Picking up on the post we had recently about Microsoft patenting how exciting a baseball game is, the NY Times has a nice long article looking at the problems with software patents, and noting that much of Microsoft's success up until now has mostly been because there were no software patents. Microsoft, of course, has a long history of taking the ideas of others and doing a better job bringing them to market. However, now Microsoft is changing course, and actively doing as much as it can to encourage its employees to patent anything and everything -- which leads to such bizarre patents as the one about teaching people how to appreciate music. The article also notes that Thomas Jefferson understood that granting a patent was so powerful that it should only be granted in the rarest of circumstances. Obviously, that intention has been lost to history -- and with it, any hint of the patent system actually "encouraging innovation."
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