Firmware patents….

SPOILER ALERT: This post discusses patents. If you’re an employee at a company, ask your manager if you’re able to read this sort of information…..

I wonder how bad it’s going to get with firmware patents… Searching the patent databases, I find THOUSANDS with ‘firmware’, HUNDREDS with ‘UEFI’, and dozens with ‘coreboot’, and many for ACPI. For example, it appears that Microsoft has patented the ability to securely update firmware:

Microsoft: Secure Firmware Updates
US 20140068585 A1, CN 104603792 A, US 8898654 B2

This is just one example, all of the big OEMs, IHVs, and ISA vendors have patents left and right in this space. 😦

Are vendors able to build UEFI — or even coreboot — systems without lawyers from some of the big companies knocking on their door asking for royalties? Where is the firmware equivalent of the “Open Invention Network”, to help smaller vendors even use basic firmware functionality with lawyers looking to monetize everything? I wonder if the Maker movement or Open Hardware or Free Hardware is going to be able to survive this.

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