Patents reward 'hot air' in software

Concepts are not scarce and are the cheapest part of software development. Software patents disclose nothing useful. Developers who read software patents find these letters are an offence to persons skilled in the art.

Contrary to popular belief patents do not cover a blueprint of a machine or are written in a way the engineers communicate technical knowledge with each other. Patents are for inventions and the notion of an inventions implies it can be patentable. When we discuss 'software (non)inventions' we often use other words to describe what is claimes such as "ideas" or "concepts".

  • The assert that concepts are not scarce is a criticism of the application of the patent system in the field of software. For the economical justification it is fundamental as economic questions all deal with the allocation of scarce ressources. Why would a public policy maker want to incentivice an activtity that is not scarce?
  • Independent recreations: Many developers who infringe patents have never read them before. In fact software developers don't read patents to get informed about the state of the art or learn about solutions to problems.
  • Most 'inventions' expressed by software protected by copyright are not applied for as a patent. In fact a developer with unlimited financial resources could hire a patent attorney who would write 1, 5 or 100 patents for the usual work he doing.

Counter argument: Let us model the software patent system as a game where the first applicant is served. So that would recommend that developers give up development and instead write patents. This leads to another important assert:

Novelty does not matter

Further readings:

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