Dotcom titan funds 'Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents'
Minecraft daddy also chucks in $250k as EFF makes patent law a charity case
It's not like there's not enough money in the sector. Patent lawyers have been the main beneficiary of the global lawsuits created by the world's richest tech companies suing each other over patents such as "pinch to zoom", page scrolling and round-cornered rectangles.
But that's why the reform of patent law has become a charitable cause. With a movement hoping to reverse the current state of affairs. Dotcom millionaire Mark Cuban and games developer Markus "Notch" Persson have donated $250,000 each to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Defend Ideas! campaign to reform software patents.
Cuban's cash is going towards paying for the "The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents" - a new title for the foundation's staff attorney Julie Samuels. Cuban explained why he wanted patents reformed:
Silly patent lawsuits force prices to go up while competition and innovation suffer. That's bad for consumers and bad for business. It's time to fix our broken system, and EFF can help
Persson, creator of Minecraft, also donated a quarter of a million to the cause, explaining how important iteration is in software design:
New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better – an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely. This is a dangerous path we're on, and I'm glad to help EFF move us in the right direction.
The Defend Ideas! project lists seven "fixes" for the system - including the suggestion that software patents should last for no more than five years, and that applicants must provide a running piece of code to receive a patent for it, and that a commission should investigate whether software patents have any economic benefit at all. ®
'Software patents' should be considered what they have been for years, copyrighted code. If you write a piece of software that does something and I do the same thing independantly they should both be allowed. If I copy your code to do my project that is a copyright infraction and I should be punished.
Apple (et al) are pushing for software patents to cover concepts and ideas instead of specific code copyrights. Why? It comes down to the merger doctrine which essentially says copyrights cannot cover ideas. This was reinforced by the Apple V. Microsoft GUI law suit where the courts decided "look and feel" cannot be copyrighted.
So here they are doing it with patents instead. No software patent should stand.
re: No patents = no innovation
Bullshit! Sorry, but we had plenty of innovation in the 70' and 80's before software patents became an issue. Now, I'll give you that hardware is a different story, and your claim is true there. But software patents are an evil that must be stopped. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that software patents = no innovation. Who wants to waste time writing code that may be ruled infringing on some obscure, obvious-to-all patent in 6 months time?
Re: Hurray for rich nerds!!
My god, you're right! Cheap access to space will never benefit anyone! What possible use could it be to put things in space? And electric cars? Why even bother to innovate in that area? These rich guys should just take their money and spend it on giant impractical vanity yachts instead of trying to invest in the future!