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Leveraging Through Software Patents

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| In 1995, the U.S.P.T.O. decided it was time to develop guidelines for patent
| examiners that reflect these recent court decisions. After releasing draft
| versions of the guidelines for comment, the U.S.P.T.O. adopted guidelines for
| U.S.P.T.O. examiners to determine when a software related invention is
| statutory and therefore patentable.


Writing Software Patent Applications

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| Collecting the information necessary to prepare a patent application covering
| a computer related invention can be quite challenging. Typically, most
| computer related inventions today relate at least in some way to software,
| which is at the core of the challenge. This software challenge stems from
| the fact that the software code is not protected by patent law, but rather
| how the software operates is protected. This means that the description
| needs to be one that can be replicated by others regardless of how they
| choose to write code to accomplish the necessary tasks.
| A patent does not need to be a blueprint, but it needs to direct. For
| example, you do not need to provide the code for the scripts, although that
| is certainly one way to make sure it is described adequately.


Software patents in the Review of the National Innovation System

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| I'm currently preparing a paper on the Open Source software developer's
| perspective on software patents (with a friend of mine, Owen Jones, who has
| the real expertise in patents), and so naturally I was interested in what the
| expert panel had to say about software patents.



Intellectual Property Regime Stifles Science and Innovation, Nobel Laureates

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| Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede
| the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent
| thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued
| for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure
| to encourage innovation, he said.
| Another problem is that the social returns from innovation do not accord with
| the private returns associated with the patent system, Stiglitz said. The
| marginal benefit from innovation is that an idea may become available sooner
| than it might have. But the person who secures the patent on it wins a
| long-term monopoly, creating a gap between private and social returns.


Is Stiglitz the official economist of open source?

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| Why is he the official economist of open source? Because his main point
| supports the open source thesis, which is that breaking monopolies on
| information is essential for free trade and economic growth.


Critic of Software Patents Wins Nobel Prize in Economics

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| doom writes "You've probably already heard that the Nobel Prize
| for Economics was given to three gents who were working on advances
| in mechanism design theory. What you may not have heard is what one
| of those recipients was using that theory to study: 'One recent
| subject of Professor Maskin's wide-ranging research has been on the
| value of software patents. He determined that software was a market
| where innovations tended to be sequential, in that they were built
| closely on the work of predecessors, and innovators could take many
| different paths to the same goal. In such markets, he said, patents
| might serve as a wall that inhibited innovation rather than
| stimulating progress.' Here's one of Maskin's papers on the
| subject: Sequential Innovation, Patents, limitation (pdf).


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