When I hand my money over to a developer, I want to at least feel like I’m the reason their product exists, that it otherwise wouldn’t but for my interest, support and cash. Goading other developers into forking over licensing fees undercuts that feeling for me. While the full patent application isn’t available yet, Reichenstein tweeted an image that has “Method of editing text in a text editor” listed as the “Title of Invention.” That sounds precisely like the sort of broad software patent that discourages innovation.
I think the tactics iA is allegedly going to take is lame. But there’s a few small thoughts that I want to point out because I think we may be a bit premature here:
- Getting a patent isn’t bad. It’s likely the smartest move to protect yourself from other patent trolls. You fight nukes with nukes. iA didn’t start it, they likely just want to survive.
- Upon introducing the iPhone Steve Jobs made a snarky comment about all the patents in it. I don’t remember anyone doing anything but applauding him. Or doing anything but applauding their victory over Samsung. The size of the players shouldn’t change your “moral” stance.
- I don’t believe anyone has been sued over this yet.
- What if the licensing fee is actually reasonable and the US affirms the patent? Nothing much to complain about.
As far as I can see, the worst iA has done is a shitty PR campaign. Maybe they can add PR tools into the next Writer update.
We aren’t patent experts, we are bloggers.1 Until something actually happens I say we simmer down a bit.
I’ll amend this to say some bloggers are patent experts. But I haven’t seen them chime in on this. ↩