Do you remember ....
.... 'old idea, done on a computer', and 'well known technique, done on a mobile' patents?
Soon, we'll have 'obvious method on an internet connected thing' patents.
There are many interesting aspects to the announcement that Qualcomm, among others, is joining Ericsson’s Avanci patent pool scheme. Some of these appear contradictory. On the one hand, Avanci illustrates how the old patent structures of the mobile industry will no longer be fit for purpose for the Internet of Things (IoT). …
Let's say some company figures out a way to have your phone read your brainwaves in a totally secure way so you can just think "unlock" and your phone will unlock, you think 'open Facebook' and it will, you think what you want to text and it does it. It works so well you don't even consciously think those things before long, it becomes second nature like typing or driving.
Obviously this would be a killer feature that would give the company which invented it a massive market advantage. If China implements a law like this that would require them to license this invention to others, one of two things happens. One, if they think it is secure against reverse engineering they could keep it a trade secret. If there's no patent, there's nothing to license. If they do patent it, they could decide it isn't worth creating the additional competition and simply not sell their phones in China. There would be grey market imports by the millions, of course, so the law would serve no purpose other than to make things more expensive for Chinese customers and make it difficult or impossible for them to get post-sale support.
When it comes to more mundane stuff like slide to unlock, there would always be the worry that China might decide "that's an essential feature, you have to license it to others". I guess if that happens you do a cost/benefit analysis of the sales loss in China versus being forced to license it. For slide to unlock I think the decision is easy, but for things between slide to unlock and brainwave reading, it becomes more difficult to decide.
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