Of VoIP, Google, Patents and Kurt Vonnegut

Posted by CJD on February 18, 2013

A while back BT took on Google for this or that patent claim. Google called the claims ‘meritless’ but has nevertheless now chosen to counter sue over 4 patents that it bought from Fujitsu and IBM – one of them for a VoIP “invention”.

Like Billy Pilgrim says in Slaughterhouse 5 after witnessing the fire bombing of Dresden,

‘So it goes.’

Billy repeatedly utters it as a deep sigh to the world – a sort of acceptance of the inevitable; a weary acceptance of the pointlessness of our shallow lives and destructive acts of mankind.

It’s sad to see the UK getting involved in this tit-for-tat software patent stuff. Generally Europe has said that software shouldn’t normally be patented – copyright sure, we all need to protect our work, but not patented.

But in the last few years there have been moves towards the US system of Alice in Wonderland nonsense where no-one wins except the lawyers and society as a whole suffers as innovation is dulled, slowed and crushed.

So it goes.

Back in 2000 BT tried to sue the world because it felt that is had invented the hyper-text link with its doomed Prestel project that it launched in the 70s. As far as I know, they never got a penny.

So it goes.

Yet the entire internet is founded and working on open source (ie non-patent) software – Apache open source servers running a work of pure benevolent brilliance called Linux.

Netscape made the Mozilla (now Firefox) web browser back in ‘98 and gave it to the world.

Pretty much the entirety of the independent VoIP industry worldwide depends originally on a work of disturbed genius called Asterisk.

Open source works and copyright is enough.

So it goes.

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