Good To See: Blockstream Promises Not To Abuse Patents
from the more-companies-should-do-this dept
Over the years, we’ve discussed various examples of tech companies taking a stand against patent abuse. That is, in lieu of actual patent reform to fix a broken system, some companies are doing things on their own (we even had a podcast discussing a bunch of examples). One of my personal favorites was Twitter’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement which effectively lets the named inventors on the patent issue their own licenses to undermine trolls should the patents ever fall into trollish hands. Think of it as something of a poison pill to make the patents worth a lot less to pure trolls. One of the tricks though has been convincing smaller startups to take some of these steps — even the license on transfer network, which is sort of a no brainer for startups. So it’s good to see, as pointed out by EFF, that Blockstream, a fascinating company in the blockchain space that employs a ton of super smart people, take a big commitment to be a good player in the patent realm..
As detailed by the EFF, Blockstream’s plan has three components — all of which are good:
It adopted a patent pledge promising that it will only use its own software patents defensively ? that is, it won?t use them to sue or demand licensing fees others for using similar technologies, but it may use them to defend itself from the patent lawsuits of others. It shared its patents under the Defensive Patent License (DPL), licensing its patents to any other person or company who agrees to the terms of the DPL. It introduced a modified version of the Innovator?s Patent Agreement, an agreement with Blockstream inventors that it may file patents for their inventions but may not use them offensively (if Blockstream ever assigns a patent to another party, the agreement would apply to that party too).
Hopefully as we see companies like Blockstream commit to these kinds of things, it will inspire more startups to do similar things.