pieterh writes "Boston University's James Bessen has published a landmark study [abstract; full paper available at the link, free of charge] on a generation of software patents. Looking at almost 20 years of software patents, he finds 'that most software firms still do not patent, most software patents are obtained by a few large firms in the software industry or in other industries, and the risk of litigation from software patents continues to increase dramatically. Given these findings, it is hard to conclude that software patents have provided a net social benefit in the software industry.' Not that this surprises anyone actually innovating in software."
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