Just read Dewey’s comments about software patents, and it got me thinking again. There’s been a lot of heat (and some light) generated about the pending EU decision, and the USPTO, when it comes to s/w patents, but Dewey tries to move from a theoretical, ideological view to a practical one:
The purpose of a patent is to benefit society. So far I’d say the software industry has been pretty damn productive as is. It doesn’t seem to require patent protection to encourage productivity. Can someone make a case for patents benefiting society more than no patents?
Far from their intended purpose, software patents have become poker chips for the big guys, a computer industry version of ‘mutually-assured destruction’ – I won’t sue you if you don’t sue me.
She follows the analogy through to illustrate the commoditization of building materials, and how ultimately this enabled the creation of the largest industry in the world. So the inference is that this should happen as well with software.
While the topic under discussion was open source, patents are likely to slow down the commoditisation of software, thereby delaying or preventing what Polese sees as a great opportunity for industry growth that parallels that in the construction industry.