Main Argument: Software should not be patentable because it discourages progress and innovation in the field. "...There is absolutely no evidence, whatsoever— not a single iota—that software patents have promoted or will promote progress...” -Jim Warren, 1994, creator of the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference What is a Patent? • “A copyright is typically obtained on an entire computer program… Patents are obtained on innovative ways of doing things, and thus a single program might implicate hundreds of them.” -Fortune Magazine • Software patents cover specific algorithms and techniques which tell a computer how to perform a specific task. Software patents are used by large companies to crush their competition. This creates monopolies and prevents small companies from progressing in the economy. • “A future startup with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price might be high. Established companies have an interest in excluding future competitors." – Bill Gates, 1991 Example: Blackboard, Inc. vs. Desire2Learn, Inc. •Blackboard owns 80% of the course-management software market in the U.S.. •Blackboard sued Desire2Learn for violating its patent rights on e-learning software. •Blackboard was awarded $3.1 million for this patent infringement. While software patents are under review for approval, others can develop software programs which can infringe on the rights of the future patent. • "Because it is impossible to know what patent applications are in the application pipeline, it is entirely possible, even likely, to develop software which incorporates features that are the subject of another firm's patent application.” -Mitch Kapor, 1994, Founder of Lotus 1-2-3 • Example: Apple and Starbucks sued over custom music gift cards • A Utah couple claims to have patented a utility dubbed RPOS, or retail point of sale, which is used in Internet merchandising. • Apple created a similar concept for its iTunes cards while the patent was under review. •Starbucks is being charged as a complicit partner in this patent infringement. The legal actions involved in filing claims on patent infringement create wasteful expenditures for both sides. • "...The time and money we spend on patent filings, prosecution, and maintenance, litigation and licensing could be better spent on product development and research leading to more innovation...“ – Robert Barr, 2002,Cisco Systems Intellectual Property Department • The process of conducting a patent search is very time consuming. • Software companies must constantly update their programs. • Software patents slow this process down because time is spent avoiding patent infringement. • Patent searches can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. • US Patent Office: 27,239 active, licensed patent attorneys • Gerald D. Hosier, named highest paid attorney with a salary of $40 million in 2000 by Forbes magazine Existing copyright laws on software are efficient in protecting infringement. • “Software is already protected by copyright law, and there’s no reason any industry needs both types of protection.” • A Patent Lie, New York Times, 2007 • Example: Oracle Corporation opposes the patentability of software. • The world’s second largest software company • They believe that the existing copyright laws and available trade secret protections on software are better suited to protect computer software developments, compared to patent laws. • Copyright protection is typically much easier, less expensive and less time consuming to obtain. • It is easier and cheaper to prove copyright infringement compared to patent infringement. Software patents discourage innovation in software production. • “It is telling programmers that they may not use a particular method for solving a problem without the permission of the idea’s “owner.” Patenting an algorithm or technique is like patenting a series of musical notes or a chord progression, then forcing composers to purchase a “musical sequence license.” -Why Patents are Bad for Software, 1991 • Software patents are placed on specific algorithms and techniques. • However these can be used in a large number of programs. • There is a high probability of patent infringement when developing a new program.