Sunday, April 22, 2012

Software patents create a problem of scalability


There’s a debate going on about software patents.  An “ars technical” paper by Timothy B. Lee and Christina Mulligan states the dilemma. The article (March 2012) is titled “The trouble with software patents: they don’t scale”, link here

The paper is critical of the attitude of Nathan Myhrvold, “Microsoft veteran”, about intentional patent infringement.  The problem, says Lee, is that there’s no economically (or scalable, mathematically speaking) viable way who owns the (often java) code (class and methods) that accomplish something specific on the Internet (or, now, in the mobile universe), like suppressing popups.

Business Week has an older (July 2006)  detailed article about Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures and the prospect that it can become a “patent troll”, link here

Christina Mulligan has a summary of the Ars article on the Washington Post’s brainstorming page in the Outlook Section today, April 22, 2012, here

Justin Frankel talks about the problem with software patents on YouTube here.

He says most patent defenders are “IT holding companies”.  His site on Big Think (requires up-to-date Shockwave) is here

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Twitter announced "Innovative Patent Agreement" to discourage patent trolling



Twitter has announced an “Innovator’s Patent Agreement”, or IPA, as explained here.   If you (as a software application developer) “assign” a patent to Twitter, then Twitter won’t use the patent for litigation except for defensive purposes.  This keeps the patent out of the purview of “trolls”.

Electronic Frontier Foundation has a discussion of how IPA works, by Julie Samuels, here

Here’s the link for the text of the IPA.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Revisiting anti-phishing bill and trademark; it can be a problem to include a parodied company in a domain name


I’ve often noted that phishing emails that use hypertext links of actual corporate trademarks sound like obvious violations of trademark law.

I notice that Electronic Frontier Foundation published a criticism in 2008 of a proposed “Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act” (APCPA) which could, as worded, have weakened “non-commercial” criticisms of companies by mention or depiction of their trademarks, apparently apart from sending emails.  The EFF story was here

 There seem to have been problems when website owners have included the names of the wordmarks they wanted to parody in their domain names, as with Acomplia and the site “Acomplia Report”, link (website url) here