The intersection of software development and intellectual property protection has been a popular destination for debate in recent years. But while some are calling for the absolute abolition of software patents, at least two well-regarded industry names are putting their dollars behind a more measured approach to reform.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading nonprofit advocate for digital privacy, assumed a more proactive role in software patent reform with the debut of its Defending Innovation project earlier this year. The initiative's primary objectives include a shortening of patent terms, legal cost-shifting in favor of prevailing parties and more robust protection for independent inventors.
Each of those goals received considerable support this week in the form of two $250,000 donations provided by tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban and PC game developer Markus Persson.
"Temporary fixes aren't good enough - we need deep and meaningful reform to protect software development and keep it as free and democratic as possible," Persson said. "New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better - an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely."
The first return on this investment will come in January, as the EFF welcomes a new attorney to the staff. However, the bulk of funding will be allocated toward creating and expanding political advocacy and public outreach campaigns to ensure the complexities of patent licensing and infringement issues are effectively communicated.