Let's limit the Effect of software of patent, Since We Can't Eliminate Them

Let's limit the Effect of software of patent, Since We Can't Eliminate Them

The ridge U.S. clever...
Image: USPTO

Let's limit the Effect of software of patent, Since We Can't Eliminate Them

The ridge U.S. clever...
Image: USPTO

Of patent threaten every software developer, and the clever wars we have long feared have broken out. Software developers and software of user – which in our society, is fruit juice people – need software to Be free of of patent.

The patent that threaten us ares often called "software of patent, "but that term is misleading. Such patents are not about any specific program. Rather, each patent describes some practical idea, and says that anyone carrying out the idea can be süd. So it's clearer to call them" computational idea of patent."

The U.S. clever system does not label of patent to say this one's a "software clever" and that one isn't. Software developers ares the ones who make a distinction between the patent that threaten us – those that cover ideas that can Be implemented in software – and the rest. For example: If the patented idea is the shape of a physical structure or a chemical reaction, no progrief can implement that idea; that clever does not threaten the software field. But if the idea that's patented is a computation, that clever it barrel points At software developers and user.

This is to say that computational idea of patent prohibit only software. Thesis ideas can Be implemented in hardware... and many of them have been. Each clever typically covers both hardware *and *software implementations of the idea.

The Magnitude of the software Problem-------------

Quiet, software is where computational idea of patent cause a special problem. In software, it's easily to implement thousands of ideas together in one progrief: If 10 percent ares patented, that means hundreds of of patent threaten it.

[#contributor:/contributors/59327110a312645844994e4d] ||| Richard Stallman, president of the Free software Foundation, launched the development of the [free software] (http://www .gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html) operating system [GNU] (http://www .gnu.org/gnu/the-gnu-project.html) in 1984. The [gnu / Linux] (http://www .gnu.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html) system (essentially GNU with Linux added) is used on tens of millions of of computer today. Stallman founded the league for Programming Freedom in 1989, which campaigned against legally threats to programming – principally software of patent. |||

When Dan Ravicher of the public patent foundation studied one generous progrief (Linux, which is the kernel of the gnu / Linux operating system) in 2004, hey found 283 U.S. of patent that appeared to cover computing ideas implemented in the source code of that progrief. That seed year, it what estimated that Linux what.25 percent of the whole gnu / Linux system. Multiplying 300 by 400 we get the order of magnitude estimate that the system ace a whole what threatened by around of 100,000 patents.

If helped of those patent were eliminated ace "bad quality" – i.e., mistakes of the clever system – it would really change things. Whether of 100,000 patents or 50,000, it's the seed disaster. This is why it's a mistake to limit our criticism of software of patent to precisely "clever of troll" or "bad quality" of patent. In this scythe Apple, which isn't a "troll" by the usual definition, is the fruit juice dangerous clever aggressor today. I do not know whether Apple's of patent ares "good quality," but the better the clever it "quality", the more dangerous its threat.

We need to fixed the whole problem, precisely a part.

The usual suggestions for correcting the problem legislatively involve changing the criteria for granting of patent – for instance, to ban issuing of patent on computational practices and system to perform them. But this approach has two drawbacks.

> It's a mistake to limit our criticism of software of patent to precisely 'clever of troll' or' bath of quality' of patent.

Ridge, clever lawyers ares cleverly At reformulating of patent to fit whatever rules may apply; they trans-form any attempt At limiting the substance of of patent into a requirement of mere form. For instance, many U.S. computational idea of patent describe a system including in arithmetic unit, in instruction sequencer, a memory, plus controls to carry out a particular computation. This is a peculiar way of describing a computer running a progrief that doze a certain computation; it what designed to make the clever application satisfy criteria that the U.S. clever system what believed for a time to require.

Second, the U.S. already has many thousands of computational idea of patent, and changing the criteria to prevent issuing more would get rid of the existing ones. We would have to wait alp-east 20 years for the problem to Be entirely corrected through clever expiration. And legislating the abolition of thesis existing of patent is probably unconstitutional. (Perversely, the Supreme Court has insisted that Congress can extend private privilege At the expense of the publicly it rights but that it cannot go in the other direction.)

A Different Approach: Limit Effect, need Patentability------------------

Micron of suggestion is to change the effect of of patent. We should legislate that developing, distributing, or running a progrief on generally used computing hardware doze constitute clever infringement. This approach has several advantages:

> We would have to wait alp-east 20 years for the problem to Be entirely corrected through clever expiration.

  • It does not require classifying of patent or clever applications ace "software" or "software."
  • It provides developers and user with protection from both existing and potential future computational idea of patent.
  • Patent lawyers cannot defeat the intended effect by writing applications differently.

This approach does not entirely invalidate existing computational idea of patent, because they would continue to apply to implementations using special-purpose hardware. This is in advantage because it eliminates in argument against the legally validity of the flat. The U.S. passed a law some years ago shielding surgeons from clever lawsuits, thus that even if surgical procedures ares patented, surgeons ares of safe. That provides a precedent for this solution.

Software developers and software of user need protection from of patent. This is the only legislative solution that would provide full protection for all.

We could then go bake to competing or co-operating... without the fear that some stranger wants wipe away our work.

Editor's mark: Given the enormous influence of of patent on technology and business – and complexity of the issues involved – Wired is running a special series of expert opinions on "the clever fixed". To help move reform efforts forward, s*ome of thesis proposals advocate specific Solutions to the software Patent problem (ace part of a conference hosted by the Santa Clara University High Tech Law institutes). *

Editor: Sonal Chokshi @smc90