The Battle for Google Earth — It sounds like a science fiction movie, doesn’t it? It is more of a fact-based crime drama that provides insight into how tech and business try to co-exist. Embodied in a highly watchable and surprisingly popular TV mini-series, currently streaming on Netflix, its impact should not be minimized.
‘The Billion Dollar Code’ is a courtroom drama and inventor story like no other.
The four hour-long episodes are based on the true story of a company started in 1991 by an artist and a software engineer in post-Wall Berlin. Their obsession is to develop computer visualizations of earth that give the viewer a sense of traveling from outer space to a local street. Sound familiar? The youthful German creators thought so and sued Google for patent infringement in the U.S.
View a visual comparison of the Terravision planet browser with the accused infringer, Google Earth, here.
This much-touted Netflix mini-series, and an accompanying 28-minute documentary about the making of ‘The Billion Dollar Code’, are compelling entertainment. They also provide an enlightening perspective of how the IP system works and ways it can crush inventors and businesses unprepared for the challenge.
Never has the development of an algorithm or preparation for a patent trial been more painstakingly illustrated for popular audiences.
Audience response to the series, which feaures the three-year legal battle between ART+COM and Google, has been nothing short of terrific. Rotten Tomatoes did not have enough reviews to give the series a critic’s score, but it awards The Billion Dollar Code an audience rating of 100%. IMDB shows it as 4 out of 5 starts on 6,108 votes. Even the Google audience rating comes in at 4.9 on 245 reviews.
To read the full review of ‘The Billion Dollar Code’, with background about the dispute and creators, or to link to it on Netflix, visit the Intangible Investor on IPWatchdog.
Image source: Netflix; ART+COM