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software patents. where are they hiding?

LiquidCoooled (634315) writes | more than 5 years ago

Patents 8

Should I be worried about software patents?

I have thought about touch screen user interaction for a long time now, and have written numerous visualizations and interactive controls over the years.

I have a kickass collection of functions and algorithms for all areas of the system but I have never specialized in one specific place.
This year I have started to open my source and release these little ideas and have sent coded up implementations into the wild.

Should I be worried about software patents?

I have thought about touch screen user interaction for a long time now, and have written numerous visualizations and interactive controls over the years.

I have a kickass collection of functions and algorithms for all areas of the system but I have never specialized in one specific place.
This year I have started to open my source and release these little ideas and have sent coded up implementations into the wild.

Some of the code is novel, some of it is mundane, other pieces are just weird but give a pretty effect :)
I've found a nice home within the nokia maemo linux community and my software has been well received amongst its members and beyond.

I bet somewhere I've stepped on somebodies toes and have their patented algorithm in my code.
In reading up about them this evening I find out that the chances are, if you have done anything more than hello world you will have too!

How would I find out what patents I have in my code?

Should I be checking every single function I write against the central registry?

8 comments

don't research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26140449)

don't research. knowing infingement can incur triple the penalty of accidental infringement. or something like that.

Khertan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26142949)

Come in Europe ... softwares patents have no values. :)

Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26143555)

Some say it's better to not actively look for patents. Apparently in some jurisdictions the liability is 3x worse if you violate a patent knowingly.

IANAL etc.

check with the linux kernel hackers, first... (1)

.havoc (84318) | more than 4 years ago | (#26144177)

Gary,

There are several online patent searches available. Before you search there, you should look into what the Linux kernel community has done faced with this problem.

I hope you will post your journey as you walk it. I think it would benefit the community.

Yays & Nays... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26145065)

In my opinion, applying for patent is fairly easy and relatively cheap (attorney fees notwithstanding). I've applied for two. It takes a while for a patent submission to even become patent pending. But, even at that stage your property is protected.

All this said, I think that you are pretty well protected by several of the open source copyright licenses (including Creative Commons). So, it's really up to you whether or not you want to go down the "legal" trail. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't give you any advice concerning that.

Still, if you have the patience to complete a patent app, as well as some money to put into submission fees, etc., I'd suggest giving it a try -- especially for those things which you feel are extraordinarily unique and usable in other applications.

If anything... Get a patent ton the bacon!

  - Tim (@samoff.com)

Re:Yays & Nays... (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 4 years ago | (#26145873)

hi tim,

no, I have no desire to go down any kind of patenting route, it was idle ponderment.

My code is open (once released versions are out there) and already protected under the GPL.

I have no qualms with anything I create and design being used in other applications and programs, afterall it benefits us directly if I have created something good which people wish to emulate.

Open Source FTW

UI patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148933)

Basically as long as you're not a multi-million dollar corporation, you don't need to care about them.

There is NO way for you to find out about them - even if you find the right databases, there are far too many of them and they are are written in such terms that understanding what they really cover (and how to circumvent them) takes far too much time and effort to be worth the hassle.

--
roope

In my country software patents are NOTHING... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26158255)

In country where I live software patents are simply NOTHING, local laws just do not declare such item so software can't be patented at all. So I can even use H.264 implementation WITHOUT paying any royalties and this WILL BE PERFECTLY LEGAL in my country. Actually, I'm pretty sure most of software patents are either trivial or will fail due to prior art.

So, now we can see how patents could be abused: you even can't just invent wheel on your own without risking to infringe someone's patent. So, let's patent bicycle and wheels as two most popular and widely used inventions :D

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