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The most creative and productive elements of our technology economy won a major ally last week when President Obama called out corrosive patent lawsuits and called for patent reform during a globally accessible Google+ Hangout.
David Kappos runs the United States Patent and Trademark Office. On Tuesday he gave a speech at the Center for American Progress where he gave a full throated defense of software patents. Here is a link to a pretty good article on the speech: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/11/us-patent-chief-to-software-patent-critics-give-it-a-rest-already/
On this blog, we have written a number of times about patent trolls, the patent system and our efforts to change it. Rackspace is increasingly the target of lawsuits filed on behalf of these patent trolls; suits that aim to disrupt our business and extract a tax on innovation. Patent litigation is the fastest-growing part of our operational expenses at Rackspace — faster than salaries, faster than R&D, faster than datacenter energy costs.
In a recent blog post, I issued a call to action to make patent trolls pay. It stemmed from a questionable patent infringement lawsuit filed against Rackspace by a patent troll – a plaintiff calling itself PersonalWeb Technologies – that claims Rackspace infringes on its patents with Rackspace Cloud Servers and by hosting the GitHub code repository (view the complaint here).
Rackspace has been subjected to yet another patent lawsuit by a patent troll looking for a settlement. In this case, the plaintiff is called PersonalWeb Technologies. This particular lawsuit is not much different than the others, except that it highlights why software patent litigation suppresses innovation, and why Congress and the courts need to improve the system. If it wasn’t such a serious issue we might want to laugh at the irony of it all.
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