Jun 23rd, 2012

First, thank you Chris. Your last post gave me the perfect start to the day. I’ve been keeping an eye on the news regarding this Apple – Motorola lawsuit for the past couple of weeks ever since I first heard the Judge Posner was looking to throw out the case until either side could prove monetary loss. After years of shambles, we had finally heard some sense coming out of the software patent side of things.

Reading up a bit more about the verdict, it was heartening to see Judge Posner echoing the countless comments we’ve made for so long: that companies are using courts as a strategy to boost their marketshare, and that software patents hold much less value than the claimants would have us believe. This particular statement, that I came across on Android Police, stood out for me:

And while the patents themselves (or some of them at least) may well have considerable value, after the claims constructions by Judge Crabb and myself and after my grants of partial summary judgment only a handful of the original patent claims remain in the case; infringement of that handful may not be a source of significant injury past, present, or future. For a variety of reasons patents in the field of information technology often have little if any value except defensively. See Alan Devlin, “Systemic Bias in Patent Law,” 61 De-Paul L. Rev. 57, 77–80 (2011), and references cited there.

Make no mistake: while this is a win for Android itself, but more importantly the entire software community at large as long as it sets a precedent for similar cases in the future. If other judges follow the lead, instances of patent trolls going after indie developers might become a thing of the past. Cases such as Yahoo vs Facebook might become a thing of the past. Cases such as this which makes me despise humanity might become a thing of the past.

(If you’ve got the time, please read the link I’ve shared in the last sentence).

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