"Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I
write a lot about software patents. The reason is simple: they
represent probably the greatest single threat to free software, far
beyond that of any individual company.
"If software patents are invoked more widely, or – even
worse – unequivocally accepted in Europe, then free software
will be in serious trouble (so will traditional software, but at
least the companies involved will be able to pay for lawyers,
unlike most free software projects.) This makes fighting software
patents one of the key tasks for the free software community.
"Fortunately, there is a growing body of evidence that patents
in general are based on a false premise: that giving someone a
monopoly on an invention increases the overall innovation, and
hence benefit to society. For example, just recently this paper by
Eric von Hippel and Carliss Baldwin – two highly-respected
scholars – came to the following important conclusion: "