Screw the lawyers and MBAs, engineers can put a stop to this if we want to, all it takes is having the courage of your convictions. You'll probably have many jobs over your career but a patent is a landmine that will be dangerous for 20 years, you don't know when it will come back to bite you. They can't force you to write a patent, you can always get another job.
Until software patents are killed off what we probably need is an organization something like the EFF or the Creative Commons (sorta) which could pool those patents to be used as defences against future attempts to patent software.
Not sure at all if there is a legal framework under which such an organization could exist.
1) They last a VERY long time as measured in "Internet time"
2) It's very hard to find examples of GOOD software patents. They tend to either cover too much (one click shopping), or they are really just math expressed in code (encryption and compression algorithms).
3) They are easy to abuse, since it takes so little time to produce them and the people who grant them don't really understand them.
The widespread abuse of patents has IMO flipped the original rationale for having them (to promote the progress of Science and useful Arts) into tools that discourage innovation and experimentation.
That's one of the significant problems with (software) patents. Someone who thinks an idea is novel gets a patent on it and uses it to attack people who knew it wasn't.
If there's anyone on the planet who finds an idea obvious, it shouldn't be patented.
Not if the invention is published or otherwise disclosed in any other form. You don't have to claim ownership of an idea to keep someone else from patenting it.
Rather than bitch and whine at Yahoo, why not bitch and whine at your decision to sell to Yahoo in the first place?
Granted, I think that when you cooperated with the lawyers and helped them apply for patents on the ideas they acquired, you acted professionally and in good faith.
If you had purposefully not cooperated and the post was about how you fooled them and they did not patent any of your ideas, that would have been professional suicide, and would be best posted anonymously.
So yeah, Yahoo's pursuit of patents is stupid, and this latest action is truly despicable. But you did what you were supposed to do.
If you want to be emotional though: Is Facebook is fine with selling people's private information, and using others' IP in the process? That money Facebook is soaked with has been made with the lowliest of the bait&switch. It is obvious that they have used the technologies developed with hard work in other companies which they are now killing. It is only fair that they pay the fair price for what they have taken.
This guy wasn't already seriously skeptical about their intentions by 2005 when he joined Yahoo? Yeah OK.
And this: "I thought I was giving them a shield, but turns out I gave them a missile with my name permanently engraved on it."
Uhm. What? They had just sued Google for a billion dollars. On what planet does that sound like a shield that you're giving them?
This entire article is a lame attempt by the guy to wash off some guilt he's apparently feeling. It's ridiculous.
Own it big boy, you sold, enough with the excuses.
Sure, Yahoo could've just dropped the case, but I think that's different from initiating a lawsuit against a competitor.
Up until this week, Yahoo was never known for using their patent portfolio as a weapon. They'd built up defensive assets to protect against other competitors, but didn't use it offensively. They even worked with Google, Facebook, and others to defeat patent trolls like Eolas.
You can say what you like, but you weren't there. Ask other people who were, and they'll tell you the same thing: in 2005, Yahoo had bright prospects, they were making solid progress, and everyone was optimistic. Some of the most intelligent, creative people I know have their names on Yahoo patents, and they signed the contract for many of the same reasons I did -- the patent system is deeply broken, but the only sane strategy for a company Yahoo's size is to build a defensive portfolio. And we regret it.
As much as I am against it, if the acquisition of my company hinged upon my agreeing to sign off on some patents to Big Co., I'd do it.
I don't think he was all that young or naive when he sold. It would not have been difficult at his age to understand the nature of Yahoo in the context of what they had just done to Google.
I appreciate that he might be a good guy, it's the excuses that he's making now for his choices then, that isn't deserving of slack.