Poll: Should Software Patents Die?

In this week’s episode of Super Podcast Action Committee, EZK and I discussed software patents and whether they’re beneficial to the games industry, detrimental or somewhere in between.

Now it’s your turn to chime in.

A lovingly hand-crafted poll sits on the right side of this very screen, nestled snuggly underneath the LOGIN box.  As of this writing, over 200 readers have made their opinion on software patents known and so far opinion is split between “software patents can take a long walk off a short pier” and “Gentlemen, we can reform them. We have the technology. We have the capability to make software patents beneficial to all mankind!”

Last week’s poll had over 450 voters so who knows what the results will look like in the next few days?  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, be sure to make your opinions known in the comments, especially if you have some specific form of patent reform in mind.  We’d love to hear it and we’ll be sure to read the best, most interesting comments on the next SuperPAC when we reveal the poll’s final numbers so hop to it!

Oh come on, all the cool kids are doing it…

(Check out a bunch of funny patent cartoons at Stu’s Views.)

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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  1. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Ok but for patents specifically would it help any to lock most of the code AND the specific operation/outcome of it for the sake of creating a very specific patent that's somewhat reasonably difficult to reproduce.


    I mean under that setup you would have a few dozen different apple slide lock © ® and not lock up that certain implantation.

    Tho all in all it's probably not worth policing at the end of the day, I tend to hate on such things but I try to think inside the box at times LOL

  2. 0
    Prof_Sarcastic says:

    All code is protected.  The moment I write 'i++;', that code is copyrighted to me.  That doesn't mean I'd have a snowball's chance in hell of suing someone for writing that same line of code, though.  As far as I know there is no % rate that is enshrined in the Berne convention for how much you can take from a copyrighted work before it's considered infringement.

  3. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Ok, dumb question how much of code is protected? I always saw code being like sheet music(or lyrics) up to a certain percentage you can copy it.(unless I am remember wrong).

    The trouble as I see it with most if not all software and some business patents is vagueness, vagueness is thy enemy.

    I don't really see how patents spurn progress as it like copy right just locks ideas up allowing a few to reap the rewards. We need hard expiration time lines, easier methods of deriving said IP as so the IP owners can not block progress but still get paid based on whatever profit is made. 



  4. 0
    Balance says:

    The code itself is already protected by copyright. There's no reason to double-dip.

    Software patents are a travesty. Not only is software fundamentally not valid patentable material (see PolR's An Explanation of Computation Theory for Lawyers on Groklaw for a thorough explanation, but essentially "software is math"), not only is software already protected by copyright, but the the PTO has demonstrated that it is incapable of determining whether any given software concept is novel or non-obvious to persons of ordinary skill in the art. 

    On a more fundamental level, patents are supposed to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. Software patents hinder progress, draining money away from people and companies that actually produce things into the coffers of lawyers and companies that produce nothing but lawsuits. Even aside from the development work that money could have funded instead, the perpetual threat of patent suits exerts a chilling effect on developers.

  5. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    I am for reform if half of the equation is the specific action it dose and the code that make it work is the other half, then it can be fully protected but only if it uses more than 30% of the same code.

    If you do not use both then there is no way you can infringe.

  6. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I am in favor of dropping them completely.   I believe copyright is the appropriate tool for covering software, allowing for a developer to protect their implementation.

    But just like you can not patent books, movies, or course material, I do not see why 'software' should be.

    Unfortunately biotech keeps blocking any type of reform or re-examining.

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