NASA to Auction Patents

NASA has developed many technologies that have made their way to ordinary usage. But now NASA is auctioning off — rather that giving away for free — some of its patented technology.

As reported in the media, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is partnering with ICAP Ocean Tomo LLC of Chicago to sell portfolios. The portfolion includes 12 patents for technologies including software, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

ICAP Ocean Tomo has scheduled the auction for next Thursday. For additional information, see the company’s website.

Anti-Software Patent Rhetoric Heats Up After Yahoo v. Facebook

Yahoo! is suing Facebook for patent infringement.

Now, the predictable, sophomoric fear-mongering stuff is coming out again. For example, Andy Baio, whose name is on eight Yahoo! patents, opines:

“…Software patents should be abolished, plain and simple. Software is already covered by copyright, making patent protection unnecessary.

Ask any programmer — developing software is as creative and unique as writing poetry…”

Yes, Andy, software is “covered” by copyright… but it is incredibly easy to design around a copyright for a computer program.

And, just why should there be an exception in the patent law for software?

Cannot software inventions be innovative?

Then why not patent protection for them?

It is always difficult to try to quantify the quality of a company’s patent portfolio, but each year the IEEE Spectrum publishes their Patent Power Scorecard, which is a compilation of innovation scores of companies by industry category.

IEEE Spectrum uses a modeling system for determining “quality” based on variables such as “Pipeline Growth”, “Pipeline Impact”, “Pipeline Generality”, and “Pipeline Originality”. Without going into detail, these metrics are based on such things as how many other patents in the same field cite the patent, and the variety of technologies that build on the technology disclosed in the patent Companies with technology leadership will tend to have patents which others cite and build upon.

So the #1 company in the category of “Communication / Internet Services” is (drum roll) Yahoo!

‘World’s Youngest Inventor’ of 100 Patents Killed in Syria

Besides Steve Jobs, who was of Syrian extraction, one of the most notable Syrian inventor was Issa Abboud, 27, who was the recipient of a WIPO Gold Medal Award for “the world’s youngest inventor”, and who was issued over 100 patents. To put this in perspective, since the formation of the Syrian Patent Office in 1946, there have only been about 5,700 Syrian patents issued, and Mr. Abbound was issued about 5% of them. Unfortunately, it has been reported that Mr. Abboud was shot dead in his car by criminal armed gangs at al-Nozha neighborhood in Homs on Sunday.