01.19.17

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Shame on MapR for Pursuing Software Patents While Pretending to Stand for Free/Open Source Software

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 6:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MapR

Summary: The patents gold rush sees another company joining the ‘fun’, albeit this company should campaign hard against software patents rather than pursue any

After all that openwashing (or “open” marketing) by MapR, today we were greeted by headlines such as “MapR claims open source big data victory with patent award” and “MapR Nabs a Patent for its Converged Data Platform” (that’s software). CBR says the patent “covers key components such as protection for file, table and stream processing for technology advances such as convergence, fast processing with low latency, high availability and Strong consistency, and security.”

“If MapR intends to join the patents gold rush, then it is not a serious cooperative participant in the Hadoop community.”We can’t quite see a cause for celebration here because any new (additional) software patent is a case of adding fire to the fire, no matter who pursues and gets granted such a patent. There are no “good” software patents; there are benign ones, like those which got invalidated and can therefore not be sold, either (e.g. Red Hat getting liquidated and having its patents sold to trolls, or acquired in a potentially hostile takeover by a patent aggressor).

We recently noted that Blockstream had no patents yet oddly enough pledged not to sue using patents (which we therefore assume it was pursuing). We more recently wrote about the patent menace around Blockchain [1, 2] and now there is this new article about it:

Banks, Startups and Trolls to Duke Over Blockchain?

Reports came out during the holiday season last year of banks quietly stocking up on blockchain patents. Banks will compete with startups making the same moves. They will also compete for patents with trolls who suppress innovation.

The future of blockchain innovation depends on who exactly holds the keys to blockchain technology.

Trolls

Bloomberg reported that Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Mastercard have all submitted requests for and hold patents for blockchain technologies.

The Economist reported that “startups, including Coinbase, Chain and 21 Inc, have been busy, too.”

If MapR intends to join the patents gold rush, then it is not a serious cooperative participant in the Hadoop community. It needs to rethink its strategy, wherever it got it from (probably some self-serving law firm/s), then focus on development and dissemination of code, not patents.

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