I love technology! I am a card carrying, Ubuntu Tattoo wearing Geek and that will never change. In the last 5 days I have been asked 6 times if I can repair, support or rebuild everything from Computers, to mobile phones (both Android & iPhone) and even support on an iPad!
My days of tech support may be over but that is not what I hate about Technology (despite the fact that PEBKAC is usually the root cause of most technical failures). No what I hate about Technology in 2011 is the constant wining, bitching and backstabbing that is going on within the world today about who owns what, and whether there is a patent on the action of a “right click” or not!
Most of the current bashing and battering is centered upon the Google built Android. Now I want to say that I am not against Patents, they truly have their place but we as consumers and we as businesses must at some point say enough is enough! I must say that I am neither a lawyer nor a patent expert but the fodder being thrown out there is bunk, hooey and general garbage and never, ever should have made it to the point that it made it to any Court, any where!
We live in a world that is rapidly evolving thanks to the implementation of new technology. In 1920 do you think that the reality of space travel was really possible or just a thing of fanciful writing? In 1940 the concept of Green Energy powering 18% of our consumption needs would have been laughed at! In 1960 imagining the computing power held within an iPad was greater than the Super Computers being built was beyond imagination. In 1980, the thought of a mobile phone that was not wired into your car or weighed 1/2 ton was nothing more than wishful thinking.
It was through innovation and engineering that these things occurred for all of us to enjoy. Patents take something away from the equation. I think of the young kid in China who build his own iPad (see video) and while I completely realize that his choice to use the Apple Logo is a blatant TRADEMARK infringement…no patents were harmed and even if the intellectual property was borrowed to help build out this home brew bit of tech…it is pretty cool that a cottage industry for development of neat gear like this could spring up.
Patent Law is broken when it comes to software. Even Patent Lawyers know that Patents had their place to safeguard inventors of physical things (the Light Bulb, the Mouse Trap, the Automobile) but how can you translate that to lines of code that are given an executable command and then set to work? I have done some minor programming in the past and the one thing that I know is that there is usually 10 different ways that you can make something happen in the background using different “Algorithms” (which by the way…is a statement not allowed in a Patent Application) to come up with the same or similar result. Because there are many ways to do the same thing, is it really possible to Patent a Right Click or Licensing the “method of organizing and compressing spatial data”. It becoming nothing more than a sole sucking vortex of despair!
There is good news coming though. In the US there seems to be a backbone hidden somewhere behind the seemingly spineless nature of the Patent Troll Enablers. The FTC has dusted of its 2003 report on “To Promote Innovation:
The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and Policy” and retooled it for 2011 with “The Evolving Marketplace: Aligning Patent Notice and Remedies with Competition“. This is a good thing for every coder, developer and software tweaker out there because WHEN (yes I am trying to be optimistic) the new rules come down from the Federal Trade Commission it will level the playing field with things like the The Panduit Test for determining compensation for Patent Infringement. The crux of the Panduit Test is that the onus falls directly on the Patent Holder to prove that the loss of revenue was in direct connection to the use of the function or operation of the Patent (meaning…I would buy an iPhone over an HTC Phone because of the Slide Feature to unlock the phone? Really…what loss could Apple put to the fact that the touch screen “swipe” is on both phones…it is such a minor part of the phone maybe 1/10th of a cent per unit…if that).
I digress as this has become a bit of a rant and far too long winded as the day is slipping by.
Cheers and have a great day.
Chris J Powell