Brad Feld

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Another Software Practitioner Against Software Patents

Mar 11, 2008
Category Technology

Dave Roberts – the VP Strategy and Marketing at Vyatta – has written a solid post on Open Source Juicer that tears apart Steve Tobak’s CNet article titled The Patent Reform Act will harm the US technology industryThere is a ton of meat in Dave’s post – which is (unfortunately) also titled "The Patent Reform Act will harm the U.S. technology industry".

Dave has 10 patents to his name, so he’s speaking from a position of someone who has spent plenty of time on the "inside of the patent game."  Two telling paragraphs:

"What’s all the more infuriating about the current patent situation is that many of today’s patents go against the original social contract surrounding patents. The original goal of the patent system was to get inventors to share their innovations for the common good. In return for a limited monopoly, you, Mr. Inventor, share your invention so that We, the public, can understand how you did it and can then innovate on top of it. Rather than stifling innovation, patents were supposed to drive it forward.

Unfortunately, many patents, even the ones that are legit, would have been created independently anyway. It’s obviously a balance, but at least in the world I live in, I see patents getting in the way rather than helping me. I have never gone and looked at old patents to get new ideas for products. The only time an independent patent, one that I’m not working on filing myself, comes to my attention, it’s because somebody is getting sued for infringing it. This tells me that we have lost the original goal that patents were supposed to foster."

Great stuff Dave.  Thanks for speaking out.