by Jamie King, Luca Lucarini
This is a documentary film outlining how software patents (aka “patents on processes”) have taken the patenting process and turned it into a legal playground where only the heavily lawyered-up can survive.
Most would be amazed to know that just a couple of decades or so ago, there were no “software patents” to speak of. Until the 1990s, software was considered unpatentable because, at its core, it’s just a mathematical formula (algorithm) detailing a process. Just as mathematics cannot be patented, neither could software. Until a landmark appeals case changed all that, describing a computer program as a “process” as if it created a new machine by its very existence.
In a very short amount of time, software patents became 1/3 of the total patents filed annually in the U.S. They take up that much (or more) of the court load in litigation as well. Patents for absurd things like “purchase kiosks” have been stretched to cover nearly all of e-commerce while patents on everyday arrays of information, taught to every programming student in college, are manipulated in such a way that they become a “process” and are patented.
Companies now create patents, not to secure their innovations, but to use as return volleys of fire in patent lawsuits in the war on innovation that is software patenting.
This is a great video and well worth watching. You can download it for free from their website (linked on the graphic) or purchase a DVD.
Special thanks to Gadget42 for the link and recommend on this one.