July 20, 2012 - 1:00pm PDT

Do you spend most Friday afternoons worrying about the future of American innovation smothering under the cumbersome yoke of our broken software patent system? Yeah, we do too.

Well, do ­­­we have an event for you. This Friday, we're moderating a live Google Hangout with three noted experts in innovation and patent law.  The one-hour discussion will be streamed live on our Google Plus Account this Friday July 20, 2012 at 1 PM Pacific (that's 4 PM Eastern).

(No, you don’t have to sign up for a Google Plus account to watch.)

Why software patents?
The US Patent Office, overwhelmed and underfunded, issues questionable software patents every day. “Patent trolls” buy too many of these patents and then misuse the patent system to shake down companies big and small. Others still use patents to limit competition and impede access to new knowledge, tools, or other innovations.

Join us Friday to discuss software patents, EFF’s new Defend Innovation campaign, and what we need to do to safeguard the future of innovation in America.

Here's the lineup for Friday's hangout:

Jason Schultz

Considered a bit of a superstar in software patent circles, Jason Schultz is an EFF Fellow specializing in intellectual property and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at U.C. Berkeley Law School. Previously, he served as a Senior Staff Attorney at EFF, where he led our Patent Busting Project and represented creators, innovators, and consumers in a variety of matters involving fair use, free speech, and reverse engineering. He received his J.D. from Berkeley and his undergrad degrees in Public Policy Studies and Women's Studies from Duke University.

Jason on Twitter
Jason on Google+

Brad Feld

Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures, a company that helped launch and operate software companies. Brad is also a co-founder of TechStars.

Brad currently serves on the board of directors of BigDoor, Cheezburger, Fitbit, FullContactGnip, MakerBot, MobileDayOblong, Orbotix, SEOMozStanding Cloud, and Yesware for Foundry Group. Previously, Brad was an executive at AmeriData Technologies after it acquired Feld Technologies, a firm he founded in 1987 that specialized in custom software applications.

Brad on Twitter
Brad on Google+

Parker Higgins

Our fearless moderator, Parker Higgins is an activist at EFF specializing in issues at the intersection of freedom of speech and copyright, trademark, and patent law.  He blogs for EFF's Deeplinks and helps maintain the Wikipedia article on the burrito (also known as the “taco de harina”).

Parker on Twitter
Parker on Google+

Send in your questions!

This is going to be a freewheeling conversation about patents, society, and the future of innovation, but we’ll throw in some questions to keep things on topic. If you have questions you'd like to pose to the group, shoot at email to parker@eff.org. First question: Is this Hangout the best thing to happen to Fridays since the 5-day work week was invented? Answer: Quite possibly.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit law firm and advocacy center focusing on civil liberties and technology issues.  We run activism campaigns for digital rights, fight for users in the courts, and create cool freedom-preserving technology like HTTPS Everywhere. Connect with EFF on Twitter, identi.ca, and Facebook.