Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 24th Oct 2007 20:14 UTC, submitted by Oliver
Legal In a blog post, Sun's Jonathan Schwartz has announced that Sun will counter-sue Net App, after negotiations proved to be fruitless. "So now it looks like we can't avoid responding to their litigation, as frustrated as I am by that (as I said, we have zero interest in suing them). I wanted to outline our response (even if it tips off the folks at Net App), and for everyone to know where we're headed. First, the basics. Sun indemnifies all its customers against IP claims like this. [...] Second, Sun protects the communities using our technologies under free software licenses. [...] Third, we file patents defensively."
Permalink for comment 280528
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Software Patents
by Jakado on Thu 25th Oct 2007 03:51 UTC
Jakado
Member since:
2007-10-25

You two completely miss the point about what's bad about software patents (and technology patents in general). They do not prevent copying like copyrights do (for an insane amount of time), they prevent independent rediscovery of the same thing. So if Company A invests $100 million and finishes inventing a new way to wax widgets a week before Company B (who also invested $100 million), then Company B is out of luck. The thought is that it encourages companies to publish the patent rather than locking it up as a trade secret, but most such patents, in the software field at least, are merely natural evolutions of the field, so that reason flies out the window and makes it hard for anybody to avoid accidentally avoid stepping on a patent. Which lasts for 20 years (not counting sneaky ways to extend it thanks to bad USPTO rules), which in the technology field means that the patent is useless once it's no longer protected. Unlike in most other fields that do not change nearly as rapidly.

If patents worked like copyrights and did not protect against others independently coming up with the same thing, a lot fewer people would be complaining. Not to mention that software is one of the only things that can be covered by both patent and copyright. Why should software be more locked up than both books (copyright-only) and steel girder production (patent-only)?

Reply Score: 2