Home What's Brewing? Seattle Soft Power? Patents are Pending!

Seattle Soft Power? Patents are Pending!

Have you visited Searchville?  It’s not the lakefront census tract  that houses Amazon, Google or Microsoft. In fact, it’s a neighborhood that is politically active, but as lawless as the old West.

Founded by FairSearch, a coalition of companies originally aligned in response to Google’s slated acquisition of ITA Software and equal access to information in the travel data business, Searchville advocates leveling the landscape for control of business data. The site provides cartoon strips and animated movie shorts alleging how Google competes against the options of small business through what it depicts as anti-competitive shenanigans.

At the other  end of the “lake,” tempers are still flaring over NPR’s investigative report of Intellectual Ventures, insinuating it serves an anti-competitive role as a “patent troll.”  Have they mistaken the troll lurking under the Fremont bridge?

The fact is that the laws of our land, from Searchville to Patentville, are conspicuously absent when it comes to “soft power” in the form of a codified software patent system. They aren’t just broken. They are “404: Page Not Found!”

“We live in the most radically innovative time in human history,” writes Nilay Patel, who the former attorney and former managing editor of Engadget.  “What we keep calling ‘software patents’ are just regular old patents,” he writes.  “There is no special section of Title 35 that specifically delineates between hardware and software, or software and machinery, or software and anything else you might dream up.”

The solution is also simple, asserts Patel. We just have to add a real software patent section to Title 35. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote an open letter calling for patent reform in 2000 that laid out a path to legitimate protections and limited abuse.

It’s time to elevate our thinking above the stalemate that has gridlocked the “other” Washington for too long. The netizens of Searchville, Patentville, and other villages and communities across the Internet deserve fairer treatment. [24×7]