August 12, 2011

Brian Kahin: The Age of Disablement (#patent, #Android, #Oracle)

Too many companies are now embracing legal weapons on large-scale -- and social capital is suffering. Times change. When hearings were held on software patents in 1994, Oracle was vehemently opposed to software patents:

Our engineers and patent counsel have advised me that it may be virtually impossible to develop a complicated software product today without infringing numerous broad existing patents.

That was in 1994. The number of software patents issued annually went up five-fold in the next 15 years to nearly 40,000/year. The number of lawsuits over software patents has gone up eight-fold. Having recently acquired Sun and its vast portfolio of patents, Oracle is suing Google over Android's implementation of Java. Yet when Google adopted Java for Android four years ago, Sun's CEO Jonathan Schwartz blogged about how delighted he was. Oracle recently deleted the posting. And Schwartz's entire blog...

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