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September 28, 2003

Software Patents From Inside Antarctica

Tim Bray is the author of Ongoing. He is also the founder of a company called Antarctica that develops and implements visually rich information systems, mostly ways to present dense information webs in accessible, visual ways. In large part to secure funding, he has applied for patents on some of the software that Antarctica has developed. He offers a unique perspective on the process, the PTO and the patent system as it is. It is worth a read for people from all sides of the patent argument.

One interesting point he concludes with:

Conflict of Interest The people in the system with the worst conflict of interest are the patent attorneys and various flavors of intellectual-property expert, who are always willing to argue passionately and at great length about the importance of securing patents, and how this is an essential part of any business strategy. They seem to really believe what they’re saying, but when I listen to them my mind’s eye just can’t help seeing the fat envelopes stuffed with carefully-itemized five-figure legal bills crossing my desktop.

“A cynic would say it’s a self-perpetuating system whose costs greatly outweigh its benefits, and that we’re hopelessly stuck in it. But then, I’m a cynic.”

Posted by Eric at September 28, 2003 07:22 AM | TrackBack
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