After 23,414 API Patents, I Think it Will Come Down to Who Litigates
The amount of patent applications for APIs is quickly picking up steam, but what does it mean to the tech industry at large? Read on for author Kin Lane's thoughts on the subject.
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After looking through the 23,414 API related patents from between 2005 and present day from 4,283 companies, it is clear that the API patent game will be all about which companies decide to litigate using their "intellectual property." There is definitely a lot of education that could occur across all industries where these patents will be put to work, and hopefully we can see some reforms at the USPTO regarding how important it is to the economy that the APIs themselves to remain open and reusable, but I think that ultimately the world of API patents will be hammered out in courts across the United States, and other countries around the world.
While I'm not a fan of the concept of the patent, especially when they are applied to algorithms and abstract ideas, I cannot intelligently argue for companies to not patent the "process that occurs behind the API" (at the moment), however I feel pretty strongly that it is pretty critical that the concept of the API should be left out of the process. At the moment I'm just not knowledgeable enough on the whole software patent world to know what the hell I am talking about, which is why I have my API patent research to help me evolve my awareness and understanding and strengthen my position.
To complement my patent research, I am going to start pulling any court cases for the 4,283 companies who have filed API related patents across 471 jurisdictions in the United States using the CourtListener API, so that I can identify any potential litigation that involves their patent portfolio. Like the other 75 areas of the API universe that I keep an eye on, I'll just keep watching the patent applications, profiling the companies who are filing them, and see who has the most API patents, and most importantly the ones who are actually using these patents in a court of law.
Published at DZone with permission of Kin Lane, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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