More on Patents

After looking at patents on Wednesday in relation to the Apple v Samsung ruling and applauding Obama’s actions against trolls, patents are popping up again today. We’re taking a look at some realistic changes that could be made to the patent system. Whilst in an ideal world software patents would be eliminated completely, that’s not something that’s really on the cards. So what steps could be taken within the system as it stands to improve the situation? Read some of Simon’s thoughts in today’s InfoWorld article.

Patents; a good time for change

Yesterday saw the unveiling of a new White House initiative to combat patent trolls. The measures are a welcome follow-through to President Obama’s online comments and could be a much needed step towards curbing the power of patents. The announcement correctly highlights the fact that patents are intended to encourage innovation and protect innovators. Patent trolls, in contrast, represent the very antithesis of patents desired usage and outcome; “costing the economy billions of dollars and undermining American innovation”.

Dealing with trolls needs to be a first step though. The patent system contains other flaws, equally damaging to innovation and competitive business practice . Yesterday’s other big patent news was of the ITC’s decision that Apple are in breach of Samsung’s patents  Continue reading

No More Downloads?

There may be something of a trend emerging in sites that provide software code downloaders. First GitHub bowed out of offering the service, claiming that it was confusing for the clients. Then, last week Google followed suit, bringing Google Code Download services to an end. They stated that “downloads have become a source of abuse, with a significant increase in incidents recently”.

GitHub didn’t have an alternative plan for it’s users. Google suggested using Drive to host files, though this is clearly far from ideal as, for a start, no analytics are available for downloaders. Small projects are left with a rapidly decreasing number of options.  Continue reading

EFF Rallies Industry Leaders

Last May Judge Alsup ruled that APIs are not copyrightable. Oracle was left flat on its face, even handing over $1m to Google at the conclusion of the case they had claimed would end with their own pockets being well lined. Feeling somewhat put out by this result, Oracle decided to appeal the decision on the Federal Circuit.

The case has been well covered. Almost everybody with a working understanding of the case is in agreement with the ruling. If APIs were copyrightable the software industry would be transformed in a very negative way, stifling innovation.

A number of amicus briefs have been submitted to the proceedings to make these views known, including one from the EFF, to which Meshed Insights’ Simon Phipps is a signatory. The message of the brief is clear; Oracle should not be pursuing this. Alsup’s ruling accurately reflects both industry and legal perspectives on the case.