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Defensive Patents, Other Fairy Tales

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Feb. 5th, 2008 | 09:32 pm

"Defensive patents" make as much sense as leaving a loaded gun around the house. Like a home robbery, it is more likely it will be used against the home owner then the intruder.

If you have an idea, publish it to establish prior art. Patent trolls come from patent houses that produce no products. This means that they
cannot be counter sued. The fallacy with defensive patents is assuming you will ever use it as a weapon.

What should you really fear? The company you work for changes direction or goes under. It then sells the patent, and the patent ends up in the hands of a patent house.

Trust the people you know running your company?

If you do not, you should be finding a different employer.

But what about the next guy?

You can never know.

The solution is to establish prior art. Defensive patenting just continues the cycle of software patents.

Break the cycle.

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Comments {4}


(no subject)

from: itman
date: Feb. 6th, 2008 08:23 am (UTC)

There is a huge chunk of shit about software patent issues. More harm than good. I also object this defensive patents: rather useless. In addition, it is a waste of money.

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(no subject)

from: rainblogger
date: Feb. 6th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)

I really like your short and sweet take on this. It's so straightforward and on the mark. Defensive patents are so silly.

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Irrevocable promise?

from: dmarti
date: Feb. 6th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC)

Red Hat has a "Promise on Software Patents". I have talked to a lawyer who said it still applies even if control of RHT were to change.

I can see one use for a patent portfolio licensed this way: cross-licensing with a proprietary vendor. RHT could offer another company a license to use its patents in proprietary software in exchange for the other company putting some of its patents under a similar patent promise.

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(no subject)

from: awfief
date: Feb. 6th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)

I totally agree. Write a script to do something? Blog about it. Put it on the MySQL Forge if it's MySQL related. Just do something!

Remember too that patent or no, companies "own" your IP when you work for them. If I write a script to loop through all the databases in the system and run mysqldump on them, that script is property of my company. If I publish it, in a blog post or as software, it's out there in the public domain. That doesn't mean I own it, but it does mean I can use it at my next job without the first company suing me.

This is one reason I love blogs -- not just sharing the idea (so others can stand on my shoulders and come up with better things!) and getting feedback (because I make mistakes!) but also because once it's out there, it's out there.

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