Clogging up the legal system
Software patents create litigation. This means:
- Occupying the time of judges and all the legal infrastructure involved in court cases, thus clogging up and slowing down the legal system, and creating long delays which interfere with people trying to develop software and run businesses.
- University educations are being wasted working on something with no social benefit. Lawyers with technical knowledge are needed to help developers develope, distribute and commercialise software. They shouldn't be working on something as socially/economically useless as obtaining, licensing, and litigating software patents.
If there was a good reason, then this economic cost would be ok. For example, having a law against kidnapping clogs up the legal system too, but that's fine because kidnapping is really bad, so society accepts paying that price. But mountains of studies on economics and innovation show that software patents are bad for society, so there's no reason to let them clog up the legal system. As Lord Justice Jacob said in the Aerotel ruling by UK Court of Appeal on 27 October 2006:
If the encouragement of patenting and of patent litigation as industries in themselves were a purpose of the patent system, then the case for construing the categories [of excluded subject matter] narrowly (and indeed for removing them) is made out. But not otherwise.