Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Patent Failure

It's hard to be in the software business without having an opinion on software patents. Some folks like them, some don't (personally, I think they are the greatest blight on the industry), but they certainly have a considerable effect on things. There's a lot of pressure to reform the system.

If you have an interest in the topic, I commend this article in Ars Technica, talking about the new book "Patent Failure". I may have to pick up the book (which sounds a tad dense), but the article gives a fascinating overview of the high concepts there, including a concise and clear economic demonstration of just *how* broken the system is. (They demonstrate that the cost of litigating patents in most industries appears to greatly exceed the profits derived from those patents -- in other words, the system is a huge net negative for these industries.) They also talk about the fundamental problems of the patent system, especially the ambiguities that makes it difficult and expensive to work within.

The authors apparently take a deliberately cautious view -- they're advocating reform rather than my preferred approach of simply nuking software patents from space. But I appreciate at least the principle of careful reform, and it's good to see someone taking a hard look at the nuances of the problem...
Tags: patents, technology

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