Page orientation patents, the USPTO, and you
When people or computers at the USPTO detect that a fax has been sent upsidedown and needs to be turned 180°, what do they do? They send it back and ask you to turn it 180°. Why don’t they do this obvious task themselves automatically?
Summarising the problem
I was recently asked to give an introduction to our perspective on software patents. Below is a quickly edited copy of what I sent. The purpose was to help someone prepare for a meeting, so these are starting points, not an overall summary.
Analogy: roadblocks and toll booths
Analogies are useful for explaining the issue to people who don’t have the same background. There’s no single best analogy, so it’s useful to have a few to choose from when the need arises.
Education and software patents
I recently found a paper published in 2004 by European Schoolnet: Software Patents – A Potential Hindrance of
ICT in Education. This if the first paper I’ve found on this topic and I find it well written, so I’ve summarised it below.
Patently-O ESP editorial: Abandoning software patents?
Patently-O was kind enough to publish an editorial by ESP: Abandoning software patents? As well as the hundred comments at the bottom of the article, don’t miss the further comments on comments page 2, and more on comments page 3. The article raised quite a stir.
Interview: Ciaran O’Riordan of End Software Patents
LWN.net interviews ESP executive director, March 11, 2009: Interview: Ciaran O’Riordan of End Software Patents
Looking At Microsoft’s Fat Patents Through Bilski Glasses
Yesterday, (edit: thus, 2009-02-26) Microsoft attacked free software and GNU/Linux users with software patent claims against the Tom Tom Navigator and its implementation of the FAT file system. But do they have a sword or a wet rag? There have been interesting patent rejections coming from the USPTO’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) since the Bilski ruling was handed down by an en banc hearing of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). One is the rejection of one of IBM’s database query patents. It was rejected because the innovation isn’t “tied to a particular machine”. So it’s a happy coincidence that MS claims their technology is running on all sorts of devices. Foot, meet mouth.