As reported by Slashdot and rochesterdandc.com, Kodak just won a patent lawsuit against Sun's Java technology.

Apparently, Kodak owns some obscure software patent that can be interpreted to describe the way Java (and Microsoft's .NET) work. They didn't invent it themselves, they just bought the patent rights from another company and sued Sun.

Of course, Sun and Microsoft probably never even knew about the patent, much less utilized its ideas for developing their own products. Software development just doesn't work that way.

So what do you think, is this the way to build a shining bright future of innovation for the software industry? Basically the current legislation says that things can only be invented once. Then the inventor must keep as quiet as possible about his invention and hope for others to come up with the same idea. And then, after 10 years of quiet waiting, when the technology has been distributed all over and everybody is dependent on it, it's time to step out and sue big time.

It's all just bullshit. Software patents got nothing to do with innovation and we should keep as far away from them as possible here in Europe.

UPDATE: Groklaw is also covering this story. Check their article for a more in-depth look into this case.

Published 3.10.2004