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Posts Tagged: "Open Source"

Limiting the Impact of Patent Assertion Entities on the Open Source Community

There has been a great deal of discussion over the years regarding patent trolls, also known as non-practicing entities (NPEs) and Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs). As most of the IP world knows, these organizations, either alone or in partnership with an inventor, look to leverage a patent or a portfolio in order to seek financial return from companies allegedly utilizing the technology. On the other side are organizations that have in many cases advanced and refined the base technology and created products therefrom who are seeking a way out of potentially high litigation costs by working to determine the need to potentially license the patent/portfolio or to fight patent infringement claims if the PAE has moved beyond assertion to litigation.

Your Developers Could Be Publicly Disclosing Source Code By Using Third-Party Code Repositories

Recently, I met with a potential client to discuss key points that developers and management should keep in mind in taking the first steps to begin developing a patent portfolio. One aspect of the presentation was public disclosures that began the one-year grace period for filing for patent protection. As I was preparing examples, a practical concern emerged; specifically, whether storing source code in a third-party code repository amounted to a public disclosure or a printed publication. My research revealed that there are certain instances where uploading source code to a third-party repository amounted to a public disclosure or a printed publication, but there were precautions that developers and companies could take to prevent the inadvertent public disclosure of their code.

Understory Earns U.S. Patents for Weather Sensing Technology

Understory’s first patent covers the sensor device itself which consists of a stainless steel sphere sitting on top of a shaft, a configuration which one of the sensor’s designer called “God’s joystick.” “The sensor detects microdeflections from rain or hail pushing on the joystick,” Kubicek said. Such measurements take place on the order of 50,000 times each second and algorithms processed at the device separates each microdeflection into a data point which can be sent to a cloud-based network of weather data… One has to wonder though whether the Federal Circuit and Supreme Court, when they might get their hands on these patents, will find them to be directed to nothing more than an abstract idea. After all, sensing the weather has been done since at least the dawn of recorded history.

Google vs. the Luddites: A Patent Battle Neither Side Should Win

The idea that all software is obvious is a theoretical argument that doesn’t just border on the scattological, it wades right into the sewer. Consider artificial intelligence. If AI, which requires the use of software algorithms, is supposed to augment human intelligence and provide us with answers to questions we can’t figure out without the use of AI, how is that at all obvious? What about IBM’s Watson cognitive computing platform? … When the highest court in the land incorporates such backward-minded patterns of thought which allows them to say that “At its most basic, a computer is just a calculator capable of performing mental steps faster than a human could,” the U.S. patent system must be a relative paradise to Duda and other anti-patent Luddites who believe that software inventions cannot and should not be patentable at all.

Negotiating Your First Big Tech Software License

One of the critical moments in the life of a start-up tech company is landing its first big contract with a giant tech company. That first tech deal is also a daunting process. Take a deep breath. You can negotiate these agreements, as long as you negotiate smartly. Here are five common-sense tips for going forward… Play the long game. Nothing begets more business opportunities than a satisfied customer. Earn their trust. Show them you can deliver what they want. If you can start that process as early as the negotiations on the first contract, you are already ahead of the game.

Microsoft Announces Shared Innovation Initiative Encouraging Industry Partners to Patent Collaborative Innovations

On Wednesday, April 4th, the official Microsoft blog published a post written by the company’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, which announced the company’s new Shared Innovation Initiative. The initiative involves a series of principles which the Redmond, WA-based tech giant says should address issues related to intellectual property and technologies which are co-created with Microsoft’s industry customers so as to help those customers grow their business while allowing Microsoft to continue improving its platform products.

When Will Wall Street Wake Up to Elon Musk’s Broken Promises?

Reports about Musk’s talks with Cortica comes one day after Goldman Sachs analyst David Tamberrino affirmed his sell rating for Tesla stock on his expectation that Tesla stock would drop by 30 percent over the next six months because of production issues… On the same day that Goldman Sachs reaffirmed its sell rating on Tesla stock, Musk posted a video to Instagram, which is emblematic of the CEO’s Alfred E. Neuman-esque style of response to any perceived corporate turbulence. The video shows Musk in a bar in Jerusalem pouring flaming absinthe. Musk’s Instagram declaration that “Everything’s better with fire …” smacks of the same “What, me worry?” attitude that has allowed him to navigate uncertainty in meeting production goals without eroding shareholder confidence.

Navigating the Uncharted Waters of the Blockchain

Driven by media coverage of extravagant returns for investors in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, among others, some of which have exhibited 100,000 percent or more annual growth in the last year alone, the cryptocurrency market, and the blockchain technologies by association, have received a tremendous amount of exposure for an industry that is still in its infancy… The fallout from the increase in patent application filings is worth monitoring closely. Given the lack of related art in the space, these early patents can potentially claim a large swath of functionality in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-related space.

IP Due Diligence for Start-ups in the 2018 Legal Environment – The Most Important Conversation

For IP due diligence for investment in a start-up or young company, the most important conversation is with the key developer(s) of the product(s) or service(s) [the “Conversation”].  Ideally, the Conversation is led by an IP attorney who understands the technology.  The goal is to determine the source of the product design.  Was open source software used?  Is this a variation of something an engineer was working on at a prior company?  Was a published article used?  Perhaps consultants were used?  Was the design changed during development after some dead-ends?  Where there isn’t budget for a full-fledged investigation, this Conversation and follow-up will likely get 80% of the risks identified for 20% of the cost.

Supplying Legal Notices for Free Software in your Products

This license, like many other Free Software licenses, require a legal notice to be given to the recipient when the software is distributed. Alas, it seems like Intel has not done so and as a result the distribution of Minix 3 inside the recent Intel CPUs could be copyright infringement… How can you pirate Free Software? Simple, if you do not comply with the terms and conditions of a Free Software license, then you have no right to distribute the software… Even though people who create Free Software might not necessarily be interested in monetary compensation, they are however usually interested in being named as the author. This is a right which is also part of copyright law in many jurisdictions.

The SEC Defines Blockchain, But Did They Get it Right?

The SEC has landed on a definition which includes both permissioned distributed ledgers and permissionless distributed ledgers in the term “blockchain.” This is not surprising, nor is it necessarily the result of a misinformed view. There are lots of market opportunities and reasons for enterprise permissioned distributed ledgers, as there was always market appetite for permissioned systems in general. These ventures use the term “permissioned blockchain” intentionally and purposefully. After all, the transactions are batched in blocks that are linked to each other. So, there is a chain of blocks, and some kind of consensus protocol. But is that sufficient for a blockchain, really? And what ‘blockchain’ is the SEC referring to when it references “the blockchain”?

How to Participate in Open Source While Maintaining IP Integrity

The key idea is to think strategically about the software, the value it can provide to the company, and whether the technology should be developed in-house. In some cases, software can provide more value to the company when it includes open source components. Here at Dropbox, for example, we use open source software in our products and we use it to help with development… Even here there are a few ground rules: We evaluate the code on the way in so we know what has been incorporated in our software later. And we prohibit code that is licensed under more restrictive terms that could require us to open source our product in turn.

Protecting IP in the Blockchain Sector

Blockchain technology has already disrupted the financial sector and new blockchain use cases are emerging every day — from corruption-proof land registries to licensing digital assets, to tracking individual diamonds. In fact, there are many who say that blockchain technology has the potential to be as disruptive as the Internet… To stop patent trolls, the Chamber of Digital Commerce launched the Blockchain Intellectual Property Council (BIPC) this year. BIPC’s goal is to develop a global, industry-led defensive patent strategy that will nip blockchain patent trolling in the bud. Its first meeting on March 30th attracted 40 participants. In the next meeting in April, that number rose to 70. The BIPC executive committee members are the “who’s who” list of blockchain stakeholders, including Chain, Digital Asset, IBM, Microsoft, CoinDesk, Blockstream, Bloq, Civic, Cognizant, Deloitte, Digital Currency Group, Ernst & Young, Gem, Medici Ventures, T0.com, TMX and Wipfli.

Toyota Motors One-Ups Tesla, Makes Thousands of Royalty-Free Patents Available

Toyota is attempting to boost collaborative innovation in the field of vehicle fuel cell technologies by opening up thousands of patents for royalty-free use by other automakers. On January 6th, the corporation announced that it would enable cost-free licensing for 5,680 of its patents. Toyota is hoping that the decision will encourage wider development of hydrogen technologies for vehicles over the next few years.

Creating Software Obviously Isn’t Easy – Part 3 with Bob Zeidman

“[F]or a living I reverse engineer code and testify in court. Yet I could not reverse engineer this code. Every time I touched it to make some kind of change to test it, the whole thing broke. And I finally had to write the code completely from scratch because this open source code was such a kludge, such a mess, that it was impossible for me to figure out… [T]here’s a bunch of issues here and maybe some of them are that programmers nowadays aren’t well trained and they’re not well disciplined in programming techniques… [they] write code as quickly as you can, throw it out there, people will debug it for you. So first of all maybe we need to be teaching more discipline to programmers. We need to… convince them, hey, now that you’ve really gone through a rigorous program it’s not just okay to throw stuff together but create something with a structure that’s debuggable, that’s understandable, and that is innovative and patentable.”