Patent Trolling and disability

So this is some distance from my regular posting, but it remains very close to my interests so bear with…

End-users of technology, include for example those cottage industry people who make sure things as some of the smaller AAC apps. Patent Trolling is a nasty business and I certainly felt differently about the companies involved when this started to appear in the AAC world… As it happens the EFF is an excellent source of information on this and they recently pointed the following odd occurance out…

Patent Troll Lodsys Settles for Nothing to Avoid Trial | Electronic Frontier Foundation.


Today we learned just how determined the patent troll Lodsys is to avoid a ruling on the merits of its claims. When software security company Kaspersky Labrefused to surrender, Lodsyssettled for nothing(yes, you read that right—absolutely nothing) rather than take its claims to trial.

First, some background: Lodsys is the poster child for the worst kind of patent trolling. A shell company with no apparent business other than “monetizing” patents, it has sued orthreatenedthousands of application developers. While it has sued some big players, most of its targets have been tiny app developers who lack the resources to defend patent litigation. And these developers are being sued simply for using Apple or Google’s in-app purchase APIs. In this, Lodsys is part ofgrowing trendof patent trollstargeting the end-usersof technology.

So I’m blogging this partly because I think patent trolling is one of those things that people should know about, but also because I’d like to check with my technical readers that open source sorts this out right? I mean, mostly, right? and I’d like to check with my readers from disability communities that there aren’t that many other cases of patents impacting on assistive technology yet? I only know of the one linked above… (which I’d like to be clear, I’ve not been able to find out enough details about to know if it was trolling or a reasonable defense of a patent.

128 thoughts on “Patent Trolling and disability

  1. Unfortunately open source doesn’t fix this problem. According to my understanding, if you sell something then you are liable for infringements, even if the code you use or release is open source. A good example of this would be Apple suing all the Android hardware manufacturers for patent infringement because they were easier targets than Google itself.

    This is why the tech industry is pushing so hard for patent reform. It seems like reform is just about the only way to fix this problem.

    I worry that patents will increasingly become a weapon against innovative startups in AAC. There is more than enough money at stake to expect that that will be the case.

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