The term “Patents” came into existence as a legal mechanism created for the protection of the ‘intellectual capital’. It aims to protect inventor’s ideas from getting into the hands of others without appropriate permission or compensation (Bell 2013). This idea of patenting came up as a result of the early recognition that many inventors do not have the means to produce, develop, or even implement their invention at the time it was conceived. There is, therefore, a need for some protection that would encourage the inventors to aggressively pursue their ideas without someone else stealing it and thereby sharing the glory. A patent, in theory, thereby provides a valuable protection system for inventors since it helps them to pursue the development of their invention and as well get the maximum reward system for their commercially valuable idea. However, in the modern world, patents are no longer of noble nature, software patents are becoming more of an issue as it presents a whole lot of disadvantages. Now, there is a huge disparity between the theory of patenting and reality. In reality, Software patenting is creating landmines in the path of progress.
Software patents now result in the issuance of vague and broad patents. It may be argued that these broad patents have a high chance of being rejected since they are more likely to be considered obvious or may impinge on a prior patent. However, despite this high rejection probability, if issued, a vague patent can be even more valuable than specific ones because vague patents gives the inventor the power to subsequently lay claim of ownership to a very broad range of intellectual territory, not leaving behind specific ideas that this vague patents inventor has never even thought of before.
This, however, gives a very good incite on how software patenting can, therefore, become a very serious stumbling block to progress. The implications of such stumbling blocks may vary from mundane to severe.
Stephen Bell. Long running software patent debate looks close to resolution. Computerworld
New Zealand 28 June, 2013. Web. Retrieved April 15 2014 <http://www.computerworld.co.nz/article/466155/long_running_software_patent_debate_looks_close_resolution/>
Should Patents Be Awarded to Software? The wall Street Journal. May 12 2013. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323335404578444683887043510