April 15, 2014
Project ARA and the MDK
I am excited to see Google’s project ARA and its developer kit, the MDK. It sounds very interesting as a development platform for just about anything.
As I was reading through the license agreement I ran across this item.
“3.2.5 You agree not to enjoin in any way (including, without limitation, seeking or obtaining any cease and desist order or any importation exclusion order, or through enforcement of a court-ordered injunction) another party’s manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale, importation or distribution of modules that comply with the requirements of the MDK.”
It seems to me this precludes any enforcement of intellectual property rights involved with the production of a module. If I create something fantastic, someone else takes it apart, duplicates it exactly, and puts it into production I can not stop them. This certainly would stop the intellectual property wars but there may be an unanticipated consequence.
What incentive do I, as a startup or an existing large company, have to do major research and development if I can not recoup my investment? It seems that this may lead to a situation where most or all modules developed for ARA have a low upfront budget. While this doesn’t preclude dramatic innovations that lead to completely new ways of interacting with and creating computing devices, it seems to me that this limitation may reduce the probability of such innovations being being financially possible.