PublishedSeptember 5, 2013

Wherein I Join the Ranks of Inventors

Well, it’s happened. A patent that I co-invented has issued.

Of course, I don’t own it, because it was based on my work as a software engineer at IBM. But I do take some pride; the invention came from one of my better ideas. We were trying to figure out how to solve the problem of sending streaming images to people with very different bandwidth connections. I asked something like, “What if we let people just pull updates as fast as they can instead of pushing them out at the same speed to everyone?”

And so, an invention was born.

One interesting fact about this patent: it took nearly 10 years to issue! We filed it back in the fall of 2003. Because of all the delays, the term was extended by over 8 1/2 years, so the patent won’t expire until 2032.

It’s a quirk of the patent system, but it seems wrong somehow.

Oh, and IBM, if you ever think of selling this to a troll, give me first dibs, OK?


Matt Levy

Previously, Matt was patent counsel at the Computer & Communications Industry Association

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