Software Patents

The good news about the software patent mess is that it has an easy solution: There shouldn't be software patents. Code should be copyrighted if that's what the author of the code wants to do, but whil conventional patents are sometimes abusive, software patents are almost invariably either abusive or else redundant with existing copyright protections. Software patents do far more to inhibit innovation (by making the cost of doing new things both high and strangely unpredictable) than to encourage genuine technical innovation. They are, however, very useful for encouraging legal innovation as companies have strong incentives to gin up new patents!