[openip] Re: "rights" and "freedoms"

Ross N. Williams ross at rocksoft.com
Tue Oct 19 14:50:44 UTC 1999

At 4:31 PM +0200 19/10/99, Robert M. Muench wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: vab at smtp.ufl.edu [mailto:vab at smtp.ufl.edu]On Behalf Of V.
>> Brennen
>> Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 3:33 PM
>> To: Ross N. Williams
>> Cc: openip at egroups.com; rms at gnu.org;
>license-discuss at opensource.org
>> Subject: [openip] Re: "rights" and "freedoms"
>> The number of trivial software patent applications should
>> slow  drastically if a significant number of such
>> applications were rejected.
>Very good point! Knowing that someone is tracking your company's
>move and knowing that people are sensitive to fight for their
>freedom, has a big influence on the patent investment and I'm
>sure the 'shadow-PTO' group will be widely known in a short time.
>> I think that it's critically important that some
>> effort be put into eliminating trivial software
>> patents.
>> I would be willing to put some effort
>> into a group such as Robert suggested.  I think
>> a revitalized LPF would server better than an
>> expanded FSF.  However, I think the FSF could
>> play an important role as well by working on the
>> authoring of internet standards free from trivial
>> patents.  The W3C does not appear capable of
>> authoring such standards.
>Any suggestions? They key success factor for such a group IMO is
>to have a 'workflow' how to show the triviality of a patent
>application with very little effort.

Um, here's a radical idea.

    (a) the patents really are easy to prove as trivial,
AND (b) each company has paid US$20K+ to bring the patent
        to issuance,
    it should be possible to create an organization that
    generates revenue by writing to companies at the start
    of their patent's 3 month public period saying that if
    they don't pay US$5K immediately, then Patentbusters Inc
    will throw all its resources into finding prior art to
    bust their patent!

    This could kick off by starting with a US$50K fighting
    fund and pick on a small number of patents and bust them.
    The busted patents and the bust rate could be posted
    to Patentbusters's website as trophys and to scare
    future victims into coughing up.

The nice thing about this idea is that if the organization
turns out to be viable, it could grow exponentially. As the
growth occurs, the sum demanded can be increased too so that
a substantial proportion of patent applicants opt not to pay.
At this point the rich applicants would be funding the
destruction of lots of little patents by the poorer applicants
which is a positive outcome because it will have increased the
cost of a trivial software patent. The organization could also
point its guns at critical rich company patents of its choosing.

Would this idea actually be criminal under blackmail law or
something? :-) I dunno. Doesn't seem to me to be any less
blackmaily than running around asking random companies for
patent royalties. :-)

So in theory, anyone who develops an efficient software-patent
busting workflow should go talk to a venture capitalist.



Dr Ross N. Williams (ross at rocksoft.com), +61 8 8232-6262 (fax-6264).
Director, Rocksoft Pty Ltd, Adelaide, Australia: http://www.rocksoft.com/ 
Protect your files with Veracity data integrity: http://www.veracity.com/

More information about the License-discuss mailing list