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09.01.11

Even Pro-Microsoft News Sites Complain About Patents Now

Posted in Patents at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Board of chess

Summary: In today’s news we find two more stories (as usual) — this time from Microsoft-friendly sources — which are hostile towards patents and call for a reform

SEVERAL days ago we gave some examples of pro-Microsoft sites and Microsoft developers who are upset about software patents and/or the patent system in general. A year ago we showed prominent Microsoft developers talking about this too, probably embarrassing Microsoft quite a lot. Some former Microsoft employees even declared war on patents. Well, here is another pro-Microsoft news site complaining that high-tech is being harmed:

Patents are as American as mom and apple pie. Maybe more so. Mom and apple pie aren’t mentioned in the Constitution.

Patents are such a fundamental part of American economic culture that the Founding Fathers saw fit to address them in the Constitution. But in the software industry, patents may be doing more harm than good — stifling innovation, hijacking the bottom line, and siphoning shareholder value.

We the people establish the patent system
“The Congress shall have power … To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”
–Article I, Section 8, U.S. Constitution

In another new article, this time from the Washington Post, there is this proposal:

Y Combinator is about to wield its rapidly-growing influence in the tech community to help startups everywhere. And it’s taking on one of the hottest (and most fear-inspiring) issues around: patents.

Today YC cofounder Paul Graham has written a note called The Patent Pledge in which he proposes that tech companies should commit to a straightforward promise: “No first use of software patents against companies with less than 25 people.”

Really? And does that become acceptable when the company exceeds that size? How so? The problem is not one of scale; it’s a problem of a poorly-thought out and badly-implemented system which just needs to be abolished altogether. In this age of the Internet we have sharing of knowledge and open source repositories which document inventions. We don’t need arcane paper-based systems.

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