Software patents: They're back!

simo simo.sorce at
Sun Jan 22 21:08:50 UTC 2006

On Sun, 2006-01-22 at 20:19 +0100, Joachim Jakobs wrote:
> On Sunday 22 January 2006 14:13, Georg C. F. Greve wrote:
> >    Yesterday, German publisher Heise featured another article about
> >    the reappearance of software patents on the agenda, in which
> >    G√ľnther Schmalz, head of SAP's software department, is quoted
> >    saying "It starts again."
> >
> according to he is the head of the patent department.
> Be sure this guy knows very well what he is talking about. But the company 
> pays him to lie - and he does.

I'd not be so sure.

I've seen legal people working in the patenting field that didn't
understand anything about software development and were genuinely
convinced that patents are good even for software in the same way they
are for real physical products.
Unfortunately they do not understand the difference between a dishwasher
and a word processor, so they use their knowledge and, as they see no
difference in the product, they do not see why there should be any
difference in the way the products are "protected".

If you attend any course on the matter of innovation that's made with
legal people as target, you will see that there is a sort of mantra
being repeated about how important are patents for innovation. There is
no speculation at all on whether it is true ore not or whether the
matter is so simple or is more complex and need a course in economy
matters to explain it in detail. It is taught as a dogma without proof,
much in the same way in primary school they tell you negative numbers do
not exists. They will tell you later on, but this often doesn't happen
in the case of innovation vs. monopoly in the legal field.

We should really teach legal people to distinguish between one thing and
another, only after that you will be able to discriminate between an
ignorant and a liar.
Lay man must also understand that legal matters, do matter to them, they
are the rules of the game. There may be specialist of the rules, but you
have to contribute in making, obeying and adapting them over time, or
you are out of the game sooner or later. Rules that cannot be understood
cannot be obeyed.


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