IPR for web-based products or software

And finally the increasing load at patent offices due to a deluge of patent applications in software and business processes.

Of course, one issue that will bother a certain section of people is if web-based aplications and software should be taken to IPR protection regime at all, because it stifles innovation and goes against the culture of sharing, that web is so apt for.

But “no IPR” would also not be a feasible thing. At least not in short run. May be in long term a different system will come into place, which will be sustainable, but in short run if somebody is putting in effort in developing something, he/she must be given the opportunities to recover the cost.

So assuming that IPR will have a role here, would the traditional IPR systems be appropriate for the innovations in these areas. If we play a word-association game, the word that will come to the mind of many of us when “Web” is mentioned would be speed. Traditional IPR systems are not at all made to address this issue. By the time a patent is granted, the company may need to move onto next technology. It will hardly be in a position to use it, even if there are any provisions to recover its due in retrospect for the sheer problem of getting distracted away from the future potential and getting tangled in past.I am no expert in IPR; and hence it is difficult for me to think of the exact structure, but certainly a new IPR system would be required to make IPR effective in these fast developing fields. The system should also take care of simplifying the procedures so as to not make patent offices over-burdened. After all, these fields are likely to have far more number of at least “Claimed Innovations” than any field has had in past has had. And these innovations will come a much faster rate. The resulting deluge (of which we might only be seeing a very small portion today) will need to be handled.


6 thoughts on “IPR for web-based products or software

  1. Jaya ji,

    The companies’ selfish efforts are in return of the Godly image thought by many of the netizens.

    In context of the net and network related issues ,my view is open(source)ness is preferred to be explored by most of the people rather than technically complicated proposals of Intellectual(?) Property Rights by creators/owners of deaf and dumb innovations on the net.

  2. Ah! I am sorry, but I do not share such strong emotions regardgin IPR protection. What is selfish about it? If I have spent time building something, I should be able to recover what I have spent, else why would I give my time and resources in building it.

    True Opensource and sharing on the web are coming up. May be soon enough they will become a generically sustainable models. When that happens – good. A change in the way things work would have been brought about.

    A evolution is going on it will continue. May be it will be in the direction of opensource and all. But bringing any “moral issues” here isn’t justified.

  3. Jaya ji,

    Exactly, evolution is continuous to increase the living standards/thoughts of human.

    I think that closely guarded innovations or IPRs are dangerous in the long run. How much hard one works for the self centric innovations, unless the poorest and needy are benefited ( like invention of bicycle), they are useless.

    Last but not least, it’s satisfying to know that with “the use of new technologies” you do prefer openness in the inventions/creations.

  4. Mr. Prem Piyush,

    I strongly criticize your following statement- ‘How much hard one works for the self centric innovations, unless the poorest and needy are benefited ( like invention of bicycle), they are useless.’

    Some(most) of the greatest innovations were not inspired by making lives of poor better, but by self esteem, money and sense of achievement.

  5. Hi Jaya,

    There are many issues related with software patents.

    Problem with most software related patents is that they’re highly “obvious”. Now this point may be debated to death, obvious to one person does not mean obvious to the other. But think of a situation when you are given a problem, and a set of tools, and using pure logic you come up with a solution which you can’t put to use cuz it has been already patented by someone else. It’s frightening! And this exact thought is shared by John Carmack (of id games).

    Patents were not originally meant for software
    Almost all countries had framed their Intellectual Property (patent) laws when things like software and IT were unknown. Now, the same laws are being extended to software. It won’t work! What requires more resources, designing and manufacturing a car, or designing and coding a piece of software?

    Everytime you sit down to code even a moderatly complex piece of software, you’re innovating – and like hell it doesn’t require money to code! Sure, it requires *some* money, what a computer, office space and a net connection. Compare that to the resources required for setting up an automobile factory. Patents for software just doesn’t make sense.

    If you want to read wholesome arguments read up the text of the speech given by Dr. Richard Stallman. Google for “danger software patents richard stallman”


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