Innovation cost and imitation costs are *not* the same in software. The fact that some software is open does not change this. The threat of litigation *should* stop those like Samsung from copying others as they do. There is no reason the Samsungs of the world cannot come up with their own innovative solutions (and in some areas Samsung does!)
Alex whines about the current system of protection but offers no other way for innovative companies to protect their investments… and such protected innovations benefit the whole tech industry.
With that said, the tech world moves fast. 20 years seems a long time. I think 10 would make sense. And no Disney-style IP protection extensions. Those are just idiotic. But, Alex, speak of solutions – do not just whine about how things are.
How widespread coverage and talking points from the tiny minority which is patent lawyers have contributed to biased and at times utterly distorted reporting on the subject of software patents around the world
ZDNet promotes Microsoft in the editorial sections, not just in the ads, and it employs Microsoft people who habitually also censor commenters for expressing views that may upset the customers (advertisers like Microsoft)
How press coverage of software patents in the EU and New Zealand (NZ) varies depending on the source; allegations that the US press tries to dismiss end of software patents by twisting an outcome of a major trial
The UK is modifying its law to accommodate takeover of national interests by foreign interests which may usher in software patents among other nasty elements of protectionism (primarily exported by multinational corporations from across the Atlantic ocean)