Thursday, August 01, 2013

Maybe software shouldn't be subject to conventional patent law

Timothy B. Lee, on his new “Switch” blog (“where technology and policy meet”) for The Washington Post, has a leadoff story, “Here’s why economists hate software patents,” July 31, link here

It is true that software always consists of little pieces of code – often “methods” in “object-oriented” parlance”.   Give the patent troll problem, it’s easy to imagine that a whole product or innovation could be compromised by trolled “method” or coding technique.

Employers have always been strict in asserting that they own the code written by associates or contractors in their employ, and quickly lock out people from it once they leave.  In a few cases (as in the case of a Blue Cross project in Dallas that failed in 1981, shortly after I left) they have gone to absurd lengths to safeguard content that may never go into production.  
Lee has some discussion Aug. 1 of efforts in Vermont and Nebraska to curb patent trolls.  More detailsare forthcomng. 

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