03.01.19

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Why Justin Simpson is Wrong About Software Patents

Posted in Australia, Deception, Patents at 1:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CEO and Patent Attorney at Billtrader Pty Ltd

Summary: Yet another boring article lectures us on why software patents are ever so wonderful, based on people who make a living from software patents without having written any software/code

TECHRIGHTS already wrote/published a lot of articles about why software patents are bad. I’ve been writing on the subject since a decade before Alice/35 U.S. — i.e. when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had to begrudgingly accept that software patents almost always perish in American courts; the same is happening in European courts, never mind if the EPO promotes software patents in Europe under the guise of “AI”, “4IR”, “ICT”, “CII” “Blockchain”, “IoT” and all sorts of other ridiculous buzzwords.

“It’s some new (albeit tiring, repurposed) propaganda from Justin Simpson.”We were therefore a little curious to see a CEO and Patent Attorney at Billtrader Pty Ltd (small firm) publishing this piece titled “A new type of patent: the software patent”; Australia’s litigation ‘industry’ has been writing more and more about it lately (see this index of articles), but this one page is 15MB in size (yes, 15 megabytes for just a few paragraphs of text; very bad implementation). It’s some new (albeit tiring, repurposed) propaganda from Justin Simpson. Debunking this propaganda is very easy, albeit highly time-consuming (due to length), so let’s just break apart two consecutive paragraphs and dissect these.

“Debunking this propaganda is very easy, albeit highly time-consuming (due to length), so let’s just break apart two consecutive paragraphs and dissect these.”Simpson wrote: “Software has value. Google, Facebook, and Amazon are software companies.”

Water also has value (billions of people depend on water for their very survival) and utilities/water treatment companies make billions of dollars each month. Should we patent water?

“Their core value is created by the clever software they have built.”

Software that is covered by copyrights and is often kept secret (proprietary) anyway. The above three companies very rarely use patents to sue, unlike IBM and Microsoft.

“Those three companies alone are worth nearly $2 trillion. That’s nearly double the GDP of my home country, Australia.”

“Water also has value (billions of people depend on water for their very survival) and utilities/water treatment companies make billions of dollars each month. Should we patent water?”Is he trying to imply that it’s the patents that add up to value? Putting aside the fictional aspects of these speculative valuations…

“So why is it that software is not patentable?”

Well, because empirical evidence does not support claims that they’re needed for innovation and copyright alone already covers the need. There have been a lot of studies about it (scholarly, too).

Here is his explanation however:

“The reason is that the courts must base their decision on existing laws and past cases that were written well before software was invented. Laws that could not have envisaged the nature and role software plays in modern society.”

Similar arguments are being made for patents on life and nature. Will he defend patents on human beings too? Or seeds?

“Articles like these have become common and they’re always pretty shallow.”These boring old arguments (nothing novel about them; every sentence or paragraph is dingo droppings) aren’t going to sway or convince anyone but the target audience of the site, with its patentism (like a religion revolving around worship of patent monopolies).

So the bottom line from Mr. Simpson is, make software patents possible and “bam!” Suddenly the GDP of Australia will be tripled. Right? It’s all about him looking for more clients (more billing opportunities), earning at the expense of people who actually write code.

Articles like these have become common and they’re always pretty shallow. Pure marketing (shameless self-promotion).

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