03 November 2008

Open Source Invention

Here's an interesting point about a new trend in "publishing" inventions directly to YouTube:

This is a very good article in the New York Times about publicising inventions via Web 2.0 tools like YouTube. The piece concentrates on Dr Johnny Chung Lee, a 28-year-old inventor who became a YouTube celebrity by posting Wii hacks, including how to make a muilti-touch whiteboard, and the mind-boggling video on generating real 3D gaming experiences. The videos went viral, and attracted 2 million and 6 million views respectively.


Something not mentioned in the NYT piece however is the patent implication of Dr Lee's practices. Patenting requires novelty, therefore by making his inventions public before filing for a patent application would invalidate any later request. However, by placing his inventions on YouTube, it also precludes anyone else from trying to patent the invention. This is, for lack of a better word, open source invention.

Indeed, and an interesting example of how openness can help stymie intellectual monopolies.

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