Broadness is a problem

Hartmut Pilch explains (9/2002):

The principal objection is broadness, not novelty or non-obviousness.

If swpat were reasonably narrow, nobody would want them, because in order to get them you have a lot of overhead (such as disclosure, writing an application, paying fees etc). Swpat can only be unreasonably broad or not be. But broadness violates basic constitutional rights of freedom of expression. Even if there was an economic rationale for such violations (e.g. market failures, stimulation of R&D), we should not accept them. But, there is no economic rationale. There is not a iota of evidence that swpat (with the unavoidable breadth) have any positive impact whatsoever on the software economy.

The reason why swpat are so broad lies buried in the concept of technical invention. This is why insisting on this concept is so important.

By patenting uses of the universal logical device (the computer), you patent logic itself. The achievement for which you grant the patent is an achievement of pure logic — no iota of techncal character since the technical aspect is all contained in the universal computer which is already known. Moreover the actions that your patent claims covers are all actions of pure logic — the universal computer is the standard (most efficient and only relevant) means of expression of pure logic, because it is its most abstract form of expression.