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September 20, 2012 10:39 AM

Categories: Operations and Legal

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Joined: 09/20/2012

I was wondering if it was possible to use an API from an online software application and then patent a resulting mashup you created using it.  For instance, could you license the ESRI mapping tools and then use them to create an application for a very specific industry and then try and patent the finished appliction.  It seems to me it would be like trying to patent the use of a GM truck to move furniture.  If a third party has a tool that you can apply to an industry without a lot of modification, can you just wrap something around it and get a software patent?  For instance, could you build something that uses ESRI API and then patent your product for for use in the real estate market?   It seems like ESRI would have a problem with that as they would be shut out of the real estate market.  I could see if you had an exclusive agreement with them but if you were no more than a licensor of their product.  It seems we are seeing more and more of these types of patents with the seamless integration the web provides.

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