On The Evilness (Or Not) Of Software Patents
from the ignoring-the-elephant-in-the-room dept
What he's missing in all of this is the money factor. A lot of money goes into filing for patents and in the whole game of fighting back against those who sue you over patents. While Graham claims that the only companies who get sued for patent infringement are successful and that the innovation has "already happened," that ignores the fact that innovation should be an ongoing process -- and when money has to be spent on lawyers to fight off patent suits, it's not going back into continuing innovation. So, it may not stop innovation, but it can certainly slow down the rate of innovation. Considering that the real trick to innovation is having continual fleeting competitive advantages, slowing down the rate of innovation can be quite harmful. It may "even out" among all the companies competing in a space (though, it doesn't seem like that's actually true when you look at the evidence), but there's still a tremendous waste product in terms of money going to lawyers that should be going to innovating and bringing new products to market. To Graham, patents are simply a reality of the software business -- and if you're in the business, you have to play the game. That's certainly true. That doesn't, however, mean people shouldn't look to make things better.