Jamie McCracken (jamiemcc) wrote,

Surely the internet makes software patents obsolete?

At least for internet connected devices. I mean why is it that companies bother fighting or capitulating when they could simply outflank the bastard patent trolls at no cost to themselves?

Armed with the internet, any half knowledgeable person can easily download copyrighted movies and music such that copyright protection itself is under threat. But for software patents its much much worse - in fact its so bad for patent trolls that software patents should be obsolete and totally worthless

IANAL but consider the case of a smart phone (or tablet or other mobile device). Surely all that needs to be distributed with the machine is a boot strap with a bare bones OS and the simplest of apps which are completely non-infringing on any patent held by a known patent troll . On startup, the machine just needs to be smart enough to inform the user they can download a fuller version of the OS + a whole host of apps which can infringe all they like of course. Provided the download server is out of the USA, there's bugger all a patent troll can do.

After all he cant go the US ITC to ban the imports nor can he sue the manufacturer, distributors or retailers cause the machine does not infringe anything. The only person who could be sued is the person who downloads the extra stuff but of course theres no way of finding that out nor would it make economic sense to sue them even if they did (the license fee a troll could expect to extract would be paltry compared to the court costs for the patent troll - they would go bankrupt very very quickly!)

If Google was smart, it should do something like the above for the forthcoming Android 3. The bare bones OS on it should not have any Java or things like the encumbered FAT filesystem but just the bare necessities to make it a phone without the smarts (and without infringing any patents of course). Then stick all the juicy patent encumbered stuff on a non-USA server for easy download and Bob's your uncle!
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