In general, patents are meant to protect inventions which are proved to work in ordinary applications without fail. I support the argument that software is not patentable. This is simply because software is a development of algorithm transformed and presented in programming language. According to calculus developed by church lambda in his thesis, mathematics cannot be patented. As a result, software is not patentable since it is simply a textual representation of diverse mathematical functions.
Additionally, patents are intended to encourage innovation in the good interest of technological advancement. However software patents are scientifically considered to contrast this phenomenon. Instead of promoting innovations among many researchers, software patents tend to lock many people out of the innovation world. In the recent past, only a number of large companies were capable of enjoying the utility of software patent thus excluding smaller upcoming companies.
Software does not qualify for a patenting since it is constitutes a computer system. Computers rely on specific software in order to function in a particular manner. Therefore patenting software may cause implication on the computer’s initial patent. Moreover, software can be applied to different families of computers. It is therefore not necessary to patent software since the functions it performs are universal and can be applied on many computer types.
The effect of software patent should not be made special since it would limit many companies from improving on their applications. Advancement in technology creates the need to upgrade the present software in order to suit the application. In case the initial software was patented, the rest of users would be required to wait for the software owner to make improvements. This would lead to delayed production in specific companies that demand the improved application. As a remedy, software development should be left open to allow quick response to technological needs.
Software patent should be blocked since demand is high and developers are few. The software developers notice a need and embark on providing a solution to it by developing appropriate software. Different people can easily make improvements on existing software and present it in different algorithms and programming language levels to perform similar functions. Therefore development of software should be left for anyone to execute without introducing patenting system.
Software patents would be of great benefit if presented to the initial developers since they would establish their industries. However patenting is not necessary since software performs very simple functions and their technological application may be common to ordinary people. Furthermore, with the increase in the need to automate almost every activity, no software developer would enjoy monopolistic gain in patented software for more than five years. Therefore software would be so many and patenting would become a trivial activity.
Additionally, software patents are difficult to cross examine and provides a hard task to the authorized examiners. Some programming languages have unique coding systems uncommon to the examiners and translating them to human language is rather difficult. As a result, there is a possibility of awarding patents to very simple software and leaving out the complicated ones.
It is noted over the years that software patents are major factor that kills the art of innovation and invention. The first person to file a patent is considered to be the original innovator. This may not necessarily mean that he was the developer. Most times university students invent new technological ideas and present them in exhibitions. Immediately they are proven to perform important functions, large companies process the same ideas and patent them for commercial use. The young innovators are left with no choice but to drop their ideas while others quit scientific innovation completely.
Additionally, the time span between filling and declaration of a successful patent is too long and expensive for young innovators. Some large companies, request the young researchers to sell the idea at a fee and at the end the company benefits by commercializing a product that was not theirs originally.
It is true that software patents are justifiably different since they involve consolidation of abstract yet fundamental ideas. However patents are a disadvantage to researchers since information is inaccessible for reference. Moreover, some data sources are also incompatible to new inventions.
As agreed concerning the Bilski case of 2010, some software ideas are abstract and make it impossible to patent. Software patents can undergo different patent rules depending on their functionality. Applying different patent rules on software enhances its execution and limits the application of fake software.
In conclusion, software patent is special case due to the dynamics involved in development and examination of different software. The process of acquiring a patent has diverse litigation costs and has negative social side effects on the innovators. Examiners have disqualified some software patents since they were considered trivial due to the presence of shared public ideas. Moreover, many software developments result from existing applications on computer hardware. Therefore, patenting software would compromise the patented computer’s hardware.
James Bess. How Judges and Bureaucrats Put Innovators at Risk. Princeton University Press, 2007
Mike Välimäki, Open Source Licensing for Software Patents. Turre Publishing Press, 2010
Nicholas, Ken. The Rise of Computer-Related Software Patents. NY: Greenwood Publishing Press, 2009.