Software patents: They're back!

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at
Sun Jan 22 15:01:18 UTC 2006

At Sun, 22 Jan 2006 14:13:52 +0100,
Georg C. F. Greve wrote:
>    G√ľnther Schmalz is also quoted in the following way:
>      Schmalz justifies SAP's commitment for a EU-wide regulation with
>      SAP seeing patents as the only way to ensure returns on its
>      development investment. Copyright is no solution, he continues,
>      as the actual writing of code only makes up about 20% of the
>      development of software. "Those who drive innovation need
>      patents", Schmalz stresses. "Those who don't imitate."

>      * Mr Schmalz does not consider testing, bug-fixing and other
>        tasks to be part of programming. If programmers have to work
>        according to that maxime, it could explain the quality of some
>        of SAP's software, I guess.

No, it's very easy. There are many ways to present facts. What he
doing is presenting the facts the way that people who have never
programmed think only 20% of the development is covered with
copyright. But of course development is more than writing code. I
don't need to explain the testing, bugfixing, writing documentation,
etc. that constitutes software development. But the results of that is
also covered by copyright.

What he leaves out if how much time is spent on coming up with the
"inventions" which are subsequently patented. And of course he leaves
that out, because it isn't even measurable because it's so small. I
doubt you could quantify it above 0.1% if you wanted to.

Jeroen Dekkers

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