Originally Posted by melgross
I don't understand why some people get bent out of shape over software patents.
Perhaps because of silliness like this:http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic....11210181900395
One of my favorite descriptions of why software patents are a hindrance to technology and progress is this one:
"The result is that even when you write a program, you are using lots of different ideas, any one of them might be patented by somebody. A pair of them may be patented as a combination by somebody. There might be several different ways of describing one idea which might be patented by various different people. So there are possibly thousands of things, thousands of points of vulnerability in your program, which might be patented by somebody else already.This is why software patents tend to obstruct the progress of software -- the work of software development.
If it were one patent-one product, then these patents wouldn't obstruct the development of products because if you develop a new product, it wouldn't be patented by somebody else already. But when one product corresponds to many different ideas combined, it gets very likely your new product is going to be patented by somebody else already.
In fact, there is economic research now showing just how imposing a patent system on a field where there is incremental innovation can retard progress. You see, the advocates of software patents say "Well, yes, there may be problems, but more important than any problems, the patents must promote innovation, and that is so important it doesn't matter what problems you cause". Of course, they don't say that out loud because it is ridiculous, but implicitly they want you to believe that as long as it promotes progress, that outweighs any possible cost. But actually, there is no reason to believe it does promote progress. We now have a model showing precisely how patents can retard progress. The case where that model can fit describes the software field pretty well; incremental innovation."
The entire speech given at Cambridge can be found here, as well as other links concerning current patent issues, including software.http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/it-strat...-case-2107497/