“I Think I Just Got Patented”

by Walter Olson on February 17, 2010

“When I look closely at these claims, I am appalled to discover this patent claims, as a novel invention, things that I’ve done regularly, with a mix of my brain and a computer, since at least 1999.” [Bradley M. Kuhn via Pete Warden]

{ 1 comment }

1 GregS 02.17.10 at 3:27 pm

The whole concept of software patents is deeply flawed and should never have been allowed. So much of what gets patented is too broad, not novel, or obvious to anyone working in the field. But in addition to that, there are two other problems. (1) Software methods have been traditionally protected by keeping them secret, so there is often little documentation or literature on prior art for patent examiners to consult when faced with a patent claim. So when someone applies for a patent, it may be very difficult for the examiner to find out that the method was actually used many times before in other programs. (2) There is also a lot of programming knowledge in the form of folk wisdom – techniques that developers learn from one another and pass on through word of mouth, so again there is often little literature for the examiner to consult.

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