Friday, August 19, 2005

Cringely on "patent reform"

PBS | I, Cringely . August 18, 2005 - Patently Absurd: "If patent reform will hurt most of the people who receive patents, why are we doing it? Good question."

Good column this week, focusing on following the money in patent legislation. The patent system, almost everywhere in the world, is in a bit of a mess. You wouldn't think it matters to you and me, but it's the same system that encourages companies to make new things like medicine. It's also one of the hardest things to tinker with. One change can have numerous unitended (or intended, but non-obvious) side effects. Want to scrap software patents? Good, I agree with you, but how do you define software? Where do you draw the line on inventions such as antilock brakes on cars, which run on software? Patent reform will be tricky, and anyone who tells you it isn't, doesn't fully understand the situtation.

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