Software patents - what are they good for?

Problem

It’s safe to say that there is much disagreement among engineers, lawyers, and policy makers over whether software patents even make sense, that is, whether the ability to patent software actually does more harm than good to our innovation society and economy.

Solution

Congress should hold hearings and provide a study examining the issue. The study should include a review of relevant economic data and should take into account viewpoints from all parties affected by the patent system, particularly those who oftentimes do not practice before the Patent Office and who do not deal with litigation and licensing until they are facing the threat of a suit themselves.

Austin D
United States
Posted Jun 22, 2012 11:48 pm
  • Software developer / engineer
Injecting politics in it won’t help.
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232 thumbs up.

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Mark Finch
Phoenix
AZ
United States
Posted Jun 19, 2012 5:49 pm
  • Software developer / engineer
  • Internet user
I believe that Software Patents only serve to harm innovation. Whats more nearly every book on the subject states it is best to not even search for a patent due to the extra punishment for knowingly violating a patent. So every company ignores the patent system because there are so many garbage patents out there that it is impossible to write software without violating someones patent.

I own a company developing software. I do not want software covered by patents. We have a perfectly acceptable way to protect software it is called a Copyright. I Copyright all my code and choose if I will License the code with an Open or Proprietary License. Nobody needs the patent system clogging up the path for innovation.

When someone invented a carburetor another person wasn't prevented from developing a competing carburetor. Where as software patents prevent you from developing a competing software procedure. Take Amazon's infamous 1-Click. At it's surface it is blindingly obvious. So should have been prevented from receiving patent protection. Further if it was patented then it goes to reason other parties should be able to invent their own form of 1-click. But the way software works there is no way to not violate Amazon's Patent.
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568 thumbs up, including yours.

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