Rosenlaw & Einschlag
Ukiah, California, United States
I will be speaking on "Open Standards" at the Linux Collaboration Summit 2015 on 2/19. I'm mostly avoiding patents in my talk because important software standards organizations in the US already have strong royalty-free patent policies. Instead, I've been focused recently on the gymnastics performed by some standards organizations and their major large members to avoid giving open source communities the copyright to create derivative works. I will also discuss how these policies contradict the same companies' own arguments in the Oracle v. Google lawsuit, which is also about the effect of copyright law on open standards.
I'm reading an interesting book about The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, by Walter Isaacson. He writes:
"These patent disputes [about the invention of the computer] were the forerunner of a major issue of the digital era: Should intellectual property be shared freely and placed whenever possible into the public domain and open-source commons? That course, largely followed by developers of the Internet and the Web, can spur innovation through the rapid dissemination and crowdsourced improvement of ideas. Or should intellectual property rights be protected and inventors allowed to profit from their proprietary ideas and innovations? That path, largely followed in the computer hardware, electronics, and semiconductor industries, can provide the financial incentives and capital investment that encourages innovation and rewards risk.... In 2011 a milestone was reached: Apple and Google spent more on lawsuits and payments involving patents than they did on research and development of new products." [Citing Charles Duhigg and Steve Lohr, "The Patent, Used as a Sword," New York Times, Oct. 7, 2012.]