What nybble41 said and also-- there is a very clear line to be drawn, it's just that you think we should not draw it. Let's just agree on that. I respect you think that the transformations provided by software should not be prevented from patentability. But let's nto say , "gooly there exists no line between software and hardware" because the EU fond it quite readily and canonized it into a set of laws that everyone understands. .
What's the POINT of patents again? Oh yeah, to serve a societal good. How does locking up things as this high a level of abstraction serve a societal good? The EU thinks UI and computer ONLY "inventions" are bad for progress. Maybe that's because those things were being invented a mile a minute- and by for profit companies too- before software patents were invented.
You know there are hypotheticals and there are things which can be proven. Of the types of proofs in the world, the strongest type is "the existence proof", which is, the thing stands before you, therefore, this proves it exists.
Progress in software and the associated user interfaces and purposes to which software is put went through a period of time when it was not patented. That would be when almost everything of interest was created including WIMP word processors spread sheets drawing programs etc etc etc.
This should be enough to PROVE that software innovation doesn't need patenting.
If you need still more proof, then the plethora of studies I've cited in this thread should be enough to prove that patenting software has deleterious effect on innovation and economic participation.
The thing stands before you, so let's not hear any arguments about "if we took patents away, no one would innovate anything!"
As far as the "proper" level of abstraction argument goes, if we're going patent slide to unlock then let's all go for it and start patenting every arrangement of all things universally. This is what IP maximalist actually want. We can patent everything to do with writing.. I know for a fact that directors have a set of tricks they use to make certain impressions on audiences.. they deliberately and specifically set about to build sympathy
for a leading characters using a certain set of techniques which can be quantified within a time-duration range and specified as clearly as any software patent.
There's a way to type at your keyboard, a way to organize people to get them to behave in certain ways, the universities are perpetually inventing new ways in which people things and animals can be arranged, coaxed, altered, influenced, and otherwise directed to some good end each of which is novel useful and advances the state of some art.
The reason we don't permit this is because if it's driven to its logical conclusion, everyone would see how ridiculous it all is. There is zero difference between a slide to unlock patent and an employee incentive scheme, a strategy to attack your competitors product line , a technique in the courtroom, a way of coordinating employee's activities.. why are we making software and computers the sole target of this "what level of abstraction" type arguments when there's an entire world of thing and activities that had formerly been free of IP constraints which are just waiting to be constrained?
You accuse us of arbitrarily setting the level of abstraction in some arbitrary place. With all due respect sir, look who's talking.