Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Jul 2011 21:16 UTC
Legal I've been sitting on this item all day. Technically, it's about patents and the like, and even I understand I've been beating this dead horse so often it almost looks like it's alive. However, this is an interesting opinion piece by Craig Hockenberry, long-time employee at The Iconfactory, one of my favourite software development houses - these guys breath software and beautiful design, and employ one of my favourite artists, David Lanham. The gist of his story? Software patents are killing the independent developer scene.
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Several Possible Solutions ...
by MacTO on Fri 15th Jul 2011 02:32 UTC
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1) Software developers can patent-mine, basing their products entirely upon expired patents. Of course that has the negative effect that the software industry will be held back 20 years, but it will be an ample demonstration of how patents encourage innovation.

2) Reform the legal system so that the jurisdiction is mutually agreeable to both parties. My understanding is that jurors can be excluded for possible sources of bias, well why not judges?

3) Reform the patent system. Of course some people want radical reforms (e.g. forbidding software patents), but I think that simple measures will cut down on malicious lawsuits.

3a) require a functional implementation be submitted with the patent application as source code in a real programming language. The patent trolls will disappear because there will be no ambiguity to base legal arguments on. Real patent suits can continue because it becomes possible to compare implementations.

3b) There also needs to be some responsibility placed on patent holders to maintain their patents. It can take many forms: actually producing products that implement the patent, actively licensing the patents to other vendors, or perhaps limiting damages to within one year of filing suit (so that they don't conveniently notice the patent violation 10 years later).

I think most people here agree that things have to change. But instead of bitching and moaning, maybe we should be swapping ideas (and preferably ideas that legislators may accept).

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