Apparently, today is World Day Against Software Patents.
The list of companies that are signees to that call still lacks big names, and the draft petition available for signing needs some work, but the idea is good – so I signed it.
I think the single and most pure reason to reject software patents is that, unlike patents to industrial processes, they are hampering innovation rather than facilitating it.
One way around that problem is IBM’s move to essentially grab as many patents as they can, then release them for free use by anyone – which of course defeats the purpose of patents, and demonstrates that they are implicitly signees to the above call.
As you may have noticed I’ve been “reading Stallman” lately – so let me quote from a “case report” of his:
In the US legal system, patents are intended as a bargain between society and individuals; society is supposed to gain through the disclosure of techniques that would otherwise never be available. It is clear that society has gained nothing by issuing patent number 5,049,881. This technique was going to be available anyway. It was easy enough to find that several people did so at around the same time.
You can sign the draft petition here.