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Wed 12 May 2004
Patents and the Penguin
Category : Commentary/patentsPenguin.txt
This is a very interesting article, "Patents and the Penguin".
On the one hand, one can see how fast MySQL has grown in terms of market penetration, using the Open Source model in parallel with an ability to sell profitable services alongside the free downloads. But MySQL AB has, sort of, hedged its bets with a dual licensing model, so they have a lot of flexibility to play their cards no matter which way the game turns.
And nobody knows how all these will pan out. The issues about intellectual property rights and patents are complex, as the article above clearly shows.
But it's still important for any business to try to understand them.
You can choose to work in a business, as a self-employed person. Or to work on a business, as a business owner. But the second is the nicer, more evolved and preferred position to be in. That's because you've established the procedures, methods, and systems so that the business will run without your needing to be there. And it makes it that much more attractive, as a going concern, for other investors to want to buy into because it doesn't matter much to them, then, if you do get run over by a truck.
But before you say, watch out Hawaii (or substitute your dream retirement enclave), here I come, you've got to make sure that you really do own the procedures, methods and systems, because that's what the investors are buying. That's why intellectual property issues are so important to understand and track. Maybe, more so because there doesn't seem to be that many lawyers around who understand a thing at all.