In my view, the solution is straightforward: software shouldn’t be eligible for patent protection. That might sound simplistic, but there are good reasons to think abolition of software patents is the right reform. Software is fundamentally different than other types of inventions. For starters, software is virtually alone in being eligible for both patent and copyright protection. This makes patent protection mostly superfluous. Second, writing software is an individual, expressive activity at least as much as it is an engineering discipline. We don’t expect novelists to hire patent lawyers, and computer programmers shouldn’t have to either. Finally, the “software industry” is radically more diffuse and diverse than the typical patent-eligible industry. Every business with more than a handful of employees has an IT department producing potentially patent-infringing software. No other category of patents has this characteristic.
NPR investigates software patents and finds that everyone (but patent trolls) thinks they’re bullshit. Great to see the edgy mainstream media examining this issue.
In early July, the bankrupt tech company Nortel put its 6,000 patents up for auction as part of a liquidation. A bidding war broke out among Silicon Valley powerhouses. Google said it wanted the patents purely to defend against lawsuits and it was willing to spend over $3 billion to get them. That wasn’t enough, though.
The portfolio eventually sold to Apple and a consortium of other tech companies including Microsoft and Ericsson. The price tag: $4.5 billion dollars. Five times the opening bid. More than double what most people involved were expecting. The largest patent auction in history.
That’s $4.5 billion on patents that these companies almost certainly don’t want for their technical secrets. That $4.5 billion won’t build anything new, won’t bring new products to the shelves, won’t open up new factories that can hire people who need jobs. That’s $4.5 billion dollars that adds to the price of every product these companies sell you. That’s $4.5 billion dollars buying arms for an ongoing patent war.
The big companies — Google, Apple, Microsoft — will probably survive. The likely casualties are the companies out there now that no one’s ever heard of that could one day take their place.
Carole Jefferson Vinoskey, 67, of Forest passed away Thursday, July 21, 2011. She was the loving wife of Adam V. Vinoskey for 36 years.
Born June 8, 1944 in Lynchburg, she was a daughter of the late Bluford Ramsey Jefferson and Myrtle Simms Jefferson. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by a daughter, Mary Cohick and a sister, Brenda Rogers.
Carole was a loving mother and grandmother. She was the co-founder of Sentry Equipment & Erectors where she worked as secretary-treasurer and was a lifelong member of Rivermont Avenue Baptist Church. She was a very generous and giving person who was an avid supporter of the American Cancer Society where she worked many charitable events. She loved cooking for her family and enjoyed art especially P. Buckley Moss. She will be greatly missed by her family and all who knew her.
In addition to her husband she leaves to cherish her memory three children, Michelle Nichols and husband, James of Forest, Jonathan Vinoskey and wife, Beth of San Diego, CA, and David Vinoskey and wife, Gayle of Richmond; nine grandchildren, Brandon Nichols of Forest, Jeremiah Cohick and husband, Arthur of San Francisco, CA, Rachel Sledge and husband, Jonathan, Joshua Cohick and fiancé Devani Rini, and Jonathan Cohick all of the Forest area, Cameron and Emily Vinoskey of San Diego, CA, and Nicholas and Natalie Vinoskey of Richmond; a sister, Patricia J. Cyrus and husband, Harold; a niece, Rhonda Bradstreet and husband, Steve and their children, Wayne and Kristen and a nephew, Gary Cyrus and wife, Paige and their children, Bryan and Ashley all of Jacksonville, FL; a brother-in-law, William Rogers and two nephews, Ramsey Rogers and fiancé, Synthia Waldsburger and Jeffrey Rogers and wife, Kathy and their daughter, Ashlyn all of Lynchburg; and many special friends.
The family will receive relatives and friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, July 24, 2011 at Heritage Funeral Service, 427 Graves Mill Rd.
A celebration of Carole’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m., Monday, July 25, 2011 at Living Word Baptist Church, 2305 Waterlick Road in Forest with Pastor Marvin Suitt and Steve Martin officiating. Burial will follow in Virginia Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions may be made in memory of Carole Vinoskey to American Cancer Society , 2316 Atherholt Rd., Suite 108, Lynchburg, VA 24501.
“Over the lifetime of this clock, the United States won’t exist,” Bezos tells me. “Whole civilizations will rise and fall. New systems of government will be invented. You can’t imagine the world — no one can — that we’re trying to get this clock to pass through.”
webOS’s new shepherd gave a rockstar interview. webOS still doesn’t have the hardware to shine on, but Stephen DeWitt seems like the right man to make something incredible happen. He was the CEO of the game-changing web server company Cobalt back in the day, the first server I ever purchased, so he has extra brownie points from me.
I maintain that California’s proposition system is the #1 reason for its budget problems. Voter-created loopholes like Proposition 13 inhibit the legislature’s ability to adapt to changes in revenue forecasts and that hurts all citizens.