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 An entity in the business of being infringed — by analogy to the mythological troll that exacted payments from the unwary. Cf. NPE, PAE, PME. See Reitzig and Henkel, Patent Trolls, the Sustainability of ‘Locking-in-to-Extort’ Strategies, and Implications for Innovating Firms., give me first dibs, OK?