Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Legal Commentary: Mozilla Seabird

This isn't actually a law story, on the face of it, but dig this puppy. It's a concept for a phone that would use projection and sensors to create a larger keyboard and a larger display wherever you wanted one.

But the reason this filed here under legal commentary is this:

The Seabird phone is definitely a conceptual idea: Mozilla has squashed any thoughts of actually building the Android-powered device. So don’t expect to see such a handset at next year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Even though the phone itself will likely never appear, it is a safe bet that future phones will leverage some of the technologies found in Seabird. And newer solutions could evolve to take the place of a projected keyboard or display as handsets evolve, and that’s the key word: evolve.
This move of sharing a concept in hopes that elements will be stolen by other developers is basically as harsh an antithesis of today's patent system status quo.

Here's what I would expect Mozilla to have done.
  1. Worked on the concept for a bit.
  2. Applied for a patent.
  3. Decided that they didn't want to develop it.
  4. Sit on it and tell no one.
  5. Sue the first person to commercially market the idea.
Instead, Mozilla is acting as though... they... don't care about money? They're more interested in the advance of technology than being able to score financial points?

Crazy Mozilla.