Friday, April 22, 2011

Opening The Closed While Closing The Open

The Public Patent Foundation describes its mission as "Representing the Public's Interests in the Patent System."  As its website explains,
Undeserved Patents and Unsound Patent Policy Harm the Public
... by making things more expensive, if not impossible to afford;
... by preventing scientists from advancing technology;
... by unfairly prejudicing small businesses; and
... by restraining civil liberties and individual freedoms.
PUBPAT Represents the Public's Interests Against Undeserved Patents and Unsound Patent Policy
Patent Attorney David Garrod, who has served as Senior Litigation Counsel for the Public Patent Foundation, assisted the Public Patent Foundation in its campaign against false patent marking, and authored several free claim construction dictionaries.  Meanwhile, his company, Bedrock Computer Technologies, LLC, asserted its own patent (United States Patent No. 5,893,120, entitled  "Methods and Apparatus for Information Storage and Retrieval Using a Hashing Technique with External Chaining and On-The-Fly Removal of Expired Data") against software giants such as Google, Amazon, and PayPal.  On April 21, 2011, Bedrock won a $5 million jury award against Google, whose use of open source Linux software code allegedly infringed claims of the '120 patent.

The result is a fascinating and apparently quixotic juxtaposition of opening the closed while simultaneously closing the open, and is as clear as mud.