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Patents Software United States

Nobelist Gary Becker Calls For an End To Software Patents 147

Posted by timothy
from the gary's-good-gnus dept.
GigaOM notes that (excerpting) "Gary Becker, a Nobel-prize winning professor at the University of Chicago, stated this week that the U.S. patent system is ”too broad, too loose, and too expensive” and called for the end of software patents: 'Disputes over software patents are among the most common, expensive, and counterproductive. Their exclusion from the patent system would discourage some software innovations, but the saving from litigation costs over disputed patent rights would more than compensate the economy for that cost.'" Here are Becker's comments, from the always-fun Becker-Posner Blog.
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Nobelist Gary Becker Calls For an End To Software Patents

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  • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:10AM (#44361153)

    Is it a mere algorithm? An algorithm with a specific realised implementation?

    Since I'm not currently in a country where mathematics can be owned, it seems weird to me.

    Does any software company actually indicate that they would stop work if it were not for software patents? I.e. is there any company which says that it relies on software patents to do business in software, rather than as a defensive/offensive mechanism?

    • by faffod (905810) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:32AM (#44361363)

      [...] is there any company which says that it relies on software patents to do business in software, rather than as a defensive/offensive mechanism?

      Yes, they are called patent trolls.

      • rather than as a defensive/offensive mechanism?

        Yes, they are called patent trolls.

        I think you missed half of the question there. Patent trolls by definition use patents as an offensive mechanism.

        • by faffod (905810)
          Sorry I was being sarcastic, patent trolls try to project an image of inventors on the defensive despite the obvious "you have nothing except vague patents". (well, enough of them do)
    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:34AM (#44361387) Homepage

      Does any software company actually indicate that they would stop work if it were not for software patents? I.e. is there any company which says that it relies on software patents to do business in software, rather than as a defensive/offensive mechanism?

      And if any software company says it needs software patents, are they actually telling the truth or just lying to maintain a position of unfair power over small competitors?

      • by Firethorn (177587) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:51AM (#44361561) Homepage Journal

        I have a two part thought on this:
        Start with that Software is already protected under copyright law. This prevents others from simply copying your code and calling it their own. Ergo, a software patent would need to be more generic, protecting a process, not a implementation.

        Take something like bittorrent. The application itself would be copyrighted, it would be the idea of peer to peer sharing that would be the patent. Well, at least if you want to get overly generic about it. More specific would be the idea that you utilize a 'seed' file that contains initial information about the sharing, files, hashes and whatnot to make the system somewhat secure.

        But bittorrent is something that, while they benefit from the copyright, they actually increase their own share by making the protocol open via helping 'bittorrent' win over other file sharing methods because people aren't locking into one application.

        I agree with the op on the whole - software patents are a bad idea and cost the economy/people more than it benefits them.

        • At least in my industry, copyright has worked well to litigate real thefts. Lately my industry has done like all the others and used patents to protect their turf from newcomers. Sad really, and it is slowing innovation. Startups get clobbered before they get traction. Even copyright can get misused though, see the berkeley design automation case with cadence.
        • by gnupun (752725)

          Start with that Software is already protected under copyright law. This prevents others from simply copying your code and calling it their own.

          Copyrights are easy to work around. Imagine this is your copyrighted code (simple code for this example):

          void swap(int* a, int *b)
          {
          int temp = *a;
          *a = *b;
          *b = temp
          }

          I can workaround the copyright protection by changing the variables because copyright protects the exact representation of an idea only, not the idea itself. My non-infringing code, based on your code (that I obtained from reading your source, or reverse engineering the object code):

          void swapInts(int *numA, int* numB)
          {
          int t;
          t = *numA;
          *

          • And as that code should never, ever, EVER even remotely be considered patentable, you have perfectly illustrated the problem. Obvious to one reasonably skilled in the art. That particular piece of code above deserves no protection whatsoever. It is not an invention. I would posit that it doesn't even constitute a creative work.
          • That's the thing about copyrights; you're not allowed to copy somebody's story, but even though somebody else has written a detective novel doesn't mean that you can't.

            Looking at your two code fragments, I see two implementations that are different enough to have been come up by two different coders given the same problem. Sure, they're very much alike, but it's for a really simple function. Consider how similar two horseshoes are probably going to be for the same horse(and tasking for said horse). Same

      • They need software patents solely to give their investors feelgood vibes. Venture capitalists perceive a major benefit if a software company has a few patents covering their work. The software companies really don't care.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Is it a mere algorithm? An algorithm with a specific realised implementation?

      Since I'm not currently in a country where mathematics can be owned, it seems weird to me.

      Does any software company actually indicate that they would stop work if it were not for software patents? I.e. is there any company which says that it relies on software patents to do business in software, rather than as a defensive/offensive mechanism?

      The delineation would be among Do Lawyers Profit and Do Lawyers Not Profit. Win, lose or draw, lawyers always come out on top in a patent dispute and will oppose an end to their milk money.

      As to patenting in the very first place there's only so many ways to do something in software. While a look and feel of a finished product can be quite distinct, like the melody of a tune, getting there requires assembling code to produce the look and feel, respond to actions and such in very much the way a person could

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      Since I'm not currently in a country where mathematics can be owned, it seems weird to me.

      The USA is also a country where mathematics cannot be owned. So how do we still have "Software patents"? Well, perhaps because nobody has had the temerity to try pointing out to the Supreme Court that "Software" = algorithm = math. The few times the issue has come up, both the courts and the lawyers involved sidestepped it. It's almost like everyone is afraid of what might happen if an actual ruling on the issue were to be forced. When it comes up in lower courts, its a crapshoot, but about half the time th [opensource.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's a new one. I did a double-take and had to check to see if you weren't spelling novelist wrong.

    The dangers of software patents are many and well-documented. They frequently serve little purpose except as legal ammunition in cases that do nothing but punish businesses for attempting to make a good product. Computer code is not an invention -- if it was we'd have patents on the programming language. What you can do is copyright your work as an act of expression, like a how-to book.

    • Re:Nobelist? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:14AM (#44361185)

      I believe the generally accepted term is "Nobel Laureate". Who wrote "Nobelist"?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A personal friend, who knows that Gary Becker is a stanch believer in the doctrine of Alfred Nobel.

        • by cellocgw (617879)

          A personal friend, who knows that Gary Becker is a stanch believer in the doctrine of Alfred Nobel.

          So your friend the Nobelist wants to stop the belief in said doctrine? (stanch!=staunch) :-)

      • New terms are coined all the time. I prefer Nobelian.
        • I like the way nobelian sounds, although it's giving me more of an adjective vibe. Like, you could buy a nobelian lamp for your end table to make your living room look classy.

          • I would think most references to people could be used that way. You could get a nobelian bonus at the end of the year from work...if you happen to be popular enough. Term 'American' is often used in both ways as well.
        • by cellocgw (617879)

          Nobelian? Is a Nobelian Group anything like an Abelian Group?

      • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

        Who wrote "Nobelist"?

        This is Slashdot. Find comfort in the fact it wasn't spelled NodeList();

      • I believe the generally accepted term is "Nobel Laureate".

        Becker is actually a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences [wikipedia.org], which is not the Nobel Prize [wikipedia.org].

  • Here here .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pollarda (632730) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:14AM (#44361191)

    It boggles my mind that the Government expects that software developers will do patent searches as they write their code rather than simply implementing what is obvious at the time to implement. Software patents are written in such a way as to make them difficult to interpret and appear broad even when they aren't. It simply isn't practical for software developers were to do their "due diligence" as they write their code, and if they did no appreciable amount of code would be written.

    It is quite likely that most if not all software written violates at least a small handful of patents (remember the XOR patent?) -- creating an unfair advantage for the companies who have enormous in-house legal councils who can pursue purported patent violations.

    • Re:Here here .... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:19AM (#44361231)

      The prevailing advice AFAIK is to deliberately NEVER do a patent search. Why? Because if you knowingly infringe a patent, that's triple damages. Even the suggestion that you did a patent search could be sufficient evidence.

      As you rightly point out, everyone knows it's impossible to write any significant (or possibly even trivial) piece of software without infringing something ; since this is the case, it just doesn't make any sense to do any kind of patent search at all.

      Obligatory : IANAL.

      • I've come to the conclusion that there's just no way to guarantee innovator's rights via software patents. I agree with Becker, some harm will come, but less than is being done by a system which includes:
        1) overly-broad patents
        2) patent litigation by trolls not using their patent for anything besides litigation
        3) perverse business incentive for people to abuse 1 & 2

        I've changed my mind because I haven't heard a way yet that allows "good" software patents to exist without far worse elements in the syste

        • by Znork (31774)

          Yes, it can be fixed. Sort of. But only if the entity handing out the patents is the same entity paying the licensing costs for the patents. That's the only way there is a continuous incentive for the involved parties to award 'patents' for the right things and only the right things.

          It would be possible to remake the system from ground up as a publication/invention incentive system without any exclusive rights that would pay out from budgeted funding to holders of granted 'patents' according to usage. That

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It boggles my mind that the Government expects that software developers will do patent searches as they write their code rather than simply implementing what is obvious at the time to implement.

      I don't think they do. There are many ways to invalidate a patent. If the patent describes an obvious solution it is invalid.
      The problem is that it is harder to prove something as obvious than it is to find prior art.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It boggles my mind that the Government expects that physical device designers will do patent searches as they design their devices, rather than simply implementing what is obvious at the time to implement. Physical device patents are written in such a way as to make them difficult to interpret and appear broad even when they aren't. It simply isn't practical for physical device designers were to do their "due diligence" as they create their plans, and if they did no appreciable amount of designs would be cr

  • Pure software patents should be dropped. However, when the software is a required piece of a hardware system (aka, Firmware) it should be allowed.

    The other problem is for software that does something that really is a an invention, such as LZW compression, and not a "drop-down menu".

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:33AM (#44361381)

      Why should firmware be any different?

      All your approach would lead too is software that requires a peripheral with some firmware in it to run.

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:35AM (#44361405)

      The funny part is that that's a specific algorithm and explicitly excluded. It's the trivial crap that's getting patented.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I would say the actual firmware should not be able to get patent protection, maybe the complete machine.

      Also anything that can be put in an FPGA should not be able to get a patent. Seeing as those are just algorithms that you put in those.
      Yes that would also exclude most electronic circuits, at least the digital ones.

      Analogue circuits are maybe an exception, since those are perfect because of noise and inaccuracy. Therefor you may make an invention on how to use analogue circuits which is not a direct imple

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Even LZW compression is fairly obvious to a skilled programmer. I remember there were several similar compression algorithms around at the time it was patented. It's not an especially good algorithm, it's just more famous (mostly thanks to the patent wars that surrounded it).

      If you want "non-obvious" you need to go to something like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burrows%E2%80%93Wheeler_transform [wikipedia.org]

      Radical thinking like that is worthy of a patent IMHO (although that algorithm wasn't patented...go figure)

      • Even LZW compression is fairly obvious to a skilled programmer. I remember there were several similar compression algorithms around at the time it was patented. It's not an especially good algorithm, it's just more famous (mostly thanks to the patent wars that surrounded it).

        Leaving aside the argument of whether LZW is obvious or not, that's not what the article is talking about. Basically, in an incredibly simplified nutshell, there are 4 separate and independent requirements you have to pass to get a patent, and failing any one of them will result in a rejection or invalid patent. They come from four different statutes:
        35 USC 101: the invention must be a useful method, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter;
        35 USC 102: the invention must be new - i.e. nev

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          It is easily argued as well that LZW was non-obvious since its an extension of a 1978 compression method yet wasn't considered by anybody until 1984. People often confuse "simple" which the Welch enhancement to LZ78 was, with "obvious" which the Welch enhancement to LZ78 was not (it was not obviously an enhancement.)

          Given the number of compression patents handed out during the period, it is quite clear that there was aggressive competition with regards to compression technology and anything "obvious" was
    • Pure software patents should be dropped. However, when the software is a required piece of a hardware system (aka, Firmware) it should be allowed.

      The other problem is for software that does something that really is a an invention, such as LZW compression, and not a "drop-down menu".

      And how do you define Firmware when the worlds of Embedded and non-Embedded computing are mixing so well?

      Would Android ROMs be considered embedded? Or would it be limited to the ROM uploaded to your wireless card? or CD/DVD/BD Burner? Where do you draw the line?

      I currently work on a system that is for-all-intents an "embedded system" yet we load "normal" software onto it.

      While IANAL, SCOTUS has ruled that a non-patentable compont can be part of a larger patentable component, but the sum of non-pate

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I agree and I say we also cut the absurd lifetime of copyright at the same time.

    • by pollarda (632730)
      It is always a bit humorous for me when I think about the arguments that we need copyrights that are 70 years plus the life of the author but for patents, 20 years is adequate. What's more, that Congress can make copyrights retroactive. Just imagine the chaos that would ensue if they gave patents a similar term as copyrights and re-instituted patents retroactively as they did copyrights. While and enormous headache and make our economy come to a screeching halt, it would be a lot of fun to watch.
  • From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Becker [wikipedia.org]
    Gary Stanley Becker (born December 2, 1930) is an American economist. He is a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago and a professor at the Booth School of Business. He has important contributions to the family economics branch within the economics. Neoclassical analysis of family within the family economics is also called new home economics. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992 and received the United St

  • by johnw (3725) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:23AM (#44361271)

    Their exclusion from the patent system would discourage some software innovations

    Can anyone point to a single actual instance of a software innovation which wouldn't have become public without the benefit of patent protection?

    • by melikamp (631205)

      Of course not. But it gets worse. There is no way to point out any such instance of innovation, software or hardware, without getting into pointless "could haves". And all the economic research done so far fails to show that the level of patent protection correlates (not necessarily linearly) with the rate of innovation. So IMHO, it is not very helpful to divide patents into "hardware" and "software" (other than to showcase a particular area where patents are REALLY nasty). Most laws don't make this distinc

      • by brit74 (831798)

        With patents, only the patent holder and its closest allies are capable of manufacturing, and improving on a product for N years. Moreover, the patent itself gives them a clear incentive NOT to improve on a product for N years, because the research costs money, and the patent shields them from competition. Additionally, the patent itself gives them a clear incentive NOT to manufacture enough product for everyone who would buy it, as long as keeping the price artificially high maximizes their revenue (see an

        • by melikamp (631205)

          every other company in the world can undercut their price by simply manufacturing the drug after it's been developed

          No they can't. Not if the competitors also have to go through the same rigorous and very costly process of testing their version of the drug for efficacy and safety. So they need to set up their factories to make the drug, and then test the output. Depending on the type of the drug and the quality of their manufacturing process, it may take months or even years, and by the time they are ready to put it on the shelves, the inventor will firmly assume the leading position on the market. This is the first move

          • by brit74 (831798)
            I'm not even going to bother writing a decent response to your post, since it's a just a collection of assumptions, unsubstantiated claims, and wishful thinking.
            • by melikamp (631205)
              I am just paraphrasing the research [ucla.edu]. If you want an unsubstantiated claim, look no further than your own post, where you fail to identify a single weak point in my argument.
    • by jonwil (467024)

      I wonder if Rivest, Shamir and Aldeman would have released RSA as widely as they did if it wasn't for their patent.

      • by Raenex (947668)

        Probably. They were researchers getting paid to research. Researchers thrive on getting published and having their ideas taken up. Just look at the countless computer algorithms that were invented and published by computer science researchers without patent protection.

  • Just software? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ubergeek65536 (862868) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:24AM (#44361277)

    You can apply his arguments to more than software. Patents discourage innovation. Under the current system small companies and individuals end up with a huge disadvantage. Huge companies have enough resources to try to patent everything hope a few are approved.

  • The problem is that international law covers software patents just like tangible product patents under the dubious basis that software is an "arrangement of matter" at the microscopic level. I never appreciated how bad they are for innovation. The big boys sit around accumulating patents on everything and sharpening their lawyer-axes. The little guys scurry in the shadows waiting for one to drop on them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You put an end to software patents and your streets are going to be crawling with homeless guys in suits asking your for $100 an hour so they can get a cup of coffee, or a thousand bucks to clean your windscreen at the lights. Who wants to be the one responsible for that? Obviously this Becker bloke just hasn't thought this one through.

  • It appears to have been Slashdotted to death

  • I've always seen it this way. If there's a source code leak, have ways in place that pin it down to one person then sue their asses off and there's your money for damages. Otherwise, with the latest anti-decompiling methods, I doubt someone is getting your actual code manually. So that leaves the fact that if someone can look at your program running and figure out the code behind a certain function then write it themselves, it was too simple to be patented. If they can't figure it out, it's darn good val
  • by faffod (905810) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:42AM (#44361481)
    Formula 1 has zero use for patents. If a team invents something useful they try to keep it secret. If a team were to apply for a patent for one of their inventions, the other teams would simply band together and change the rules to explicitly ban that patent from use in the race cars. Despite this, the teams spend tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) every year on the development of their cars. Top teams bring changes and innovations every two weeks (average time between races). Relax Corporate America, innovation will survive just fine without software patents.

    Now if someone points out that what F1 does is employ Trade Secrets, and the idea behind patents is that they allow for the state of the art to be shared in the public domain, I have to agree. But the actual result of the patent system is that no one reads about patents (knowingly infringing a patent results in triple damages), so the patent system isn't even achieving that goal.
  • by StripedCow (776465) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @11:55AM (#44361605)

    Ok, let's be fundamental about this. Isn't it strange that we should consider "software" as different from other intellectual property? If X hours of work have been invested into the invention of a clever software routine, then, it would be strange if a patent could not be granted for that work while a patent would be granted for some physical apparatus that also took X hours to develop. (Don't think about the stupid "one-click-buy" software patents, but more along the lines of an ingenious differential-equation solver).

    So, I don't think a law that says "patents are granted, but not for software" would be a good one. If we would abolish patents, we should do it in all fields.
    Remember that the US has to rely on IP protection, for a substantial part of the work done in this country is intellectual. Therefore allowing software patents could in fact be beneficial.

    As an aside: in the end, everything is mathematics. Software is mathematics; but also a physical apparatus, or even a medicine can be described mathematically. So, based on this argument, there should be no distinction in IP law.

    What should happen, though, is that "stupid" patents should be rejected. I will explain how this could be accomplished.

    First, split the patent-office in two parts. The first part, call it the "patent intake office", will *pay* an amount for each patent that they grant. The second member, call it the "evaluation office", will, after 5 years after issue of the patent, determine the societal impact of the patent. If the impact is large, an amount is paid to the intake-office.

    (Note that the patent office will initially *pay* for patents that they grant. This is in contrast with the current situation, where the office receives money for each patent that is granted.)

    This means that, under this model, the USPTO will not so easily approve simple things such as "one click shopping" because they might lose on it on account of a lack of social impact. Similarly, patent trolling will be actively barred by the patent office (no product means no social impact). However, a patent for a new medicine may be approved. And even software, if ingenious and useful, may be granted a patent.

    • Re:Proposal (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pscottdv (676889) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:50PM (#44362407)

      Ok, let's be fundamental about this. Isn't it strange that we should consider "software" as different from other intellectual property? If X hours of work have been invested into the invention of a clever software routine, then, it would be strange if a patent could not be granted for that work while a patent would be granted for some physical apparatus that also took X hours to develop.

      Fundamentally, software is already different from other intellectual property as it also has copyright protection. Why should one body of work be allowed to be protected under two completely different IP regimes? Copyright protection is enough to encourage the advancement of the arts and sciences of software. Patents appear to be a hindrance.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Ok, let's be fundamental about this. Isn't it strange that we should consider "software" as different from other intellectual property? If X hours of work have been invested into the invention of a clever software routine, then, it would be strange if a patent could not be granted for that work while a patent would be granted for some physical apparatus that also took X hours to develop.

        Fundamentally, software is already different from other intellectual property as it also has copyright protection. Why sho

    • Ok, let's be fundamental about this. Isn't it strange that we should consider "software" as different from other intellectual property? If X hours of work have been invested into the invention of a clever software routine, then, it would be strange if a patent could not be granted for that work while a patent would be granted for some physical apparatus that also took X hours to develop. (Don't think about the stupid "one-click-buy" software patents, but more along the lines of an ingenious differential-equation solver).

      So, I don't think a law that says "patents are granted, but not for software" would be a good one. If we would abolish patents, we should do it in all fields.

      I disagree.

      First, patents are not granted on the basis of the effort expended to invent a patentable invention. The sweat of the brow theory is just as much bunk for patents as it is for copyrights.

      Second, the purpose of patents is to encourage the invention, disclosure, and bringing to market of inventions which otherwise would not be invented, disclosed, and brought to market, and where the restrictions on the public are as minimal as possible in both scope and duration. Patents have an inherent negative

    • by zzsmirkzz (974536)

      As an aside: in the end, everything is mathematics. Software is mathematics; but also a physical apparatus, or even a medicine can be described mathematically. So, based on this argument, there should be no distinction in IP law.

      While a physical apparatus and/or medicine can be described mathematically, they are not, of themselves, math. Software, on the other hand, is math that can be described in special languages that are easier for humans to read. See the difference? The description (or the can be expressed as) is reversed. Software starts out and is math, period. It is a series of add/subtract/multiply/move statements, nothing more. If the algorithm for calculating a number's square root on paper is not patentable then neither

    • by Bengie (1121981)
      Software is entirely a thought process. The code itself is not tied to hardware, only the compiled result is. As for medicine, that is one of the few real applications for patents. Most of the cost of medicine is in trail-and-error, along with lots of ethical restrictions before coming to market.

      Software has no ethical restrictions and the only trial-and-error portion is with the math side of it. Software is just a throught process.
    • The whole concept of "intellectual property" is dishonest and misleading. It takes several fundamentally different and unrelated things -- patents, copyrights, trademarks, service marks, trade secrets -- and tries to portray them as all being the same thing. And each of those categories contains many unrelated things. Patents can cover physical objects, processes, computer algorithms, business methods, non-functional design features, etc. Copyrights can cover written works, images, sound recordings, mus

  • If software patents hadn't been so badly abused, often by some of the biggest, most powerful corporations, then there might have been a place for strictly limited patents. But we've learned in the past decades that you cannot trust corporations to behave well. Given the opportunity for fast profit, they will gladly abuse every aspect of the law. As a stockbroker friend of mine puts it, "They'll throw a baby off a bridge for a dollar". They say they want "free markets" and "competition" but not for thems

  • by ggraham412 (1492023) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:13PM (#44361885)

    'Disputes over software patents are among the most common, expensive, and counterproductive. Their exclusion from the patent system would discourage some software innovations, but the saving from litigation costs over disputed patent rights would more than compensate the economy for that cost.'

    I'm trying to think of some examples of software innovations that would be discouraged by excluding them from the patent system.

    If one wrote software that made some process more efficient, wouldn't one want that process to be more efficient anyway, regardless of the patent status?

  • ...he'll just be called a socialist and that's that.

    We are an era of NO debate. The pro-corporate lobby will smear him and there will be no discussion. Being a Nobel Laurette isn't going to matter much to knownothings in Congress.

  • We are all terrorized by the threat posed by the enormous number of poor quality patents. We are all searching for shelter. Excluding software seems like it might pose temporary shelter. But, the difference between hardware and software is not a sharp line. They blend smoothly together. In this situation, somebody with a lot of lawyers can draw the line anywhere they want. That is what got us into this mess in the first place.

    Even though it may be hard, we probably need to start by reforming the US Patent

  • The addiction started at IBM with one Marshall Phelps, who is a pusher. While at IBM he addicted them to a revenue stream of upwards of 2 billion from their IP portfolio. He actually shot them up directly in the arm and then continued to do so even as people within IBM warned against the dangers with drug usage and drug addiction.

    \When Marshall Phelps, pusher, was done with IBM, he moved on to microsoft, again mainlining them with his junk and turning them into software patent junkies. The results were as

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