Friday, January 20, 2006

Twin Problems, Twin Articles

A pair of good reads today. The first, Patent System Stifling Competition contains a good summary of the problems surrounding business method patents, including a review of the cereal restaurant patent battles, and concludes:
While groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, FreeCulture and Downhill Battle are growing, intellectual property issues still don't command the same kind of attention as other progressive mainstays. But if the public doesn't start agitating for reform, Americans are going to find themselves increasingly at the whim of the large corporations who own the ideas that form the foundation of the American economy.

The second, Patently Absurd? Report Calls for Patent System Revamp, focuses on that other mainstay of patent abuse, software patents.
"There have been some really strange patents for software processes that have been common practices for a long time," Orr says, citing the footnote example and others like it. "In our litigious society, this makes business very difficult. As process patents become more popular, the number of nonsense patents grows daily."
The article finishes much like the first, with a call-to-arms:
"In the next decade, the intellectual property regimes for the 21st century are apt to be set," Orr says. "We should not be bystanders to that process."


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