Software patents are negative for most of us. In fact, even some of those who demand or defend software patents today would deeply regret it later. It would only be too late then.Patents turn software publishing into the privilege of a few. Of course, everyone can still develop software. However, in a world with countless software patents, only large corporations are equipped to deal with the incremental costs and legal risks. Even they will increasingly take a negative view on software patents if patent inflation rages on.
The biggest problem is that patents are valid for 20 years. In a slow-paced industry, that may be acceptable. For computer software, that means anything which was considered a groundbreaking invention in the days of the Commodore 64 should still enjoy patent protection today. Even the greatest visionaries of the IT industry have never been able to predict the next 20 years. Just a 2-year horizon is a major challenge in the software market. However, the patent lobby claims that patent examiners were capable of deciding today what type of software concepts should be monopolized for 20 years to come. So much hubris is ridiculous and frightening at the same time.
"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today."Some large corporations want to use software patents against smaller competitors and open-source software. That would, in turn, make the whole software market much less competitive. Consequently, a cartel of "patent superpowers" would gain control over the strategically most important segments of the software business. Everyone knows that if there is a less competition in a market, prices go up and quality goes down. Innovation would be stifled and, as Bill Gates once predicted, the industry would come to a stand-still.
Software is a key technology that is important to every company, every public administration, and every household. Therefore, everything that makes the software industry ill has effects on the entire organism, on all aspects of the economy and society.