Patents


Software patent reform is at the forefront of the Application Developers Alliance agenda this year. We are hosting Patent Summits across the country for developers to learn about patents and share stories of claim letters, legal strategies and litigation costs, and their ideas about software patent reform.

In this bucket, we have collected interviews with developers affected by patent trolls, ideas for policy reform, and updates on potential legislation.

Developers on Patents: Five Employees, Six Lawyers

A startup founder discusses how patent litigation is disrupting his business, forcing him to hire more lawyers than employees. "Frankly it seems these days that it's more about having enough money to defend yourself than having defensible patent claims." *Many app developers and startups fear that speaking publicly about software patents will open them up to litigation. Accordingly, the identity of the subject is protected.*

Developers on Patents: An Investor's Perspective

In this Application Developers Alliance video, Ron Garret, Chairman and CEO of AWUn, L.L.C., talks about his experience as a patent holder and the current problems with the patent system. He explains why the patent system is broken, what patent trolls are doing, and how the current system can be fixed. "I'm an inventor or co-inventor on five patents. I would call three of them legitimate inventions. One is a software patent that I consider mostly bogus.

Application Developers Alliance Applauds Schumer Plan to Introduce Patent Legislation

(May 1, 2013) – Today the Application Developers Alliance praised Senator Charles Schumer’s (D-NY) announcement of his intention to introduce legislation addressing patent troll abuse. Schumer’s bill will expand the Covered Business Method Program, which currently covers only financial services related patents, to apply to all business method patents. The expansion would allow companies to challenge the validity of a troll’s patent in the U.S.

Developer Patent Summit: San Francisco - Keynote

Joel Spolsky, CEO of Stack Exchange/Co-founder at Fog Creek Software and Micah Siegel, Ph.D, Senior Advisor, Stack Exchange deliver the keynote presentation at the San Francisco Developer Patent Summit. The software patent system poses a significant challenge for developers. Patent trolls, product life cycles shorter than the patent process, and general uncertainty threatens to stifle innovation and growth in the app industry.

Developer Patent Summit: San Francisco - Presentation

Michael Kallus, Director of Client Development at RPX Corporation, gave a presentation titled "Patents, Patent Protection and Patent Trolls" at the San Francisco Developer Patent Summit. The software patent system poses a significant challenge for developers. Patent trolls, product life cycles shorter than the patent process, and general uncertainty threatens to stifle innovation and growth in the app industry.

Developer Patent Summit: San Francisco - Panel

Panel discussion and Q&A at the San Francisco Developer Patent Summit. Moderator: Jon Potter, President, Application Developers Alliance   Panelists: Julie P. Samuels, Staff Attorney, Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents, Electronic Frontier Foundation Damien Patton, CEO/Founder, Banjo Gary Rinkerman, Partner, Drinker Biddle Ed Goodmann, Engine Advocacy Christopher Grewe, IP Litigation Associate, WSGR   The software patent system poses a significant challenge for developers.

Developer Patent Summit: Los Angeles - Panel

Panel discussion and Q&A at the Los Angeles Developer Patent Summit.   Moderator: Jon Potter, President, Application Developers Alliance Panelists: Micah Siegel, Ph.D, Senior Advisor, Stack Exchange Adrian Otto, Senior Technology Strategist, Rackspace Hosting Josh Hartwell, CEO, Mobile Deluxe JD Harriman, Partner, ArentFox, IP Group Henry Oh, Dir of Strategic Initiatives, Animoca   The software patent system poses a significant challenge for developers.

Developer Patent Summit: Los Angeles - Keynote

Perry Robinson, VP & Associate General Counsel for Rackspace Hosting, delivers the keynote speech at the Los Angeles Developer Patent Summit. The software patent system poses a significant challenge for developers. Patent trolls, product life cycles shorter than the patent process, and general uncertainty threatens to stifle innovation and growth in the app industry.

Software patent progress? Hopefully, it’s just a start

PandoDaily "Software patent progress? Hopefully, it’s just a start" by Jon Potter, President, Application Developers Alliance January 2, 2013 The software patent system is one of the greatest challenges that app developers face. Vague claims, product life cycles shorter than the PTO review process, secretive trolls with unlimited litigation budgets, and recent uncertainty about so-called “standard essential patents” are all threats to app innovators.

Software patents are broken, and it’s hurting our economy

InsideMobileApps "Software patents are broken, and it’s hurting our economy" by Josh Hartwell February 25, 2013 Josh Hartwell is the CEO of Mobile Deluxe and a Founding Board Member of the Application Developers Alliance We have an incentive system at work in the apps ecosystem. Angry Birds has been downloaded one billion times, Temple Run more than 150 million. Other developers see the potential for great financial reward with their work, which encourages further development, risk taking and invention.
05/01/2013

Patent Troll Update

Webinar
Application Developers Alliance Patent Troll Update Wednesday, May 1, 2013 11:00:00 AM PDT - 12:00:00 PM PDT   Join us for an interactive discussion on the state of the troll universe as it relates to app developers.  We will look at macro trends in troll cases and defense strategies, as well as specifics regarding current and looming threats faced by app developers. SPEAKER R. David Donoghue - Partner, Holland & Knight LLP, Chicago Office

Helping Startups Help Themselves: Why The Shield Act Is Trips Compliant

Disruptive Competition Project by Daniel O'Connor December 5, 2012 As I have discussed before, patent trolls pose a unique threat to technology startup companies. The limited resources and small launch windows that constrain life as a startup company make them vulnerable to patent trolls. Trolls leverage the sheer cost of fighting a patent challenge — even if the odds of winning are high — against the precarious situation of most startups and seek settlements.

Application Developers Alliance Developer Patent Summit Series

Patents, Product and Reform: The Alliance hosts a national conversation on the future of software patents. Software patents present significant challenges to app developers. Vague claims, product life cycles shorter than the PTO review process, trolls and general uncertainty threaten to stifle app industry innovation and growth.

You can’t patent simple math, judge tells patent troll Uniloc

"You can’t patent simple math, judge tells patent troll Uniloc" Ars Technica by Jon Brodkin March 28, 2013 A patent troll that accused Rackspace of violating a patent merely by selling Linux-based servers has seen its case thrown out. A judge ruled the patent claim invalid because it describes a relatively simple math operation. The company in question is Uniloc, which has a long history of suing tech vendors. In 2009, a US District Court judge overturned a $388 million verdict Uniloc had won against Microsoft. That litigation was finally settled late last year for an undisclosed sum.

Patent trolls target NYC startups

"Patent trolls target NYC startups" Crain's New York Business by Judith Messina March 20, 2013 The founder of one local e-commerce company is sitting on the sidelines in this technology boom's great talent war. He's not hiring, and he hasn't paid himself a salary in two years. He needs the talent, but he's paying every extra cent to attorneys to defend his three-year-old company against patent lawsuits.

Joel Spolsky: The Patent Protection Racket

Last night, the Chairman of the Alliance Board of Directors, Joel Spolsky, wrote on his blog joelonsoftware.com about the patent protection racket. The post is currently trending on Hacker News. Read his full post here. Spolsky recommends coming to an Alliance Patent Summit in your area. See the full listing of cities and learn more here. "The Patent Protection Racket"

Nuclear Deterrence for Patents: Let’s Create a Network of Defensive Patents

"Nuclear Deterrence for Patents: Let’s Create a Network of Defensive Patents" WIRED Magazine by Jennifer Urban February 21, 2013 Yet another patent lawsuit. This time, it’s Google (with its Motorola Mobility unit) striking back at BT after being sued before. Just a few days earlier, Facebook was sued over its now ubiquitous “Like” button. Then there was Microsoft and Motorola (again). The list goes on. And yet, I propose (with Jason Schultz) that innovators should — even must – opt back in to the patent system if they wish to protect themselves from the growing threats patents pose.

Jon Potter: Software patent trolls can be stopped by U.S. Patent Office and Congress

San Jose Mercury News "Software patent trolls can be stopped by U.S. Patent Office and Congress" February 11, 2013 Few topics leave app developers and startups as frustrated as software patents. Gather app developers and publishers, and within minutes one will ask, "Have you received a patent infringement letter yet?" Then they tell varying versions of the same story. An app gains a little notoriety or market share, and soon after receives a letter from a patent holding company (aka "troll") claiming that the app is infringing the troll's patent and requesting payment of a licensing fee.

Developers on Patents: Startup Employee Talks about Patent and IP Issues

In this Application Developers Alliance interview, a startup employee discusses the challenges her company faces with the current software patent system and how they are protecting their intellectual property. "There's supposed to be a trade: if you solicit the protection of a patent, you give away your secret sauce, but what you have is the right to defend your patent against anyone who tries to use your intellectually property.

Podcast: San Francisco Patent Summit Panel

Listen as panelists from the San Francisco Patent Summit discuss challenges posed by the patent system. Panelists for the event included:  Jon Potter, President, Application Developers Alliance (Moderator) Julie P. Samuels, Staff Attorney, Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents, Electronic Frontier Foundation Damien Patton, CEO/Founder, Banjo Gary Rinkerman, Partner, Drinker Biddle Ed Goodmann, Engine Advocacy Christopher Grewe, IP Litigation Associate, WSGR  

President Obama Admits That Patent Trolls Just Try To 'Extort' Money; Reform Needed

As we noted yesterday, President Obama is holding a "Fireside Hangout" via Google Plus today. In a bit of a surprise turn, he took a question about patents and patent reforms, with a specific question about software patents. And, his response was surprising. He admitted that there was a problem, and that there were some companies who were clearly not doing anything other than trying to "extort" money from others.