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09.10.07

Software Patents: Programmers Lose, Consumers Lose, Lawyers Win

Posted in America, Boycott Novell, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, SUN at 9:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It has become rather clear that software patents have gone too far. They waste everyone’s time regardless of promises and minor reforms. Take this classic 1-Click Shopping case, which has not been terminated yet.

Looks like Amazon’s high-priced Silicon Valley attorneys will have to endure the ‘undue hardship’ of awakening early next Thursday morning to defend CEO Jeff Bezos’ 1-Click patent in a Video Hearing before the Board of Patent.

Despite the White House’s opposition, a reform was recently approved to assist one’s defenses against patent abuse [PDF]. This might not be effective, however, which is why an entirely new approach continues to be explored.

A couple of new articles remind the reader why the only winners here are the lawyers.

Law suits sparked by patent infringement claims are risky ventures. They hardly ever make either party look good, and they are anything but sure bets as revenue producers – unless you’re an attorney.

Contrariwise, a remedial reform’s biggest sufferers are also the lawyers.

If newly proposed patent legislation becomes law, Microsoft might have to lay off or fire a bunch of lawyers.

It is shocking to find seemingly-intelligent people who still believe that ownership of mathematical processes is a decent idea. The balancing point below is later contradicted by a controversial view.

Patents that are improperly granted or exercised with too much reckless force can cause harm and lead to high legal costs. Similar things could be said about police who act improperly. As with patents, some people (particularly among racial minorities) say they’d rather not have police at all. But the abuses just remind us that powerful forces need to be carefully regulated, and abusers have to be disciplined.

Watch the comments. Andy gets no love for his view on patenting software, which is equated by Don Marti to “prose patents”.

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