Category Archives: Open Source

USPTO joins effort to improve software patents

According to the NY Times:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office plans to announce today that it will cooperate with open-source software developers on three initiatives that it says will improve the quality of software patents. … Two of the initiatives would rely on recently developed Internet technologies. An open patent review program would set up a system on the patent office Web site where visitors could submit search criteria and subscribe to electronic alerts about patent applications in specific areas. The third initiative is focused on the creation of a patent quality index that would serve as a tool for patent applicants to use in writing their applications.

Open-source business models

Open source business models are booming. However, a CNET article points out that an open-source business model start-up needs a number of attributes that a closed-source software company doesn’t. In particular, they need to establish a vibrant “community” of open-source users, some of whom are not paying customers. Not all open-source companies are hitting the right balance between commerce and community. According to a VC quoted in the article: “If a community doesn’t form and form fast, then they’re going to burn through their venture capital, and they’re going to be disasters.”