Making the case against software patents (Was: Re: [Fsfe-ie] Ivana Bacik
ian at locut.us
Mon May 24 20:20:20 CEST 2004
Niall Douglas wrote:
> On 24 May 2004 at 10:13, Ian Clarke wrote:
>>>Playing devil's advocate, I suspect they would argue that such an
>>>amendment would mean that physical inventions with a component that is
>>>software (eg. a form of computer-controlled lathe) would not be
>>>patentable, and they consider this to be undesirable. By this point
>>>they have successfully blunted your argument.
> Except that even pro-patent supporters claim to not support the
> ability to patent something containing software just because the
> software alone contains the inventive step of the invention.
> One can use their own arguments against them by contrasting their
> actions against what they say they believe.
The challenge isn't out-arguing them, the challenge is out-arguing them
in a manner that a non-expert audience will understand. Once you start
talking about where within an invention the "inventive step" occurs, 99%
of your audience's eyes will have glazed over and you are wasting your
This, in fact, is the core problem with the theoretical arguments
against software patents, they are quite hard for non-computer sciences
to grasp. Much better to point to empirical evidence of the badness of
software patents (FTC study, etc), perhaps following-up with a
theoretical explanation of why this has happened elsewhere.
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