Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Next Up: Patenting Security Patches?

from the you-can't-be-serious dept

The crazed focus on extending patent coverage to just about anything may be about to take it's next step. John writes in to point us to the news of a company that is trying to patent security patches. In some ways, this is a direct follow up to the market for security vulnerabilities we were talking about earlier this week. The has recognized that finding vulnerabilities is becoming so valuable, that they might as well start patenting the patches. They're asking security researchers to go to them first with vulnerabilities, and they'll file a patent on the patch. Now, this seems ridiculous, given the amount of time it takes to get a patent, but the company thinks it can fast track these patents. The whole thing seems so over-the-top ridiculous that I'm not convinced it's not satire. I'm hoping that it's simply a spoof to demonstrate the reductio ad absurdum of current patent policy. Update: Apparently I'm not alone in wondering if this is a parody.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Charles Griswold, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 3:21pm

    Is this legal?

    This sounds suspiciously like extortion to me, and extortion is illegal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    GoblinJuice, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 3:30pm

    DAMNIT! Why didn't I think of this?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Shun, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 3:58pm

    Derivative Work?

    If you are aware of a security vulnerability, but do not tell the vendor, are you liable for any damages resulting in someone using that vulnerability to exploit systems?

    This is why open source and full disclosure are so powerful. Both prevent the vendor from hiding behind veils of perceived security.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Bdragun, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 5:45pm


    How ridiculous!Patents should be reserved for items that benefit humanity not patches and all this other bullshit.Maybe I could patent the way I ride my motorcycle or my style of parenting?What kind of idiots have been put in charge of the US Patents office?Totally stupid and as the man says"you can't fix stupid"!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    bay area guy, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 11:48pm

    What if you fix it yourself?

    It may not be a solution for everyone, but what if you read about a vulnerability and decide to fix the program yourself.

    Could you be infringing on some security company's patented SpiffyFix?

    What if said company decides NOT TO LICENSE THE PATENT?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Dirtboy, Jun 9th, 2007 @ 11:27am

    Software patents

    Companies like Microsoft love their software patents. This might be the wakeup call they need to realize that it goes both ways.

    This looks like programmers creating software for financial benefit. User benefits are secondary. Its windows users using MS's own business model against them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Adam, Jun 10th, 2007 @ 7:03am

    I think this is some kind of parody. How can a 3rd party patent security patches for another company software???


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    brian, Jun 11th, 2007 @ 5:45am

    Imma gonna patent teh english and look what you guys are gonna speeeeeeak!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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