by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
patent reform, patents

Clear & Concise Explanation Of The Problem With Patents

from the more-voices dept

More and more people are adding their voices to the growing consensus around the massive harm that the patent system is doing to innovation within the tech industry. PC World's Katherine Noyes has a great article that lays out a clear argument for why the patent system is making things worse for consumers. Here's just a snippet, though the whole thing is worth reading:
5. Innovation Is Being Squelched

Software innovation depends heavily on the exchange and iterative development of new ideas, but such exchange is precisely what software patents are designed to prevent. Numerous patents have been granted that are excessively broad, too, making it virtually impossible to develop original software without fear of infringing.

6. Small Companies Are Being Shut Out

For all of the above reasons, you could be the most brilliant and creative software developer ever, but if you don't have pockets deep enough to pay hefty licensing fees and start a patent war chest of your own the way Google is being forced to do, you are simply out of luck. End of story.

7. Consumers Pay the Price

Small businesses suffer as a result, but ultimately the even bigger loser--as always--is the consumer. Under this system, control of ideas is falling into the hands of the companies that are big, fat and unable to innovate, simply because they have the money and no other easy way to earn more. That, in turn, means the little guys--the innovative ones--can't bring to market the next big thing that could change consumers' lives, at least not without a heavily inflated price.
It's nice to see that more and more people are making it clear that this isn't just some "fringe" opinion, but such feelings are extremely common among folks throughout the tech industry -- supposedly the people patents are supposed to protect most. When those people hate and/or fear the patent system, clearly something's wrong. So why is Congress' only move to make the system worse?

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  1. icon
    Richard (profile), 19 Aug 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'd guess you've never actually read any software patent's, have you? Many of the ones I've seen are full of vague ideas that, even if taken as a "blueprint", would take over a year of REAL development and testing before you'd get anything remotely close to a usable product.

    It's worse than that - I heard of one case where the original inventor admitted that even he didn't understand the patent that had been written for him by the patent lawyers!

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