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History, Patents, and You
A couple of weeks ago I gave a three-hour deposition involving the Soverain Software vs. Amazon shopping cart patent case:
What blows my mind is that many of the documents I examined and commented on came from the 1992 hypertext www-talk archives, which I helped archive in the first place, using software that I wrote (hypermail), for exactly this purpose (among others): to help people understand, find, and discuss history with enough context so that we don't repeat past mistakes, so that we can find better solutions. If these messages were in a proprietary format back then, or restricted in any way, they would have been near-impossible to retrieve and compare publicly today:
Obviously, patent systems around the world are not doing well at all at moving into the digital era or I would not have had to do this:
Meanwhile, open-source technology unencumbered by patents is allowing micro-startups to evolve better technology faster with less resources and funding. I hope new breeds of VCs come along to fill this niche:
Also, industry groups are trying to figure out just how long CDs and DVDs should last:
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