Friday, January 14, 2005

Panopticon Central on Software Patents

I have nothing but contempt for any company that tries to use patents to achieve what they could not through purely competitive means.

Well put. The thing a company should do is compete. Have the better product. Be cheaper. Be faster. But then it should need any patents, right?

Well the problem is this:

So while the good fight goes on to get rid of them, I also believe that it would be dangerously naive to not play the game as best we can in the meantime in as principled a way as possible. There are a lot of people who would love nothing more than to just take a piece out of Microsoft either because they can or because they want to get rich and not for any better reason than that. I've been around long enough to see the kind of trouble that patents can cause us, and so I believe the best defense is a good offense. While I don't believe in using patents in an unprovoked way, I do believe in having a robust patent arsenal with which to defend ourselves should someone get it in their head that they want to hold our products hostage for money or just to cause trouble.
So the only reason to have patents, is that you can defend yourself against somebody who decides to use their patents against you? If this is true, we should really get rid of them. The only ones who will profit from this are lawyers and the patent office.

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