Among some naming and shaming of patent trolls, courtesy of our incognito friend, Troll Tracker, the following came up. Troll Tracker points to an interesting blog where Professor Gerard Magliocca of Indiana University is quoted as calling for elimination of software patents and business methods patents.
And, just as today’s Biotech industry is opposed to any patent reform, the 19th century had powerful advocates for the status quo, including Thomas Edison, who argued that any revision of the patent statues would “strongly tend to discourage and prevent perfection of useful inventions by those most fitted for that purpose…”
Yes, it’s sixty pages (double spaced) with tons of footnotes, but if you skip the footnotes and skim the text, there’s plenty here to interest any engineer who’s had occasion to learn the words “patent troll.”.
This takes the perspective of economists, not just engineers. Software patents are quite consistently seen as harmful.
It is also the time of the year when the Free Software Foundation reaches out for donations. In the following video (Ogg Theora, Flash), Peter Brown speaks about software patents, including Microsoft’s use of these patents to quietly extract revenue from the labour of Free software developers.