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Talk:Software progress happens without patents

Name change?

Maybe this should be called: Patents not needed to incentivise software development. Ciaran 23:57, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

I think the present title is better, mainly because I think that snappier is better. "Incentivise" is not snappy. I might have called it Software innovation doesn't need patents. steelpillow 21:41, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
I'll keep working on it. On a side issue, I'm wondering if the political focus on innovation is one of our biggest problems. All else being equal, more innovation is better than less innovation, but we want people and companies to be able to write and distribute software, whether it's innovative or not. Or maybe we should have two articles. One with the name you suggest (by renaming Blocking innovation and research?), with a note explaining that this is not the whole issue, and a broader article about "software development" or "software progress" or ... The point I'd like to make is that it's useful for society for a company to write software that isn't innovative but is more convenient for some people, or comes with better terms of use or a better licence. I've started developing this here: More than innovation. Ciaran 13:05, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Adding discussion of Philip Greenspun's article

There is lots of useful material covered by Philip Greenspun (referenced only in one footnote) that could be added to other pages. The reference is and it includes comments like:

"Paradoxically, the more trivial the process the harder it will be to find prior art in a publication."

"How come the patent examiner grants patents on stuff that a 12-year-old Visual Basic programmer would probably implement without too much thought? A patent examiner is only permitted to spend about 12 hours looking at a patent. If he or she cannot find prior art within those 12 hours, the patent is issued. Mostly patent examiners look at other patents, but sometimes they search academic journals and popular magazines. Still, if you had 12 hours to search, including time spent writing correspondence to the applicant, would you be able to find a publication on how to use a file cabinet with hanging folders?"

He takes apart an issued patent and explains who obvious it is to anyone doing business in a parts and supplies store. Then he covers the final patent claim (the only one perhaps requiring a computer) simply by scanning all the papers into a computer and doing a few other obvious things.

He supposedly developed the one-click years before Amazon patented it, and he periodically gets duty as an expert witness in patent suits.

"The answer is that the early Internet pioneers did envision essentially every service available on the present-day Internet. They wrote about it and distributed those writings to tens of thousands of people. They demonstrated prototypes, sometimes to rooms full of more than 1000 people, and distributed films of those demos. The only reason that we believe ourselves to be innovative is that we are too lazy to go to the library and read what was done in the 1960s."

Jose X 03:25, 14 November 2010 (EST)

Reference #2 to gives a 404. Ssdclickofdeath (talk) 14:44, 12 February 2014 (EST)