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November 27, 2005

The Power of the Dark Side

Last week, organizations allied with Linux ballyhooed their bequeathed acquisitions of patents. Purists against patents railed at the futility and wrong-headedness of this approach. This commentator was assailed as insane for suggesting that Linux programmers raise their sights to patenting their inventions.

Linux organizations, such as OSDL and OIN, have sufficient budgets to pay for prosecution of patents. Do these organizations so lack foresight and coordination to not have a system for encouraging open-source programmers to patent their innovations? Are they relegated only to taking cast-off scruffy Wookie patents from IBM and other corporations? If so, who is the toad, and who is the master?

Do open source programmers even invent anything patentable? It's difficult to imagine that will all those spare-time software beavers whittling away, something creative doesn't come of it.

One the one hand, if you are an open source programmer who thinks you have a patentable idea, contact Patent Hawk to arrange a free evaluation. Join me, Luke, and together we can pocket a patent.

On the other hand (the one with the light saber), if you just want to whine about software patents, join your luddite soul mates across the Atlantic puddle who rejoice in putting Europe at a competitive disadvantage. Rant away with comments herein, if you must. If less riled and relatively content with the situation, just enjoy your Wookie patents, and join OSDL chief Stuart Cohen, basking in the illusion that the threat of patent assertion against Linux is receding.

Posted by Patent Hawk at November 27, 2005 10:54 PM | Patents In Business


The analogy is apt: patenting ideas is the dark side of the force.

I'm sorry you consider the entire continent of Europe to be Luddite. If I were European, I'd be offended, but I'm not, alas.

As far as I can tell, on this issue the Europeans have taken one from the American playbook: freedom and democracy for all, not just for the aristocratic rich, intellectuals, and corporate fiefdoms who can afford patent process fees and litigation costs.

It's just too bad that we have evolved into the elitists we once scourned. As for competitive disadvantage, watch. Watch nations with less restrictive freedoms of invention prosper while the US lags behind. That's one that I fear greatly, but if we don't do something quick to change our oppressive patent system, *we will* be the ones at a serious competitive disadvantage, as new ideas and technologies sprout in the fertile soil of freer nations, while we toil in the rocky patent thickets of our own planting.

Posted by: joey5 at November 28, 2005 10:07 AM