Thursday, July 14, 2011

A generation of software patents

James E. Bessen (Boston University's School of Law) recently released A Generation of Software Patents, a study of a generation of "software" patents: "This report examines changes in the patenting behavior of the software industry since the 1990s. It finds that most software firms still do not patent, most software patents are obtained by a few large firms in the software industry or in other industries, and the risk of litigation from software patents continues to increase dramatically. Given these findings, it is hard to conclude that software patents have provided a net social benefit in the software industry."

It's 30 pages, but an interesting read.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, software patents remain unpopular. But instead of advocating for getting rid of software patents altogether, perhaps concerned parties should begin discussions on how to create a software patent that works for developers. For instance, instead of the usual costly, 17-year patent, maybe it's time for an inexpensive, 5-year software patent that reflects software's low overhead and rapid obsolescence? Some other countries offer multi-tiered patent systems; I think it's time the U.S. started discussions in that area.

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