As a general aviation pilot and software developer, I have enjoyed being a customer of X-Plane. It’s a fantastic product, built with attention to detail and obvious care by a small talented team. Austin Meyer is the founder and developer of X-Plane. In 2015, he wrote something on his blog that was troubling and surprising. His company, Laminar Research was being sued by a patent troll, the suit was dated July 2012. The patent being infringed upon is 6,857,067 – System and method for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data. This patent is so vague that it basically applies to anyone using the Google Play Store or similar ecosystems. On the face of it, it should have been a simple thing to deal with. Unfortunately, the case is still ongoing with no end in sight. I commend Austin for not only fighting the suit but, for creating this documentary. It should be one of those things that “the people” quickly understand to be morally wrong and that lawmakers provide a fix for. But, it isn’t. The only way forward is through more education, more publicity and a willingness among citizens to demand change. I highly recommend watching this documentary, in particular, if you are a software developer.
“They give greed a bad name.”, Kevin O’Connor
Did you know? The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
- in order to meet quotas, examiners only have about four hours to decide if a patent is valid
- the default action is to approve a patent application
- in 2014, 75% of patents that went through the Inter Partes Review (IPR) process were invalidated
In your mind, are these valid patents? Should they be?
How does Austin propose the problem be fixed?
- No more METHOD patents… they’re stupid!
- No more SOFTWARE patents… we have copyright law for that!
- 5-year duration only. 20 YEARS is too long for a patent!
- File lawsuits in defendants’ district… not in EAST TEXAS!
- Trolls should reveal who they are… not hide behind dummy LLCs.
- Can’t sue someone for USING technology. Sue the creator of the technology.
- Can’t sue if you’ve made nothing! Only able to sue if you CREATE!