Like I did last month, Marco vowed not to file any patents. “I fundamentally disagree that software patents (and many other types of patents) are a net gain for society, and I can’t participate in that system in good conscience.”
After all, if you only use them defensively, why do you need patents at all? Publish your work and establish prior art.
Sadly, prior art only works in an ideal world. As we’ve seen, the U.S. patent office routinely grants patents even when prior art exists. The recently passed reforms to the patent system, switching from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system, make this more likely than ever.
For the moment, avoiding patents entirely isn’t a realistic legal strategy for large companies. Maintaining a patent arsenal won’t ward off shell company-style patent trolls, but it can protect you from competitors by allowing cross-licensing settlements. But all of that feeds into the “cold war” mentality of stockpiling patents you never hope to use.
Until we have real reform or abolition, ethical tech companies are forced to play the patent game, but at least engineers and designers now have a way to rewrite the rules in their favor.
This will eventually be a big topic in open-source hardware.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.