Prior art won't solve the software patent problem (NewsForge)
Posted Sep 18, 2006 22:10 UTC (Mon) by kune
Parent article: Prior art won't solve the software patent problem (NewsForge)
I have to admit, I'm with RMS on this front. The problem with software patents is not that there are patents ignoring prior art. The problem is that you can't write decent software without using many concepts, algorithm and mechanisms. As an individual you can't afford to check, which of them are violating patents. As software developer you don't even have the right education for that. I think Lawrence Lessig cited someone else, who observed that the easy proof for the failure of software patents is, that software developers don't look up patents, while they are developing software.
Software patents simply mean there cannot be open-source software, which is not backed by big companies like Intel or IBM, which have huge patent portfolios on their own. I doubt that you can call such software free software in the sense RMS uses the term.
OSDL is financed by big companies, the list of the board of directors is a simple proof. The current interim chairman is the General Manager of the Software and Solutions Group of Intel. They try to fix the symptom "patents with prior art" but not the cause of the problem, which is that software patents are inherently broken, because they are increasing the costs of software developments in a way that will cut out the individual free or small business software developer.
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