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Patents

Submission + - Small Businessman Feels Pinch of Software Patents

Penguinisto writes: A few days ago, Phil Cooke, a small-time hobbyist 3D/CG programmer, was sent a Cease and Desist notice from Reyes Infografica over a small 3D/CG clothes-generating program he had sold for years (it generated clothing mesh for a figures in a CG hobbyist program known as Poser). The program has since been pulled from the maker's site, as he cannot afford to retain counsel with which to fight back. Apparently, Phil's program had collided against a software patent that Reyes filed in 2001 (the patent was filed in the US and Spain). The C&D notice, and some of the discussion surrounding it can be found a PhilC's site discussion forums. While we usually see stories about small-time patent trolls raking in huge bucks from large companies, is this an indication of a disturbing trend by larger companies using software patents to intimidate and eliminate their smaller competition? And if so, then how on Earth is this supposed to foster innovation and creativity?

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither liberty not saftey." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759

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