Skip to main content

The Patent System is so Broken, Be careful if you are a developer!!

I was reading Fred’s rants about Yahoo crossing the line by suing Facebook, and got kind of Shocked when I went through the patents Yahoo is using to Sue Facebook. The point is, most of these patents are so generic that you can get sued if you run a web site. Why patents do exist for all trivial common tasks and architecture patterns in the world? A common sense design decision I’m going to take for my next website or my next customer project is already patented!! This is ridiculous.

“Dynamic Page Generator”

For example, have a look at this “Dynamic Page Generator” patent – It can be used to sue any CGI/Server side stack.  The patent states

An custom page server is provided with user preferences organized into templates stored in compact data structures and the live data used to fill the templates stored local to the page server which is handing user requests for custom pages. One process is executed on the page server for every request. The process is provided a user template for the user making the request, where the user template is either generated from user preferences or retrieved from a cache of recently used user templates. Each user process is provided access to a large region of shared memory which contains all of the live data needed to fill any user template

So, your website has an architecture similar to this? I’m sure most new age web sites are dynamic – but hey, you can get sued for this (Or correct me if I’m missing anything).

image 

“Personalized Information Retrieval Using Profiles”

Such trivial tasks has got a patent too, for example  see this

An automatic method and system for retrieving information based on a user-defined profile (e.g. a personalized newspaper). A user-controlled client establishes communication with a stateless server, the server presenting a list of options to the client between the server and the client. The client provides an identification of the user-defined profile. The server engages a first application program, the first application program retrieving the user-defined profile wherein the user-defined profile identifies information which is of interest to the user.

image

So, is it that if I implement a Profile based customization for my website, I can be sued by Sun Microsystems (Oops, now by Oracle, may be?)

 

The larger perspective

To be honest, I think this entire Patent system is a time bomb that’ll explode pretty soon – large companies will use this to bomb small companies. And some one please fix it. Not sure why all these patents are getting approved, who are reviewing them and why these generic concepts are patented to this extent?

Or may be I’m so naïve that I’m missing something here!!

 

Update: Found that The Verge has another great article on the same topic, read that too.

Popular posts from this blog

Top 7 Coding Standards & Guideline Documents For C#/.NET Developers

Some time back, I collated a list of 7 Must Read, Free EBooks for .NET Developers, and a lot of people found it useful. So, I thought about putting together a list of Coding Standard guidelines/checklists for .NET /C# developers as well.As you may already know, it is easy to come up with a document - the key is in implementing these standards in your organization, through methods like internal trainings, Peer Reviews, Check in policies, Automated code review tools etc. You can have a look at FxCop and/or StyleCop for automating the review process to some extent, and can customize the rules based on your requirements.Anyway, here is a list of some good Coding Standard Documents. They are useful not just from a review perspective - going through these documents can definitely help you and me to iron out few hidden glitches we might have in the programming portion of our brain. So, here we go, the listing is not in any specific order.1 – IDesign C# Coding StandardsIDesign C# coding stand…

Hack Raspberry Pi – How To Build Apps In C#, WinForms and ASP.NET Using Mono In Pi

Recently I was doing a bit of R&D related to finding a viable, low cost platform for client nodes. Obviously, I came across Raspberry Pi, and found the same extremely interesting. Now, the missing piece of the puzzle was how to get going using C# and .NET in the Pi. C# is a great language, and there are a lot of C# developers out there in the wild who are interested in the Pi.In this article, I’ll just document my findings so far, and will explain how develop using C# leveraging Mono in a Raspberry Pi. Also, we’ll see how to write few minimal Windows Forms & ASP.NET applications in the Pie as well.Step 1: What is Raspberry Pi?Raspberry Pi is an ARM/Linux box for just ~ $30. It was introduced with a vision to teach basic computer science in schools. How ever, it got a lot of attention from hackers all around the world, as it is an awesome low cost platform to hack and experiment cool ideas as Pi is almost a full fledged computer.  More About R-Pi From Wikipedia.The Raspberry Pi

5 Awesome Learning Resources For Programmers (To help you and your kids to grow the geek neurons)

Happy New Year, this is my first post in 2012. I’ll be sharing few awesome learning resources I’ve bookmarked, and will be pointing out some specific computer/programming related courses I've found interesting from these resources.Also, thought about saving this blog post for my kids as well - instead of investing in these Child education schemes (though they are too small as of today, 2 years and 60 days respectively ). Anyway, personally my new year resolution is to see as much videos from this course collections (assuming I can find some free time in between my regular job && changing my babies diapers).1 – Khan AcademyAs I mentioned some time back, you and your kids are missing some thing huge if you havn’t heard about Khan Academy.  It is an awesome learning resource, especially if you want to re-visit your basics in Math, Science etc.With a library of over 2,600 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 268 practice exercises, th…