PC Magazine: Solving the Patent Problem

“Amazon.com is by no means the only company encountering patent
problems. eBay faces a lawsuit over its use of database technology.
Microsoft has caused a furor by patenting some of its stylesheet
technology. MultiTech Systems is suing Compaq, Dell, and Gateway
over voice- and data-transmission patents. Priceline.com is suing
Microsoft’s Expedia.com over its reverse auction technique. And
Yahoo! is dealing with a suit over its online shopping system.”

“…O’Reilly is still deeply concerned about the danger of
patents–and their strict enforcement–on Web innovation. ‘The
free-wheeling development environment has given us both the
Internet and open source tools like Linux, Perl, Apache, MySQL,
Sendmail, and so on. This has demonstrated convincingly that there
is enormous power in an open, shared platform where ideas are given
away as the foundation for further innovations,’ writes

“Many industry insiders agree that the concept of companies
taking out patents on their technology is not necessarily dangerous
to innovation, but aggressive enforcement of those patents may