- They are designed to protect an individual's or an individual company's 'intellectual property'. It's not designed to protect public ownership of things.
- They are designed to protect incumbents. Companies with good lawyers and deep pockets are collecting patents on just about everything to do with computing at the moment. If young, innovative companies want to make any progress in this kind of market, they have to sell their soul to incumbents before they begin.
- They make lawyers wealthy at the expense of entrepreneurs.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
One of the biggest threats to free and open source software at the moment is the existence of software patents. News came out recently that not only is Apple suing HTC over its smartphones, but Steve Jobs also has his eyes on the brilliant open source video format Ogg Theora. Essentially what companies like Apple want is for everyone in the computing world to use the product they developed and to pay them a royalty for the privilege of using them. Clearly community-owned assets like open source software gets in the way of this kind of monopoly. Software patents are anti-competitive and unethical for a number of reasons, including: