Re: Mailing List Patent Policy

Here's my take:

Tim Berners-Lee speaks of a possible C-change (sp?) <1> with the semantic
web. If this change did indeed involve more people putting publicly
accessible data on the www in such a way that machines could make sense of
it and thus make it easier to correlate things, then it seems possible that
widespread innovation could ensue. Intellectual property information,
rules, regulations, etc. may be able to be expressed in RDF so that a wider
variety of people can participate without anxiety.

If indeed companies follow the route of embracing openness like IBM,
because it helps their business, then it seems possible that the current
view of intellectual property will increasingly be seen as archaic (at
least as far as I understand it). For those who are not aware, IBM is one
of the largest contributors to the Linux kernel.

I think it comes down to the feasibility of opening up development while
still maintaining a competitive edge. For example, would it be possible to
set up a production line that could respond to ever-changing design
specifications? Could businesses do this, knowing their competitors are
doing it as well? I think that if the semantic web gains widespread
adoption, and works as envisioned, than companies will have to think
seriously about it. Innovation online appears to be quite effective. It may
be hard to compete with.

On thing that could stifle it of course, is security fears. I do hope,
however, that greater communication leads to greater trust.

<1> The Semantic Web of Data Tim Berners-Lee (

On Sun, Feb 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM, Kingsley Idehen <>wrote:

> On 2/2/13 7:22 PM, Steven Rowat wrote:
>> On 2/2/13 1:03 PM, Jeffrey Cliff wrote:
>>> While I am new to this list, I think this post is dangerously
>>> misguided.  If the problem is that the patent system is keeping groups
>>> such as this from acheiving results, then groups like this one need to
>>> be converted into anti-software patent, or at least
>>> anti-these-particular-patent ones.
>> I'm tending to agree with Jeff.
>> I have an ancient history (circa 1990) of first getting my own patent,
>> and after that spending 3 years ghost-writing and illustrating others'
>> patents for a registered agent. My experiences with the patents I worked on
>> convinced me that the system was controlled by large business and was
>> grossly unfair to independent inventors. And I don't know that this aspect
>> has gotten any better in the software age; perhaps worse.
>> The day after reading Manu's post about not having discussions in
>> recordable mediums about patents relating to this open-source work I caught
>> myself having a daydream in which I applied for a patent whose claims would
>> allow me the rights to software that automates the process employed by the
>> US Patent Office. (And I think the patent system is fast approaching such a
>> reductio ad absurdum; perhaps it's already there).
>> OTOH, while as I said I do have a gut "Yeah!" with Jeff's approach, it
>> seems also that the patent problem can be filed under the major problem
>> that the USA is having with corporate control of democracy at the moment. I
>> saw a news clip with Al Gore last night in which he said that essentially
>> US democracy had been 'hacked' by large business. I don't think he's the
>> first to notice this, but his phrasing catches it well for me. So fighting
>> at just the level of the patent arm of the system is fighting against a
>> higher power that has a lot of ammunition. The Occupy movement is
>> essentially fighting the same battle. And to win a war like this, we have
>> to pick fights we can win.
>> Yet, finally, things are changing in ways we can't predict, with social
>> media allowing new ways of organizing ourselves. Perhaps all we can do is
>> fall back on some basics: I'd go for 'love your neighbour as yourself' and
>> 'the end doesn't justify the means'.
>> To me that would mean that if I felt strongly that the patent system
>> needed complete overhaul (or even abolishment), and this is a mailing list
>> developing patent-free, open-source technology, then discussing all patents
>> that might be infringed by the technology would seem like a thing to be
>> encouraged, rather than avoided.
>> Needing to pretend publicly to not know about something that you in fact
>> need to discuss to do your work seems unhealthy to me; and perhaps is
>> unworkable anyway in a supposedly public mailing list.
> +1
> Use the power of the Web to simplify the discovery of "prior art" :-)
> Kingsley
>> Steven Rowat
>>> We /should/ be posting this stuff to email groups such as this - and
>>> to make as recordable as possible its impacts.  Not because we think
>>> we can work around it, /not/ because it's unenforcable (in any patent
>>> case there is a probability that it may be enforced) but because
>>> hiding from problems [ie in this case, Apple] only allows them to
>>> perpetuate and grow, and implicitly grants them legitimacy.  The
>>> businesses that are going to fail to participate due to this issue
>>> will have an additional datapoint of organized groups [in this case, a
>>> high profile one] which have been undermined by this problem, and
>>> hence, more visible evidence that the problem needs solving at its core.
>>> Jeff Cliff
>>> On 31 January 2013 14:12, Manu Sporny <
>>> <mailto:msporny@digitalbazaar.**com <>>> wrote:
>>>     On 01/31/2013 02:22 PM, Kumar McMillan wrote:
>>>      >>
>>> peer-to-peer-mobile-banking-**that-could-use-itunes-to-**
>>> provide-cash-on-demand/<>
>>>      >> Can you believe this?
>>>      >
>>>      > As sad and depressing as this sounds, you shouldn't ever post
>>>     patent
>>>      >  announcements to an email list that might be associated with an
>>>      > emerging protocol (such as what this w3c group aims for). Some
>>> info
>>>      > on why:
>>>      >
>>>      >
>>> patents_over_email_is_bad/<>
>>>      >
>>>      > I've done it before myself :(
>>>     Having authored several patents by myself and having one of them
>>>     granted
>>>     before deciding that I never wanted to do that ever again, I have
>>>     mixed
>>>     feelings about this.
>>>     Our (Digital Bazaar's) official company policy is that we don't
>>> e-mail
>>>     around patents, no matter how ridiculous, they're always discussed
>>>     in a
>>>     channel that isn't logged.
>>>     I also fear that the "head-in-the-sand" approach will hobble this
>>>     group.
>>>     We need to know about the patents that exist if we are to work around
>>>     them for the Royalty-Free requirement of all W3C specs. The risk
>>>     we run
>>>     by doing that, however, is that large companies (like Yahoo, Google,
>>>     Mozilla, etc.) might stay away from this work for that very reason.
>>> We
>>>     don't want to risk that either.
>>>     So, let's try this as a compromise. If you see a patent that is of
>>>     interest, it is up to you if you want to notify any of the editors or
>>>     mailing list participants OVER A NON-RECORDABLE MEDIUM. Just to be
>>>     clear: Twitter, G+, Skype, IRC, are all recordable mediums. A
>>>     phone call
>>>     is best.
>>>     Folks are free to ignore this advice on the mailing list, but know
>>>     that
>>>     by doing so, you're going to push some of the companies that are
>>>     afraid
>>>     of these sorts of damages away from participating in this group
>>>     (and we
>>>     really, really don't want to do that).
>>>     -- manu
>>>     --
>>>     Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
>>>     President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
>>>     blog: Aaron Swartz, PaySwarm, and Academic Journals
>>> --
>>> GENERATION 26: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on
>>> any forum and add 1 to the generation
> --
> Regards,
> Kingsley Idehen
> Founder & CEO
> OpenLink Software
> Company Web:
> Personal Weblog:**blog/~kidehen<>
> Twitter/ handle: @kidehen
> Google+ Profile:**112399767740508618350/about<>
> LinkedIn Profile:**kidehen<>

Received on Tuesday, 5 February 2013 01:52:09 UTC