Clearing the Air Over MaidSafe’s Patent Request: An Interview with COO Nick Lambert
A recent article published on Cointelegraph, entitled MaidSafe Founder Seeks Monopoly on ‘Distributed Network System,’ caused some unintended controversy.
“Our connection to Bitcoin is that we share the community’s passion for decentralization and its ability to re-address the balance of power.”
—MaidSafe COO Nick Lambert
A recent article published on Cointelegraph, entitled MaidSafe Founder Seeks Monopoly on ‘Distributed Network System,’ caused some unintended controversy. We feel it is our duty to provide readers with all available information, which is why we got in touch with MaidSafe COO Nick Lambert.
David Irvine, founder and lead developer of MaidSafe, addressed the issue personally through several comments on the article itself, and in a live World Crypto Network interview that included Susanne Tarkowski of Bitnation:
Irvine acknowledges in the interview the fact that patents are often used in malicious ways that stifle innovation, but he attempts to explain how MaidSafe’s filings are different. Their primary goal is to open innovation and allow technologies that build on top of, or around, MaidSafe to have basic protections, and hence all MaidSafe’s filings are ‘defensive.’
Because there are very specific intricacies that allow for such a situation to benefit the crypto world, it should be understandable why many in this community despise the very nature of IP, patent and copyright laws. Many people who have supported projects such as MaidSafe realized their dreams without the need for any government approval, as the newness of Bitcoin spread across the globe. Tarkowski takes this anti-patent position in the WCN interview.
Toward the end of the interview, they give an example to explain patent laws to someone who is not familiar with them: If someone invents the wheel and then others start patenting inventions that use the wheel, such as a car or a bike, then no one else can make cars or bikes. But if the inventor of the wheel gets an umbrella patent on it, then anyone can build on top of it and remain free to innovate without fear.
We reached out to Lambert for more details on the company’s patent strategy.
Cointelegraph: In order to save some of our readers the trouble of reading additional articles about MaidSafe, would you mind providing a short overview, along with its connection to the cryptocurrency and Bitcoin space?
Nick Lambert: MaidSafe has created and is implementing a decentralized data and communications network—the SAFE (Secure Access For Everyone) Network—that has the potential to decentralize all web services, replacing today’s centralized data centers and servers with the spare computing resources of the network’s users.
Our connection to Bitcoin is that we share the community’s passion for decentralization and its ability to re-address the balance of power, moving control away from large corporates and governments and back into the hands of everyday users. We also have a cryptocurrency (Safecoin) at the heart of the network.
CT: This question might be unfair, but if you can, please explain the basic differences between types of patent filings. The confusion seems to be arising from the misunderstanding between the owners of the patent, such as a person or corporation, versus a charity. And also from the difference between patents on inventions or applications versus a General Public License (in this case GPLv3).
NL: The posi