[OSGeo-Discuss] Fw: Re: New Google Mapping Patent

Landon Blake lblake at ksninc.com
Tue Jan 9 09:39:06 PST 2007

I like the idea Paulo mentioned about building a comprehensive prior art

However, I still think there are some benefits to be gained by having a "neutral" non-profit group like the OSGeo review geospatial patent applications.

This will do 2 things:

[1] It will prevent companies from "sneaking" patents through the patent office without review and scrutiny by the public and other players in the geospatial community.

[2] It will encourage companies to think twice before filling out a patent application that they know will cause an uproar in the media. No company likes that type of bad publicity, and I think a lot of companies push patents that would fall to a challenge through the system because they no one is looking.

I believe the community is in the best position to do some policing of this issue. We can't depend on an overworked and underpaid patent office employee to have even a basic understanding of GIS and related technologies. I think most honest companies creating geospatial software would welcome this type of idea, as long as their not trying to work the system themselves. After all, how many small software development companies have the manpower to devote to reviewing the patent applications of their competitors?


-----Original Message-----
From: mail_discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org [mailto:mail_discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Paulo Marcondes
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 9:34 AM
To: OSGeo Foundation Discuss List
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Fw: Re: New Google Mapping Patent

2007/1/9, Frank Warmerdam <warmerdam at pobox.com>:

> I am not keen on getting too involved in patent related activities.
> For one thing, it tends to be "laywer intensive" which sooner or later will
> mean "expensive".  Second, I suspect that customer oriented businesses like
> Google or Autodesk primarily file such patents for defensive use.  I doubt
> there is much risk of them being used against free software and so effort
> spent fighting them is essentially wasted.
> Should we find an open source geospatial project threatened by legal action
> from a patent holder of a baseless patent, I think it would be more likely
> we might get actively involved.

Frank, while I see you point, IIRC from an IP-related talk at the
company I work for (It also does bussiness in the US...) It is much
easier (and cheaper) to invalidate a claim while in the PO than in
court. And that has the benefit of filing prior art with the PO, so it
also acts as a prevention tool - prevents other similar patent claims
being filed.

Gary is probably on a better position to comment on this, since IANAL, etc.

OSGeo could also start talking with PUBPAT, and its interested members
join the effort by Groklaw(?) - building a comprehensive prior art

Some links for your entertaining:

> Note, I'm speaking for myself, not on behalf of a consensus position of the
> foundation.

Shall we pursue consensus on this? May the board consider this
entering this swamp? Maybe joining with relevant actors?
Paulo Marcondes = PU1/PU2PIX
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