OLPC - CTO Quits to Become Patent Holder
The Chief Technology officer for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Mary Lou Jepsen has left the non-profit to start company that will commercialize inventions related to display technology. She has stated that she will continue to offer improvements to OLPC at a discount:
"I will continue to give OLPC product at cost, while providing commercial entities products they would like at a profit," Jepsen wrote in an e-mail.
I am dubious of whether it is a good idea for OLPC to actively license technology even at cost. My understanding was that OLPC rejected an offer from Microsoft to license a stripped down version of Windows in favor of Linux as its primary OS. Basing OLPC on free open inventions allows the most flexibility for developing nations to use the machines. Before leaving OLPC Jepsen did submit patent 20070285428 ('428 for short) to the USPTO for approval. I am curious how OLPC will treat this patent. The OLPC wiki has a strong statement in favor of Open Software, authored by Benjamin Mako Hill:
"[OLPC] Must not be otherwise encumbered by software patents which restrict modification or use in the ways described above. All patents practiced by software should be sublicenseable and allow our users to make use or sell derivative versions that practice the patent in question."
There is no similar statement about hardware patents related to OLPC. I would hope that all patents related to OLPC would be held in an patent pool similar to IBM's patent commons that allows for open source use and innovation. I am curious about how OLPC plans to use '428 in the future.
Patent 20070285428 (an OLPC patent on which Jepsen is listed as an inventor)
PS Do not confuse Mary Luo Jepsen new patent's with "jepson claims". I did, but I am better now. If anyone has a full copy of Mary Luo Jepsen's email I would be interested in reading it please email me at Brian (at) FreedomforIP (dot) org.