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.

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