1266961996_patent-symbolHere’s an interesting story, via our friends at GigaOM: Google, in an effort to protect innovators experimenting with ‘cloud’ computing from nuisance patent lawsuits, has donated 79 of its patents to general use by others. As the article explains:

On Thursday, the company designated 79 more patents to be part of its “Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge,” which amounts to a non-aggression pact under which anyone can use the technology described in the patents—anyone, that is, who doesn’t use patents to attack Google first.

I find this a fascinating move on Google’s part. How many emerging technologies in recent years have been thwarted from realizing their full potential because the legal issues were so complex and entangled? I think Google is making the right move because innovation benefits everyone; if there wasn’t cool stuff you could do with tablets, would anybody want the Nexus?

Innovation benefits everyone. Good for Google for going the ‘non-evil’ route, at least on this one thing.

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  1. While I applaud Google’s move, there is a way to see this as a very canny move on Google’s part. Giving these patents away limits the likelihood that anybody will challenge them. After all, why waste money challenging something you can have anyway? In the meantime, widespread adoption of the IP covered by these patents (why develop new ideas when the low-hanging fruit isn’t protected) ensures that more people will end up invested in that IP, and thus it will be in more people’s best interest to keep from suing Google over other patents, since why rock the boat if it’s the only one around?

    Which is to say, I like it. You’re right; it should lead to more innovation and less money passing into the hands of patent lawyers. Methinks the Goog has been brushing up on their Machiavelli.

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