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08.07.11

(Software) Patents Backlash Becomes Mainstream

Posted in Patents at 2:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Man reads newspaper

Summary: The unpopularity of patents — and software patents in particular — is fast becoming a mainstream debate that merits attention and hopefully a fix; Hulu is now sued

IN the coming posts — mostly tomorrow — we will show that patents are viewed negatively in the press, even without having to be selective (the coverage is overwhelmingly critical of patents). This sure is an achievement to those who vocally opposed software patents and attended live debates on the subject. Developers have a much more compelling story to tell than lawyers and monopolists. All it takes now to turn the tide is increased exposure. Even those who are technology unaware or agnostic are starting to see their favourite products banned or at least injured. This gives a lot of momentum to the abolition proponents — those who view ending all software patents as the solution (not deterrence advocates who prefer a M.A.D. approach). The latest example of lawsuits that will fuel backlash against patents is this one against Hulu, which Reuters covered as follows: “Rovi Corp sued Hulu, accusing the online video site of infringing patents that cover electronic program guides.

“Rovi, created from Macrovision Corp’s acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc in 2008, provides technology that powers the streaming services provided by Blockbuster On Demand and Best Buy Co Inc’s CinemaNow, according to the complaint, filed on Friday.”

Programme guides as a patent? Really?

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3 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    August 7, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Gravatar

    Even Dilbert is picking up on it:

    http://dilbert.com/2011-08-06/

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, I saw that.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    One of the best pieces of mainstream coverage has been Public Radio International’s When Patents Attack!. In some ways that’s better than having airtime on the commercial stations.

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