There is currently a petition on the Prime Minister’s website calling
for a clear ban on software patents. I was hesitant to sign it, not
because I want software patents, but due to the langauge of the
Software patents are used by convicted monopolists to
threaten customers who consider using rival software. As a result,
patents stifle innovation.
Patents are supposed to increase the rate of innovation by publicising
how inventions work. Reading a software patent gives no useful
information for creating or improving software. All patents are writen
in a sufficiently cryptic language to prevent them from being of any
use. Once decoded, the patents turn out to be for something so obvious
that programmers find them laughable.
It is not funny because the cost of defending against nuicance lawsuites
The UK patent office grants software patents against the letter and the
spirit of the law. They do this by pretending that there is a difference
between software and ‘computer implemented inventions’.
Some companies waste money on ‘defensive patents’. These have no value
against pure litigation companies and do not counter threats made
directly to customers.
The aggressive and ad-hominem language doesn’t do anything to help
the cause. It looks unprofessional and will result in the authorities
ignoring it as a fanatic incoherent rant and will put off people from
signing the petition. I’d be interested to know how many people didn’t
sign because of the text.