pharmaceutical cartel is up to and how they are murdering people. More on that another time…

References: Stop Software Patents

  1. TechDirt
  2. BoycottNovell: Intellectual Ventures, The Pharmaceutical Cartel
  3. Open Rights Group
  4. Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure e.V.
  5. GNU on "Intellectual Property"
  6. It’s The Execution That Matters, Not The Idea
  7. QuestionCopyright.org
  8. A Unified European Patent System – The Historical Perspective
  9. When You Try To Figure Out Who Owns Imaginary ‘Property,’ Things Get Confusing Fast
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