Linked by Dmitrij D. Czarkoff on Fri 31st Aug 2007 08:54 UTC
Editorial This article is an answer to "Competition Is Not Good" by Kroc and reading it wouldn't be comfortable without switching to and from the original article. I wrote it just because I do strongly disagree with Kroc and I believe I can prove that he is not as close to truth as it may seem from the first glance.
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by SReilly on Fri 31st Aug 2007 10:51 UTC in reply to "RE"
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Same goes for innovation, unless there is that reward there for someone to innovate, the compelling aspect to work the long hours and take the risk won't exist - and thus, things stagnate.

I was having a very similar conversation with the drummer in my band last night. He is currently studying mechanical engineering and as it's the summer holidays, he is working with a metallurgical engineering firm.

The firm he is working for has a world wide patent on a process for nitrogen treating alloys. The fact that the owner of the company invented this process gives him every right to patent it, thereby getting a substantial return on his efforts.

Sure, the process belongs to everyone, that's always going to be the case, but, armed with the patent, the company gets sole licensing rights for the next 50 years (or however long these things last).

If the patenting system did not exist, the inventor would have much less of a reason to develop this process in the first place as anybody could just appropriate his technological invention without paying him a penny.

Now, if we take the example of software patents, it's a completely different matter. Software, IMO, is basically a creative means of expressing mathematics. It's akin to a musician writing a song. I have never heard of a musician patenting his way of playing the guitar, keyboard of percussion, that would be absurd! Yet this is what software patenting is attempting to do.

Many of use have seen the darker side of what software patents do to stifle competition and creativity in the IT industry. If you develop a great new application that happens to do/display/output in some manner that has been patented by MS, Apple or HP, you would leave yourself wide open to litigation, at least in the US. The whole situation is akin to a protection racket as it seems that the only way to protect yourself from this daft patent system is to buy in to it and aquire your own patents.

In our current political and economic climate, the competition engendered by our patent system is, IMO, a darn good thing, yet we see it being abused in the form of software patent. Sure, competition is good but as quite a few other have put it, only on a level playing field.

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