The web rich media patent

Posted by bordalix Thu, 23 Feb 2006 18:47:00 GMT

Everyone is talking about the patent granted by the US Patent Office to Balthaser, covering "methods, systems and processes for the design and creation of rich-media applications via the Internet." A lot of FUD is going on, with people saying that AJAX, Java and even Flash will need to be licensed in the near future.

So, I decided to read the patent, and it's not that bad: the usage of rich-media applications is not covered under this patent. Instead, what Balthaser is patenting is a hosted application which enables normal people to build rich-media websites (or applications), there is, a rich-media website, that previously demanded designers, flash programmers and coders, can now be accomplished by anyone.

So, Balthaser is defending is own tool, pro:FX. The thing is, isn't this patent to broad? What is the definition of "rich-media application"?

In the same day, Google launched is new service, Page Creator, a website that enables you to create your own website, with the easiness and simplicity we know from Google. And after a peek to the Page Creator interface, my first question was: "Is this under the Balthaser patent?".

If is considered that Google (and others) must license this kind of technology to Balthaser, than we have just created a strong break on innovation, and I strongly believe that is not the objective of patents. They exist to encourage innovation, by protecting intellectual property, not for some guy to decide that put a Dreamweaver on the web is innovation. That was too damn obvious to be considered as an inventive idea.

I just hope someone get is senses, meanwhile, I'm happy to live in Europe.

Tags ,  | 4 comments


  1. Ingo said about 19 hours later:
    You may be happy now to life in Europe, even though have plenty of similar software-patents right now already here in Europe... And the european patent lawyers are working on getting the USA patent system to europe as fast as possible. Did you miss ?
  2. Matthew Green said 1 day later:
    I wonder if Neil Balthaser understands his own patent? Based on the quotes I see in most articles, he seems to think that the patent does cover implementations of Flash, AJAX etc on all platforms, not just the means to create that type of content through a webapp, and that they intend to go after Adobe et al for licensing to use those technologies.
  3. bordalix said 4 days later:
    Ingo, until now, the EU parliament is against software patents. And I don't care what the Council or the Commission want (or the lobby groups). The parliament is (still) soberan on this, and I hope they don't change their minds in the future. And I think this kind if news are good to keep the EU parliament members on the right track. This is too stupid for us to want it in Europe.
  4. bordalix said 4 days later:
    Matthew, try to read those articles with a different perspective. What I think is happening is some journalists are writing articles with this mistake in mind. So, they are making the wrong questions, getting strange answers, and writing erronous articles. Just read the patent and see for yourself. Can you post some of the articles you are talking about?

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