12.15.10

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Patent System’s LLC Syndrome Shows It’s Time for It to Go

Posted in Patents at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The patent system fell into the hands of entities without real products or any intention to innovate, which means that it no longer serves its said purpose/charter

Wikileaks/Cablegate has been the leading story so far this month. One new article about Wikileaks draws a correlation to the work of Dr. Richard Stallman, notably his opposition to software patents (which includes warning about Mono for reasons covered in the previous post). To quote the relevant part from the Washington Post:

In the early 1980s, Richard Stallman, then an employee at MIT’s artificial-intelligence lab, was denied permission to access and edit computer code for the lab’s laser printer. Frustrated, he kicked off what he calls GNU, a massively collaborative project to create a free and sharable operating system. His efforts sparked a widespread movement challenging the restriction of access to software through patents. Supporters asserted that they had a right to control the code in their own computers.

The battle reached far beyond Stallman, eventually pitting corporations and patent-holders against this early generation of free-software advocates. The bulk of most software is still private, though open-source projects have gained popularity and even dominance in some arenas. Stallman continues to advocate for free software.

The state of the patent system is pathetic, unless one is a lawyer. The latest
Patently-O roundup is “Getting Personal” and rather than find patents making products better we just find them making lawyers richer. They hacked the system. “Foley & Lardner Welcomes Team Led by Prominent IP Attorneys John Lanza and Christopher Mckenna in Boston” says a new release and patents on algorithms are being named as a selling point:

Foley & Lardner now has strong capabilities in the field of software patents across the United States

Also in the news: “XStor Medical Systems Receives Patent for Software Storage Platform” (press release bragging about a new software patent).

XStor Medical Systems, Inc. has been granted a patent for a scalable distributed storage system.

Another “LLC” surfaces with this press release that says: “Ascentive LLC (owners of FinallyFast.com) today announced that they have been awarded their fourth patent by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, U.S. Patent No. 7,840,652.” There is coverage here and it merely shows that companies without any products go out there in the market just looking for someone to leech. We gave 2 examples this morning, Paul Allen and Jay Walker.

Stallman was right about the patent system all along. Is it too late to rescue? Well, then maybe it’s time to just abolish the whole thing. Based on preliminary tags, Cablegate is about to bring out plenty of material which will discredit the patents and copyrights systems.

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