The effects of the Alice v. CLS Bank Supreme Court case have been felt in the recent Federal Court of appeals, Digitech case. The court decided to not even check for infringements, as the initial image processing software was deemed not to be a significant improvement to the computer, but merely a computer implementing a non‑patent‑eligible technique.
On an entirely separate, but equally positive note, last week the UK government announced that from hence forth it will be using an open document format as its standard. To hear (or read) more detail and insight on both these stories, check out Simon’s recent podcast with Red Hat Cloud Evangelist Gordan Haff.
The trolls are coming. It’s inevitable. As the success of cloud computing continues, grows and evolves and the size of the associated deals increases, the eyes of scavenging trolls eager to make a quick parasitic buck are drawn more and more to the opportunities awaiting them in that field.
They can pick up the relevant patents from a number of different sources, notably from failed start ups and from university research facilities keen to get quick pay back for their work. For large corporations for whom trolling is only one of many lines of income, large portfolios of patents will have been created already in the course of their cloud computing business units regular operations.
Knowing that the attacks are coming, that the trolls are poised for battle, what defences can we prepare? This is a situation that OIN speaks directly into. Among the many new updates to their anti-troll arsenal there is an intentional development towards protection of cloud services. This includes the addition of the packages from OpenStack to the new (March 6th) Linux definition, which given the OIN membership of IBM and Red Hat, both heavily invested in OpenStack, means the cloud infrastructure project has serious protection.
If your business relies on open source software, joining the Open Invention Network is an effective defence, worthy of your serious consideration. For more detail on OIN’s move towards defending the cloud, check out Simon’s InfoWorld article.
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 →