Worse Than Failure
I'm sure that by now you've read this story about Maya, a 4-year-old girl whose only way to communicate is through a tablet app, which has been pulled from the only store where it could be sold, because of a patent dispute.
I'm very upset at that situation.
I think that letting something like that happen is a deep failure of the technology industry.
We've let one company patent a $15,000 product that doesn't work, and use that as a legal argument to stop a competitor from making a product that costs less than $1,000 and does work. You're not supposed to be able to patent inventions that don't work, and yet their product doesn't work and is protected by patents. That's nonsense.
We've let another company decide that it can cut access to applications that users desperately need, because they don't want to risk getting involved in some lawsuit.
We've let lawyers take over the technology industry. Lawyers now decide everything. How a product can look. How it can be called. Where it can be sold. How long people can keep it. How it can be used.
I'm upset that there could be even better solutions for Maya, but that instead of innovating the people who are in the best position to help Maya will be fighting court battles. I'm upset that what I work on could be helping Maya, but that lawyers keep getting in the way and holding me back by years.