30 May 2007

Patents Are the Enemy, Not Enabler, of Innovation

As patent problems become ever-more prevalent in computing, it's important to emphasise that not only are they innappropriate for software, since the latter essentially consists of mathematical algorithms, but they are damaging even in the wider world. James Watt's use of patents to stifle the development of steam engines (yes, you read that correctly) is perhaps the best-known example, but here's another, more recent one:

For Memorial Day this past weekend, the Associated Press ran an article all about the sudden rise in popularity of infrared grills for home use. Despite the technology first being invented in the 60s (for drying paint on cars), it was a very limited market until the key patent expired in 2000 and real innovation could occur that would allow such grills to be produced economically for backyard use.

Time to kill those patents, people.

No comments: