Usa Petition

Software Patents stifle innovation

  1. Software patents are too slow. Examination takes 4 years or more. Patents limit competition for up to 20 years. The software life cycle and amortization of investments are much shorter.
  2. Software patents ruin investment. A typical software can violate hundreds of patents. Established players shoot down emerging competitors with a single patent and delay creative destruction of their markets. Entrepreneurs refrain from the risk of entering a 'mined' market. Legal ambushes deter investment in the next generation by the market leaders of tomorrow.
  3. Software patents are overly broad rights, as opposed to precise rights such as software copyright. Broad, intricate and clumsy rights are damaging for the market while at the same time more valuable for their holders. 'Inventors' may deliberately phrase their applications very broadly and negotiate with the patent office over breadth of the grant.
  4. Software patents deprive authors of the fruits of their work. Patent regimes dilute your ownership over copyrighted works because they overlap with the realm of copyright. Software patenting closes an alleged copyright 'protection gap', which was preserved by the legislator for reasons that advise against patenting, too.
  5. Software patents are not economically justified. Insufficient economic evidence supports an application of the patent system on software. On the contrary, most studies hint that software patent regimes restrain innovation.
  6. Software patents reward 'hot air'. Ideas are not scarce but cheap. Their disclosure barely justifies to grant rights to prevent them happening. Developers who read software patents consider them an offence: they disclose nothing useful.
  7. Software patents are difficult to research. Patent databases, software and patents are complex. Patent attorneys can do unreliable research for you. Only courts can decide if you infringe a patent. You take all risks and bills. Patent Offices admit it is impossible to find prior art in source or binary code.
  8. Software patents are useless for defensive purposes. Your own patents are useless against 'patent trolls', since they do not have any product which could infringe a patent of yours. When your business bankrupts a troll will buy your 'defensive' patent and terrorise your competitors.
  9. Software patents discriminate small players. They are forced to bow into cease-and-desist letters about questionable patents or settle out of court as litigation is too expensive and takes a long time. As a small player you can either pull or cut your software or take a license if available. You are excluded from fair cross-licensing deals, since you do not have enough patents to cross-license.
  10. Software patents are like 'cold war' for large companies. Large companies view positively the potential to nuke competitors from the market. With cross-licensing deals they recreate a level playing field that resembles the situation without a patent system for members of the club. But weight in trolls, litigation costs, damages, royalties, product removal risks, and a shift of resources from the R&D (Research&Development) to the P&L (Patents&Litigation) department.
  11. Software patents do not fit for service-oriented markets. The software market is about providing services. Patenting suits service markets badly. Patents were designed for the classic industrial sector.
  12. Software patents are not written by (and for) developers. 'Inventors' can write patent applications without skills in software development and sue software developers who independently 'recreated' their 'inventions'.

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