Thursday, March 11, 2010

The True Behind the Software Patents

Finally someone said the true about the Software Patents. Since yesterday all the blogosphere is talking about the latest Jonathan Schwartz (former Sun CEO) post "Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal".

For years I've seen the big companies (Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, Adobe, ....) defending the need of software patents. The main reason, the excuse, was always to protect the intellectual property, the investments these companies where doing in research and development. And that's the point that was never clear to me.

Let's see. If you create a chip, or an engine, or a car, there's always a big amount of work, design, engineering, models, tests, .... The same could be said about a software package. Any Operating System (Windows, OSX, Linux) or production software like the ones created by Adobe, Microsoft, .... All of those cannot be pirated or illegally copied, since there was a huge amount of work to create them.

But what happens with the Software Patents? Most of them are only ideas, and the patent owner is not always the one that had the idea. Patents like Amazon's "1-Click", or some of the crazy Microsoft patents like "the sudo command", "XML", or "the click". In Amazon's case, the "1-Click" is an obvious choice if you want a nice user experience in your online shop. Regarding Microsoft patents ... well I think it's quite obvious that they where only trolling.

Now finally someone said the true. The software patents are nothing else that a way to protect your company against trolls. The software patent alone has no value, the real value appears when you can use it to do a deal with another company so you can use the others ideas for free.

Guys, do you known something? You can do the same using some of the Open Source licenses laying around. I would really prefer more investment in real technology: new protocols (someone said IPV6 support?), better languages (HTML5 before 2015?) or simply more stable, secure and mature software.

What's clear is that Jonathan Schwartz won a new fan in me. I'm waiting to see what else he couldn't say...

See you soon.

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