Great WashPost article on patents

Patents: The Washington Post gets it. ‘The country “needs to revamp not just the patent system, but the entire system of intellectual property law,” said Andrew S. Grove, chairman of Intel Corp. “It needs to redefine it for an era that is the information age as compared to the industrial age.”‘

BTW, one thing people say is that software patents are fine, as long as the technique is novel and new. What that misses is that novel, new techniques quickly become commonplace and standard infrastructure; consider image/audio/video compression, general compression techniques, cryptography, and so on. Those were all high-tech, super-complex schemes 5 years ago. Nowadays, we have JPEG, gzip, openssl, ssh, and all these other standard tools that are just part and parcel of our basic infrastructure. In software, ‘new and novel’ becomes ‘standard infrastructure’ remarkably quickly, and that’s what’s driving software innovation.

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