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Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers

We start the new year with a new editorial feature—a cover article written expressly for the Communications audience concerning a timely topic or technology issue in the news. Such cover articles will be interspersed throughout the year, trading off with special sections every other month. These articles will dig deeper, exploring a particular topic from many angles as well as interpreting the implications for the entire IT community. Some of the "covers" slated for the year include anti-spam technologies, smart business networks, privacy-enhanced personalization, ICT-led globalization, and energy and power in sensor networks.

Our first cover story of 2007 investigates the possible avenues (and pitfalls) for patent-protecting an invention. The road to an inspired technology-based innovation is rutted with legal loopholes and complex considerations. Moreover, once a patent is obtained, the holder has a trio of complicated decisions to mull over: sell the patent to an entity with the financial resources to turn the idea into a product, buy the patent from a holder for future use in your own invention, or use the patent to aggressively search for possible infringements by the competition. Patricia S. Abril and Robert Plant take inventors and would-be inventors through the maze of proactive, profit-generating patent models as well as defensive practices, particularly the use of patent trolls. They detangle the road to "ownership" and call for the U.S. to reform the numerous weaknesses in its patent policies. We hope their story arms future inventors (and investors) with the information needed to take the next step(s).

Also this month, Markus Biehl outlines the factors most important to a successful GIS implementation; among the top ones is ensuring senior management understands—and appreciates—every step of the way. Huimin Zhao contends it is time to reap the results of 20 years of research focused on techniques for determining semantic correspondences across heterogeneous data sources. McDonald and Edwards examine the use and abuse of personality tests in software engineering, recommending how to get the most from test results. Singh et al. identify intra-organizational issues that affect the success of supply chain technologies. And Hoepman and Jacobs argue that making security source code as freely available as the rest of open source software could actually increase the effectiveness of its security.

Phillip Armour interviews survivors of a company demise and finds how that experience inspired the business strategies by which their new venture operates. Meg McGinity Shannon charts the top telecom trends to watch this year. In addition, ACM's FY06 Annual Report summarizes a year of achievements and initiatives for the benefit of its members, and ACM's 2005 A.M. Turing Award recipient Peter Naur presents his Turing lecture: "Computing Versus Human Thinking."

Diane Crawford

©2007 ACM  0001-0782/07/0100  $5.00

Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.

The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 2007 ACM, Inc.


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