"On April 29, the University of Colorado held a conference on
patents and free software. Your editor, having spent the morning
getting some significant dental work done, figured that an
afternoon devoted to software patents would appropriately continue
the day in the same theme - only without the anesthetic. The
following is not a comprehensive report of the event; instead, it
focuses on a few of the more interesting moments.
"Pamela Samuelson is a professor of law at the University of
California at Berkeley; she also serves on the boards of
organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the
Electronic Privacy Information Center, and Public Knowledge. At the
conference, she presented some results on her research into the
idea of software patents as an incentive for innovation. A survey
was done back in 2008, with 15,000 surveys sent out to a large
number of firms. 1,333 of them - representing over 700 companies -
came back. The numbers that came out were interesting, if arguably
"According to this survey, 65% of software companies have no
interest in software patents; they do not see patents as an
important part of doing business. That compares with 82% of
non-software companies which said they were working toward the
acquisition of patents. It is worth noting that companies with
venture capital backing had a higher level of interest in software
patents than those without."
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