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The Coming Software Patent Apocalypse


Tags Legal SystemMonopoly and Competition

Interesting post about software patents. Explains that even companies that oppose software patents, such as Oracle Corporation and Red Hat, still file for and receive software patents—they must do so for defensive purposes. Of course, this disproportionately penalizes smaller companies, as with much federal legislation such as minimum wage, FLSA, and pro-union laws. The post notes that "The fashion industry ... has no concept of patent protection, and thrives regardless" and "You can't patent recipes, and yet both professional chefs and restaurants are still in business and prospering".

But as I noted in a comment to this post, the opposition to "software patents" is simply confused. A software patent is nothing more than a patent on a process, which is a standard type of patent. If you are in support of a patent system, you have no principled ground on which to oppose software patents. (The same is true with the ad hoc opposition to "patent trolls—given a patent system, there's nothing wrong with patent trolls. It's a natural outcome and use of the system. Those who favor the system should stop whining about its predictable results.)

Stephan Kinsella is an attorney in Houston, director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, and editor of Libertarian Papers.

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