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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Part-time driver-less car patent!!

Matt Yglesias takes up the patent issued Google on its driverless car link here.

But that characterization isn't quite right. In fact the software patent is on the method allowing the control to pass back and forth from machine control to human control. More precisely, "the use of a predefined landing strip" or "programming a predefined route into a vehicle, or having a computer control an autonomous vehicle that follows a route based on information stored in the computer".

Matt notes that the world gains from this in terms of safety and efficiency. However he questions the patent grant on the grounds that another monopoly has been established by stealth. Fortunately, the patent will be worthless once the world switches to full time computer control of the car. But in the meantime, we will all pay in higher prices.


Comments

Just why will we ALL pay higher prices?
Every one of the independent claims requires obtaining location information from the internet based on information located on the street. Meaning that the characterization that the claims somehow broadly relate to passing control between a human piloted mode and an autonomous mode are is imprecise, at best. Indeed, this patent seems fairly valueless considering that there are better ways of doing what the patent claims.


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