Transfer summit presentation (mobile) 06 09 11


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Andrew Katz's presentation of legal issues surrounding mobile technologies. Presented at Transfer Summit on 8th September 2011

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Transfer summit presentation (mobile) 06 09 11

  1. 1. Licensing and Mobile Technologies Andrew Katz Moorcrofts LLP twitter: @andrewjskatz
  2. 2. About me• Former programmer• Have released code under GPL• Technology enthusiast• My firm provides legal advice for: – Corporate, fundraisings etc. (F/OSS DD) – Employment (including GPL friendly employment contracts) – Commercial property – IP/regulatory/licensing
  3. 3. Hot issues• Patent madness• API protection• GPL enforcement• App stores
  4. 4. “Patents seem to work pretty well in the mobile space. Theres plenty of innovation there, and the system runs very smoothly.” Anonymous patent agent to me at a cocktail party, c. 2003
  5. 5. Patent Madness• Patents dont work• Oligopoly supporting• Jurisdictional in nature• Contributory infringement and source code.
  6. 6. Do patents work?• Are they necessary for innovation? – No - many reasons e.g.: – “software patents...are associated with lower R&D intensity” - Federal Reserve Board report, 2004• Potential barrier to entry for small businesses
  7. 7. Oligopolistic• Incumbents can afford expensive patent application/acquisition fees.• Incumbents amass a defensive patent portfolio – Patents should only protect stuff which would NOT have been invented otherwise. – Defensive patent portfolios are aimed at stuff which is being invented anyway. – Therefore the existence of defensive patenting proves that the system is broken.
  8. 8. Jurisdictional Only• Reports almost always omit the jurisdiction where the patent exists.• Usually US• Historically, its been easier to obtain software related and business method patents in the US than in the UK (and the rest of Europe)• Some inventions may not be released in jurisdictions with the strongest patents• Will the US change its tune if China becomes a net exporter of IP?
  9. 9. Contributory infringement• Providing an essential element for the infringement of a patent• Could this apply to source code?• The patent itself could contain source code
  10. 10. API Protection• Is copy or recreate still the binary option?• JVM vs. Dalvik• (Oracle vs. Google)• In EU (inc UK) – Computer Programs Directive• SAS -v- World Programming
  11. 11. GPL enforcement•• Software Freedom Law Center• “Pay for an exception”• Oracle• Search and seizure
  12. 12. App Stores• GNU go• Incompatibility with GPL• FSF says – Apple is in violation of GPL – Upstream provider violates• Android terms of service ok: carve out GPL
  13. 13. Licensing and Mobile Technologies Andrew Katz Moorcrofts LLP twitter: @andrewjskatz