Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Chiling patents

Author:Jakob Nielsen
Posted:2/27/2000; 5:52:48 PM
Topic:scriptingNews outline for 2/27/00
Msg #:15286 (In response to 15280)
Prev/Next:15285 / 15287

... a chilling quote from a Nielsen AlertBox. "Companies that don't claim their stake in the future will wake up in five years and discover that their competitors own all the patents they need to be on the Web."

This is probably chilling because it is true.

There are two ways to react to this insight that I (and many others, it should be admitted) had a few years ago:

a) Try to limit the influence of Internet patents. For example, they might be granted for 5 years rather than 17 years in order to work better in the fast-moving environment online.

b) Self-defense: Get some patents of your own so that when somebody tries to serve you with a patent suit, you can fight back because you will have a patent on some things they need.

Strategy (a) is one you take to your political representatives because it requires changing the law.

Strategy (b) is one a company should use internally. If it doesn't, it will regret it. Because without some patents of your own, you will wake up and find yourself the target of those companies that do file patents.

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