|Google's Open Source Patent Pledge: We Wont Sue You First, Unless Attacked|
|Today, we’re taking another step towards that goal by announcing the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge: we pledge not to sue any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. |
We’ve begun by identifying 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google—open-source versions of which are now widely used. Over time, we intend to expand the set of Google’s patents covered by the pledge to other technologies.
We hope the OPN Pledge will serve as a model for the industry, and we’re encouraging other patent holders to adopt the pledge or a similar initiative.Google's Open Source Patent Pledge: We Wont Sue You First, Unless Attacked [google-opensource.blogspot.co.uk]
Hmm. Color me Deeply Suspicious. They seem to be saying "We're putting this stuff in the public domain, but we reserve the right to yank it out of the public domain any time we feel like it."
Being attacked with weapons of your own design is pretty funny. In any arena, with any metaphor. "Oh, oops, didn't realize it could be used against me."
|By Duane Valz, Senior Patent Counsel |
Written by a Google lawyer...
...and Microsoft launches their new patent center, ( [microsoft.com...] ) in roughly the same 24 hour period...
Why am I not surprised? This is as bad a PR move as "don't be evil".
Open source is open source. Google will now step in with their endless supply of our money and the best attorneys it can buy, then patent all the open source ideas they can steal, then warn you not to sue them, or they'll sue you back. So ridiculous it should be illegal! Check me if I'm wrong.
Didn't the US just go to a "first to file" system for patents, as opposed to first to invent?
If so, might "open source" be pretty much a thing of the past, at least in the US?
Here's a link to a Forbes story: The United States Transitions To A 'First-Inventor-To-File' Patent System [forbes.com]
Gee wiz, I wonder who was behind that legislation? So the rich win again...here a guy with no money can come up with a great, original idea, but the guy with the most money and legal power but no good ideas wins. Stop the world...I want to get off.
BTW, the example is the Forbes article is highly unlikely, as I've never seen an "employee for a company" receive a patent...the patent usually goes to the company who owns him/her.
|If so, might "open source" be pretty much a thing of the past, at least in the US? |
I don't see why. The change just brings the US into line with what the rest of the world has always done.
If anything first-to-file might strengthen open source against patent attacks, because it makes patenting after-the-fact harder. I.e. if some open source software is published that uses a novel idea, under the old rules it was somewhat vulnerable to a corp later seeking a patent on the idea based on evidence that they secretly invented the concept first. As I understand it that would no-longer be possible (unless a provisional patent had already been filed before the software came out).
Back on topic... I welcome this move by google, it's a whole lot better than microsoft's past tactics of menacing open source software that competes with them (either directly or by funding proxy shills).
|Hmm. Color me Deeply Suspicious. They seem to be saying "We're putting this stuff in the public domain, but we reserve the right to yank it out of the public domain any time we feel like it." |
If you take it at face value, and that's a stretch, it's a good thing but the move wreaks of politics. Only companies making billions per quarter are concerned about patent lawsuits right now, the rest of us just want to pay the mortgage next month. Has Google forgotten that?
If you think only companies making billions a quarter are worried about patent lawquits, you have got it exactly wrong. LOTS of small businesses and even non-profits and hobbyists have been hit with patent suits.
On the other hand big business tends to be fairly safe: they have lawyers, they have patents to counter sue with, and are in on cross licensing agreements.
It seems that people on WW are so biased about Google that when Google do something that is undoubtedly good, they just refuse to believe it.