This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

Software Patents: Great, Dangerous or Pointless?

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Software patents have a mixed reputation. They make some millions, are labeled a scourge by others, and are generally just overlooked or misunderstood by the general public. In the end, it's an open question whether they drive innovation or hamper it.The panel will discuss patent issues as relating to startups and emerging technologies. Topics covered include: Whether acquiring patents makes sense, issues about building on third-party platforms, the growth of patent litigation, and the relationship between patents and innovation; relying on real-world examples when possible.Julie Samuels of EFF will discuss an emerging trend of suing startups over patents. Ruben Rodrigues of Foley & Lardner LLP will discuss when startups might consider patents, when not to, and different perspectives on patents and innovation. Having reported on "patent trolls" for NPR, Laura Sydell will discuss her impressions of the patent system and its effect on innovation.



Laura Sydell Digital Culture Correspondent NPR

Laura Sydell reports on the intersection of digital technologies with arts, entertainment, and everyday life for NPR news magazine's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered." Along with Alex Blumberg she investigated the shady world of "patent trolls," which resulted in an hour long program for "This American Life" called, "When Patents Attack." The program was transcribed for Columbia University's Best Business Writing of 2011 and it remains the most downloaded podcast in the history of "This American Life."

Ruben Rodrigues Assoc Foley & Lardner LLP

Ruben is an associate with Foley & Lardner LLP and a member of the firm's IP Litigation and Electronics Practices and Emerging Technologies Industry Team. He has previously interned in the Massachusetts Governor's Office of Legal Counsel under Gov. Deval Patrick and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Ruben represents startup companies and has worked on matters for a number of large technology companies. He has written articles on the privacy implications of nanotechnology and Facebook, and authored a chapter in the 2011 book "The Offensive Internet".

Ruben earned his law degree with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, a Masters in Science and Technology Policy from Northeastern University, bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.

Ruben is admitted to practice in Illinois, Massachusetts, the Northern District of Illinois, the Eastern District of Texas, and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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