Wednesday, October 6

Patents make technology & innovation impotent

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes how software patents are bad for both - open-source and closed-source & not to forget the 'customers' who buy them. Why ? :

The Public Patent Foundation (Representing the Public's Interests in the Patent System) front page says it all: "Wrongly issued patents and unsound patent policy harm the public: by making things more expensive, if not impossible to afford; by preventing scientists from advancing technology; by unfairly prejudicing small businesses; and by restraining civil liberties and individual freedoms."

Sounds too grand? Think again. The big patent cases ask for tens of millions to more than a billion dollars in damages. Who ends up paying the bills? The people who buy and use software.

Even when companies win, we—the users and developers—end up paying the bills because top-level patent law is expensive and takes years. Eolas is still fighting Microsoft over basic browser technology found in IE.

Think that doesn't matter to open-source developers? Think again. If upheld, the Eolas patent also can be used against Mozilla or Firefox. No one is safe from patent abuse.

* A New Hope for Patent Reform
* Lawyers See Broader Software Patent Issues in Java Case
* Free Software Matters: The Patent Problem
* A Patent Strain on Innovation