Re(1): Software patents underlie a novel open source business model (video)
Posted by: bilbophile
on March 30, 2008 11:41 AM
Patents and copyrights were invented precisely to get the results of intellectual work "out there" rather than having them hidden by trade secrets or lost by the lack of a reward fo the author. The system established an economic value for intellectual artefacts by enforcing artificial temporary scarcity, but - at least originally - in return of these artefacts becoming immediately available to the public and eventually entering the public domain.
Unfortunately, the market thus created has been an artificial one and as such one open to political abuse. Given that the IP owners' interests are concentrated while the public ones are dispersed, we have arrived at a system which instead of opening up creation, it often stiffles it. Moreover, since the realm of science was excluded from patenting for good reason, so should have been the mathematical formulas making up the software. However, until a replacement for IP rights more beneficial than the trade secret and providing a more satisfactory income model for the authors comes up, the only way forward is to patch the system.
While strictly software patents should be abolished worldwide, this "dual patenting" is a step in the right direction and living proof that the work of inventors can be recognised and rewarded without stiffling further innovation. Actually, if the priciples of such a covenant and those of e.g. the LGPL would become mandatory provisions of the IP law a lot of the incentives to hijack the IP system would disappear and this might ultimately trigger some other beneficial changes as well.
[Modified by: bilbophile on March 30, 2008 12:42 PM]