[Linux-aus] Good patents?

Pia Waugh greebo at pipka.org
Thu Dec 29 10:50:02 UTC 2005

Hi Josh,

<quote who="Josh Stewart">

> With all the talk of software patents lately I thought it was a
> perfect time to make my first posting on this list. I've just finished
> a Bachelor of IT and an honours year and I'm thinking of moving into a
> job as an IT patent attorney. The problem is that I'm worried if I did
> then instead of being one of the good guys I'd end up doing a firms
> work with whichever big software company came along next.

Valid concern, but I think there is a lot of good you could do.
> I think/hope that once I'd got all the qualifications then i could
> really do some good in the free software world. Does anyone have any
> experience with FOSS friendly firms? I know places like IBM have
> opened up a lot of patents to the community, there must be something
> out there?

If you really want to make a positive difference and have the skills, I
would highly recommend trying to work directly for IP Australia and trying
to get them to make the existing process work properly from the inside - aka
make the grace period work properly (the 3 months after the patent is first
lodged where it is supposed to be openly available for public scrutiny) by
making patents easier to search, more transparent in the process, and
generally taking the full balance of power out of the hands of the patents
owners and back to the middle somewhere to share with the people trying to
protect themselves and the industry from bogus patents.

We certainly need people like yourself with these skillsets, you could even
start an initiative where you engage the broader technical community (this
affects more than just the FOSS community) and then your patents would get a
reputation for being legit patents and potentially more valuable than the
next patents person. Imagine if we had a very high level of patents and that
stupid ones that make life difficult were not getting through. Then
Australian patents might become the world standard and we wouldn't have the
issues with "oh this piece of software crosses 200 patents". I guess what
I'm saying is that there is room for improvement in the patent system that
would ease a lot of the technical community issues as well as not be so
extreme a suggestion as to never make progress.

Anyway, my 2c worth :) Good luck! Think big!


Linux Australia                                         http://linux.org.au/
     "Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains." - Jean Jacques

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