Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 17th Jul 2011 20:58 UTC, submitted by fran
Linux It's strange. Microsoft has been patent trolling the heck out of the Linux kernel for a long time now, and is still using these patents against Android today in its protection money scheme. However, as LWN.net illustrates, Microsoft makes quite a few contributions to the Linux kernel. Shouldn't this invalidate their patent claims?
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RE[6]: Logic
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 06:05 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Logic"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

Software is an arrangement of 0s and 1s; a car is just an arrangement of metal and rubber. I think the question should be: was the arrangement found, or built? Proper mathematics is found, but software is most definitely built.


Anything which requires an author or other type of artisan is "built". Why on earth should software alone be patentable, just because it uses math as its working medium?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Logic
by saynte on Tue 19th Jul 2011 06:12 in reply to "RE[6]: Logic"
saynte Member since:
2007-12-10

Software is NOT alone in being patentable, many things are patentable.

I could argue the same way in the opposite direction: why should software NOT be patentable just because it uses math as its working medium, not metal and rubber?

My point here is that it should be on some property other than the "material" with which something is built that the decision of patentability is made.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: Logic
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 06:43 in reply to "RE[7]: Logic"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Software is NOT alone in being patentable, many things are patentable. I could argue the same way in the opposite direction: why should software NOT be patentable just because it uses math as its working medium, not metal and rubber? My point here is that it should be on some property other than the "material" with which something is built that the decision of patentability is made.


OK, I have got your argument. Stepping away from this issue just a moment, how about we consider the actual purpose of patents?

http://www.danablankenhorn.com/2006/07/the_purpose_of_.html
"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;

Let's look at that again. The purpose of patents and copyrights is 'to promote the progress of science and useful arts,' and to secure 'for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right' to writing and discoveries. "


Software is a commodity with near-zero setup costs and near-zero cost of reproduction.

Because of the low, low barriers to entry, it simply doesn't need any help to 'promote its progress'. People will jump in and create software with no encouragement at all, encouragement simply isn't required. Very similar to writing a book or a song.

Because of the low economic barriers to entry, it is not at all similar to making a new drug, or even a new engine design.

Indeed, from the time modern computers were first being built right up to the 90's there were no software patents. Copyright law was applicable, and eminently sufficient to protect investments in software development.

In these respects, software is entirely similar to writing a book or a song. It is arguably less capital intensive than making a movie. The only difference is the medium of expression, maths rather than words or notes or moving pictures.

So, once again, why should software be patentable?

Patenting software does nothing to achieve the purpose which patents are meant to achieve. Software patents are simply not necessary, they achieve no purpose, just like patents for books are not necessary.

Edited 2011-07-19 06:50 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3