Speaking of Mouse Trap Economics, What About that Yarn that Patents Stimulate Invention
Aug 24, 2010, 13:05 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Les Earnest)
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"Based on my 40 years of experience in the computer system
development, much of it before software patents were introduced, I
believe that the alleged connection between such patents and the
stimulation of innovation is tenuous at best and probably negative.
Let me confess that even though I oppose the continuation of
software patents, as a defensive measure I've applied for some that
have been granted.
"When I entered the field as a programmer in 1954 there were
only about a hundred of us in the whole world, and each of us was
turning out thousands of inventions each year, or maybe it was
hundreds depending on your standards, but a lot. Software was given
the same kinds of protection as other documentation, namely
copyright and trade secret.
"It was certainly a good thing that there were no software
patents because my colleagues and I could have papered over the
field and retired for 17 years or so to collect royalties. Since
patents didn't exist, we kept working and had quite a good time
doing it, sharing ideas and standing on each other's shoulders to
see how high we could reach."
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