August 17, 2011

The Myth That #Software Startups Need Or Want #Patents

While I'm not as much in agreement with the crew of folks who likes to separate out 'software patents' from the rest of the patent system (the whole system is broken), I can see serious problems with the way that 'software' is patented these days. I tend to think that the fix isn't to carve out software patents, but to fix the whole system itself. Still, if we look at what are generally considered software patents, it does seem clear that they are doing tremendous damage to the industry and innovation as a whole -- and thus are very much in violation of the Constitution's patent clause which only allows for a patent system if it 'promotes the progress.' Tim Lee points us to James Besson's most recent paper, in which he analyzes a generation's worth of software patents and shows how such little most in the software industry actually seem to want patents. In fact, it's mostly those outside of the industry who obtain software patents.

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