I was on a website this evening after work and I saw a poll: “How often do you Google yourself?” It made me stop and think a moment and realize that I haven’t in some time. So I did. And Google found the skeleton in my FOSS closet: I have a Software Patent. System and method for transcribing audio files of various languages (United States Patent 20050091274) was filed by me and my employer at the time (who owns the rights) in 2003 and was published in 2005. Having gone through the process, I have to say it was amazing. It was hard but exciting. It took a long, long time to get through the process and then equally as long to get the actual patent. My employer at the time was very helpful and supportive throughout the process.
It was not long after the patent was finally published that I began to see why software patents were not really a good idea. They stifle innovation, create monopolies, and sadly do nothing to make the world a better place. So I’d like to take this opportunity, as a software patent holder, to encourage you to read up on why I believe we should end software patents.
Perhaps the company that now owns the rights to this patent, having a stated interest in FOSS software, will make a gesture to the community and release it to the public (not really for the content but for the good will it will generate).