An afternoon among the patent lawyers
Posted Mar 26, 2009 13:18 UTC (Thu) by pboddie
In reply to: An afternoon among the patent lawyers
Parent article: An afternoon among the patent lawyers
So what if the system were reformed to fix all of those problems in one whack? Set a hard limit on how many patents can be granted per year, say 1000.
But this is the kind of apology we hear from the patent lobby, suggesting the quick fix that supposedly makes everything alright before we get back to "business as usual". And it continues down the path of flawed reasoning and invalid assumptions that patentability should naturally extend to all domains. It's very clear that aside from the objections to granting monopolies on mathematics and scientific discoveries, there are huge practical issues with granting monopolies that can be regarded as fair and justified in the domain of software and computer science.
Public key crypto would have had a patent, it would probaly have covered Public Key Crypto in general (not just RSA) for the ~twenty years because it really was a groundbreaking invention.
It was a discovery, not an invention, the foundations of that work were put down one hundred years earlier, and some other people made similar discoveries independently, coincidentally at around the same time.
Given that people generally can't suggest anything more significant than public-key cryptography as something worthy of a patent, maybe it would be more honest if instead of granting monopolies for "groundbreaking" works, governments should just offer rewards for these apparently rare occasions and make the works genuinely accessible, following the example of the purchase of Daguerre's work on photography and its subsequent release into the public domain.
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