Wednesday, November 23, 2005

They're learning, but too late?

European Telcos are joining the European Telecommunications Standards Institute to get it to change its standardisation rules to discourage participants from sneakily embedding their own patented technology in standards and then charging users exorbitant fees.

My argument with software patents has always been that they are in fact extraordinarily anti-corporate. The beneficiaries will be lawyers, companies that purely write software patents, and large software companies that can afford to invest some of their monopoly profits in tightening their stranglehold on the market. The losers will of course be ordinary software developers and anyone who uses software. By definition all non-software companies come into the last group, but by the time they realise how they've lost surety of title to their entire software investment, the bad decisions will be embedded in law and treaty, all neatly done without any public policy discussion since officially the policy never changed.

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