Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 4th Jul 2014 12:57 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

A Sailfish developer (third party, so not affiliated with Jolla) has developed a swipe keyboard for Jolla. It's essentially done and ready to go, but he was too afraid to release it. The reason?

I'd like to release this as an open source project, but at the moment I'm not comfortable with the patent issue (I'm interested in any advice on this topic). I live in a country outside the US (and without software patents), so should I just find a code hosting service with no relation with the US?

Fellow Sailfish developers and users chimed in, arguing he should be fine with releasing it as open source and hosting it outside of the US, with a warning that it should not be used in the US. He has accepted this advice, and is currently working on releasing it. While this is great news for Sailfish users, this does highlight the destructive nature of software patents.

Since he's going to release the code as open source, we can be 100% sure that none of the code in there is stolen from Swype and that none of it violates the open source license governing possible other swipe-like functionality (e.g. Google's Android keyboard). Ergo, he has developed this on his own, and has produced his own code, or used code that is freely available. It's a fruit of his labour, possibly infused with code that was meant to be used in a sharing manner.

And yet, despite the above, it's very likely that yes, he is violating a bunch of patents by producing this keyboard, and is, potentially, running a risk. I'm not so sure the legal advice given in the thread holds up - I'm not a lawyer, and neither are (I'm assuming) the people in the thread - but I'm at least happy he is willing to run the risk for us.

Now, I ask you: is this fair? Is this the future that we want for developers and programmers? Is this the message that the United States government, its technology companies, and said companies' public advocates want to send to aspiring hobby developers the world over? Should Europe, India, China, and the rest of the world just accept this?

I'm sure the proponents of software patents will wave this away to solve their state of cognitive dissonance, but I'm honestly and seriously worried about the developers who have not released, are not releasing, or will not release their code because of the bribes changing hands from Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and the rest to Washington legislators.

Patents are supposed to spur innovation, not hinder it.

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RE[9]: ...
by tupp on Sat 5th Jul 2014 21:25 UTC in reply to "RE[8]: ..."
Member since:

Interesting how you are still evading the discussion, so, lets start all over again, how is making a carbon copy of the swipe kb innovating? since that's the question I made in the beginning, not if the patent was valid, I made a simple question, and you people started to ramble, so, can you answer that simple question?

I did not evade anything. I directly answered two versions of your question -- I even isolated both of those questions by quoting them separately and giving a direct answer to each. I can't help it if you do not understand that the matter is more complex than a single sentence. Most of my other statements were necessary to address your subsequent secondary points, which I also separately quoted and directly answered.

I will once again directly answer your primary question, repeating what I said using your terms:

There is nothing "innovating" about the developer in question using the swiping keyboard technique. His mere use of the technique is not innovative, as he was not the original inventor. He did not even apply the technique to a new, different discipline.

The paragraph directly above is your answer (in case you missed it).

Now, a crucial extension of that answer is this point:
Whether or not he "copied" Swype is irrelevant, because sweeping prior art exists for the Swype implementation -- Swype is not the original inventor, as well.

You see, to give credit in the real world of inventing, we generally do not consider intangible things, such as intentions or inspiration. We can only determine who had the idea first, and that is really all that matters.

(Incidentally, the US Patent Office has recently implemented their infamous policy of "first to patent" -- a change from the more reasonable "first to invent" policy -- to the detriment of small inventors, and slowing the progress of innovation.)

If you can't understand how this logic works and/or what it means in relation to real-life innovation, I will turn your question around for you (three times) in hopes that you will begin to comprehend:

1. How is Swype's carbon copy of the ShapeWriter swiping keyboard innovative?

2. How is Swype's carbon copy of the SlideIT swiping keyboard innovative?

3. How is Swype's carbon copy of the MessagEase swiping technique innovative?

Edited 2014-07-05 21:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[10]: ...
by Dano on Sat 5th Jul 2014 21:52 in reply to "RE[9]: ..."
Dano Member since:

If I read the Swype patent correctly, the innovative part was not the swipe part of the keyboard, it was using a database to lookup words in order to make it simpler to use the keyboard.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[11]: ...
by tupp on Sat 5th Jul 2014 22:13 in reply to "RE[10]: ..."
tupp Member since:

the innovative part was not the swipe part of the keyboard, it was using a database to lookup words in order to make it simpler to use the keyboard.

That's an obvious feature, considering the zillions of previous predictive keyboard/keypad systems.

In addition, here are two examples of prior art showing predictive look-up with the swipe part:

Reply Parent Score: 1