"Patents, originally created to stimulate innovation, may now be
having the opposite effect, at least in the software industry.
Plagued by an exponential growth in software patents, many of which
are not valid, software vendors and developers must navigate a
potential minefield to avoid patent infringement and future
lawsuits. Coupled with strategies to exploit this confusion over
patents, especially in standards setting organizations, it appears
that software advancement will become stifled unless legal action
is taken to resolve the situation. This article examines the
current situation facing software developers and users, the methods
employed by standards setting organizations to address these
problems, and recommends strategies for resolving the problem
caused by software patents..."