to the EE-Times, published 8th March 2002:
virtual reality, patents are hampering tech development.
*U.S. patent debate to pit IP rights vs. competition* (Feb. 11,
page 6), I am a virtual reality photographer working in Sweden and
Poland, determined to provide affordable but high quality images
to my customers of interiors and environments of hotels, restaurants,
tourism facilities, arenas cultural heritage spaces and others.
At the beginning, I had problems finding suitable software. This
situation was the result of extensive patent activity by one large
company that attempted to obtain full coverage of these new Internet
technologies. Due to aggresive lawsuit activities, the company's
competitiors disappeared. Even worse, the company did not work enough
on technology development. The company's chief goal was to make
technology easy for the mass-market user, but instead the situation
resembled the introduction of photography in the 18th century: Only
the most skilled individuals can afford it because it is impossible
to totaly patent this still-immature technology. (*Here I originally
meant rather that an open technology development is in this case
faster and more effective than its progress in a single company*).
A lot of individual, artistic and technical skills are still required.
It is amazing that the free-software developers- some of them from
Europe, where these patent applications have been rejected-now provide
better and much more modern software tools. One author was threatened
by the company with lawsuits if he did not stop distributing his
software. But if he stopped, no technical progress would take place.
This restriction hampering small Web developers from patenting technology
could lead to missing the Internet video opportunity. (*Here I originally
wrote something different: that by tracking other VR-panorama software
developpers the company missed 360-streaming video opportunity in
favour of Behere*) I respect the intelectual property of others
but an open-market approach would better stimulate (this market).
Gancarson, web developer, panorama-photographer