Intellectual Ventures, software patents and Singapore

A red flag was raised in my mind when Intellectual Ventures announced that they were opening up an office in Singapore, last month. This is the company that was founded by ex-Microsoft executives whose sole purpose is to promote the creation of software patents.

There was a US Federal Circuit decision late October in re Bilski that placed limits to the use of patents in algorithms and business processes. The Bilski decision is analyzed on Groklaw, and the impact of the decision still needs to be digested and understood.

Singapore’s patent laws do not recognize software patents, but there is an unfortunate backdoor to software patents being accepted locally via the Singapore-US FTA and hence the real reason for IV to set up shop here. They can use Singapore to launch pre-emptive strikes on developers with such gems as:

PUB. APP. NO.	Title
1 	20080270620 	Reporting influence on a person by network-available content
2 	20080270552 	Determining influencers
3 	20080270551 	Rewarding influencers
4 	20080270476 	Rewarding independent influencers
5 	20080270474 	Collecting influence information
6 	20080270473 	Determining an influence on a person by web pages
7 	20080270426 	Collecting influence information
8 	20080270416 	Determining influencers
9 	20080270234 	Rewarding influencers 

all of the 9 above list Bill Gates, Craig Mundie, Rick Rashid (all current or former MS executives) and a bunch more as inventors!

We need to close this backdoor and kick out all software patents before IV can do damage.

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