Bonum Certa Men Certa

Developers, Developers, Developers; Licensing, Licensing, Licensing

The impact of protocols licensing was highlighted a couple of weeks ago and will be revisited shortly (in the next post). It remains one of these unnecessary things which are a result of standards being ignored or subverted. Judging by yesterday's news, Microsoft's cross-licensing deals continue, even if they do not include Linux (not explicitly anyway).

Microsoft Corp. and Cadence Design Systems Inc. have entered a patent cross- licensing agreement, expanding on a long-standing relationship between the two companies. The agreement allows broad access to each company's respective patent portfolios to facilitate future technical collaboration in areas of common interest to both companies.


Of course, this begs the question: are these patents, which consume a lot of time and paper, needed at all? It is widely accepted that lawyers are the only big winners. Do companies and consumer actually benefit? It remains both uncertain and subjective, but you can judge by this new story about the Linux-based Google Phone being delayed. Reason? Patents, apparently.

TI's handset chipsets will find their way into the Google phone should the company decide to roll out an EDGE-compliant handset, but Qualcomm could turn out to be the winner if Google decides to bet on a 3G model, the sources noted.


Meanwhile, however, there are those who argue that patents are not only benefiting lawyers, but that they also defend the smaller inve[n|s]tors. The recent patent reform is being actively opposed.

About 20 inventors and U.S. company executives, visiting Washington, D.C., encouraged Congress to defeat the Patent Reform Act, a version of which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month. The Senate has not yet voted on its version of the bill.


The inventor of the segway is among those who protest.

Strong patents make it harder for larger firms to copy inventions by individuals and small firms without compensation, Kamen said. Innovators rely on licensing fees from large firms to finance research.


Be it weak patents or strong patents, it should probably be obvious that software patents cannot facilitate innovation. Moreover, so-called "patent terrorism" harms everyone.

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