You publish the API and your business partners use your clever little hash in integrating with across cloud services. Years later, you get a letter from a lawyer from a town in Texas you’ve never heard of, claiming you’ve infringed on a patent you never heard of.
Your team scrambles to replace that hash algorithm, but that means a change to your API and some of your business partners resist making the change. It doesn’t matter though: the infringement has already occurred, and you’re going to pay somebody quite a bit of money even if you can prove your innocence.
This is going to be difficult, because you’re in the domain of patent trolls, legal firms that specialize in very tight arguments and skillful identification of their prey.
Before I go any further, this disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I don’t even play one on TV. This article must not be construed as legal advice, and you need to consult with your attorneys before taking action on the issues raised here.
Yes, my lawyer made me write this.
All too often, the Patent and Trademark Office grants patents that are overly broad and seem to ignore much of prior art. I used to work for a software company that had been issued a patent that could have covered most of distributed computing.