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Why Software patents are a bad idea - FlightPrep vs Aviation

bartmc

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I HATE the idea of software patents, Steve Ballamer's little stunt, The blackberry thing, SCO vs IBM and now this. Reading around the innarwebz it seems FlightPrep has declared that they came up with the idea of "Online Flight Planning". Oh really now did you?.... FlightPrep just went on the permanent boycott list. I dont care if they sue the pants off Jeppesen and cure cancer with the money they get, im still not giving them a nickle.

If you're not familiar with what software patents are used for, it goes something like this.
Step 1.: Think of just about anything on earth that translates well to a mobile device or internet delivery. (think "email on smart phone", "pictures on the internet", "link to another website" or "online flight planner", yes all of these have been patented )
Step 2.: Register a patent on that. Doesn't matter if there are a few people already doing it, just register it.
Step 3.: Repeat Steps 1 and 2 as desired, call this your "patent portfolio"
Step 4.: Wait until somebody else thinks it up and is industrious enough to implement it and try to make a career out of the idea....
Step 5.: Wait until the somebody in step 4 gets really really successful doing it.
Step 6.: Threaten to sue the pants off them and anybody who uses their product.

Nothing on earth that I can think of stifles competition and innovation more than software patents. They are stupid and should be illegal. They also waste money tying up courts. See below.

AOPA and Jeppesen, two of the largest players in the online flight planning business say a patent obtained by FlightPrep doesn't affect their products and they are not willing to discuss it. In a statement released Wednesday, AOPA says it will not meet with FlightPrep to discuss the patent and it will be business as usual for the product it provides. In fact, there's a new version coming out in a few weeks. FlightPrep didn't directly comment on AOPA and Jepp's reaction and had this to say: "FlightPrep has been in contact with Tom Haines and AOPA regarding our patent and online planner technology since 2007. FlightPrep is a small Oregon based business that is a proud AOPA advertiser, AOPA Summit participant, and our staff are proud members of AOPA as well as AOPA political action supporters." As we reported in Wednesday's AVwebBiz, RunwayFinder, a popular online flight planning site, shut down in the face of a lawsuit from FlightPrep.

RunwayFinder founder Dave Parsons and FlightPrep are at odds over the summary of events leading to the current impasse and Parsons told AVweb the site will remain closed as he copes with the threat of a multi-million dollar lawsuit launched by FlightPrep.
 

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