• Apple Patenting the Obvious Again

    I enjoy coding, and many would say I'm quite intelligent. But, by no means, am I some sort of super-being. With this in mind, I'd say if I was able to think up a technique then it's more than possible it was too obvious to patent.

    So, given Apple have just been granted this patent, I felt it was worth highlighting that it's not new, it is obvious and has already been done!


  • Republished: Software Patents Raised Again in the UK

    Originally Published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org November 2007


    No, it's not MS doing it, but the issue of Software Patents is being raised again in the UK. Four small companies are raising the issue at the High Court, claiming that the current UK laws do not fall in line with EU rules, and are therefore stifling innovation.

    The Register carries some details on this but the short version on the story is that these companies do not believe that the ban on patents for disks and downloads is correct. As they correctly state, Copyright protection does not grant the protection that a patent does, but I believe this is a good thing. Patent law in the US has caused the rise of the 'patent troll', companies that create nothing but patents, and then sue other companies for infringing their patents.

    The mess in the US should be enough to tell everyone that software patents are bad, bad news. Many believe the patents themselves stifle innovation, there are just so many patents filed (many of them obviosu things) that you cannot create anything without risking infringing upon someone elses patents. This is not a situation we want to see in the UK, software is not an invention. It may be difficult to write, it may 'invent' a new concept, but at the end of the day it is nothing more than a set of instructions telling a device how to act.
    If the software for a washing machine had been patentable, then there could only be one brand legally selling washing machines in the UK. This would have left the consumer paying far more than in todays reasonably competitive market.

    The whole concept of patents was to encourage innovation, by allowing you to maintain a government approved monopoly on your invention for some time. Where software is concerned, the opposite happens, people are wary of starting or releasing new projects in case a patent has already been granted. Hopefully the High Court will find against the plaintiffs, but until then, things are going to be tense in many programmers houses.

  • Republished: The Problem With Software Patents Is

    Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org in June 2006

    Simply put there are a great many problems with the concept of software patents, let alone the practicality. Those of us who follow news within the IT industry are forever seeing 'X sues Y for infringing patent.' Does this mean that all the companies in the IT sector are trying to steal other peoples work and ideas? No, the problem is patents are being granted on concepts that they should not. This does also affect non-software patents to a point, however software patents seem to be the most affected by this.

    Currently in the UK (and as far as I know Europe as a whole) software patents are not legally enforceable. This does not mean they do not exist, Software patents have been granted, and still are. However you cannot currently back them up in a court of law. Now lets take a look at the Patent System in the US so that we may see exactly why we do not want software patents.