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  • 08.31.10

Have We Reached the Software Patent Tipping Point?

We’ve shifted into a new zone in the world of software patent stupidity. Oracle sued Google over a series of Java-related patents and Paul Allen sued 11 major software companies. This behavior is an absurd abuse of the patent system. It’s a massive tax on innovation.

We’ve shifted into a new zone in the world of software patent stupidity. A few weeks ago, Oracle sued Google over a series of Java-related patents they got when they acquired Sun. Last week, Paul Allen sued 11 major software companies, including Google, over four patents that were granted to his now defunct Interval Research think tank.

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Paul Allen

My own opinion will be no surprise to regular readers of this blog. I think this behavior is an absurd abuse of the patent system. I think it’s a massive tax on innovation. I think it’s an insult to anyone who is a real innovator.

As I was reading through some of the Paul Allen commentary this morning, it occurred to me that this might finally be a tipping point. Last week, Microsoft asked the supreme court to hear their appeal of the I4i patent suit. I hope Google steps up and really takes a stand here given that they are on the receiving end of both the Oracle and Allen suits.

Maybe we’ve reached a tipping point. If you want a little more perspective, go read the book review of Lewis Hyde’s Common as Air. Or better yet, read Common as Air.

Reprinted from Feld Thoughts

Brad Feld is a managing director at Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. He invests in software and Internet companies around the U.S., runs marathons, and reads a lot. Follow him at twitter.com/bfeld.

About the author

Hi, I'm Brad Feld, a managing director at Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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