EFF: Here's how to fix patents in America


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ISTR reading that the USPTO figured out a while ago that if it didn’t grant patents, it might get sued. But if it granted a patent that turned out not to be original, somebody might sue the holder of the patent. So the started granting more patents. Certainly in principle, patents make more sense than copyrights to protect software: shorter duration, more difficult to get, and they just may protect the underlying operation in exactly the way that copyright aren’t supposed to. In practice they have little idea of prior art in the software arena so they grant a large number of patents that they shouldn’t.

What’s wrong with using copyright to protect software? As long as everyone has to put in the effort to write the code themselves instead of copying someone else’s work then I don’t see any reason to restrict different developers from making software that accomplishes the same ends.

But people keep TRYING to make copyright provide protections that it doesn’t, under the idea/expression divide and the merger doctrine…

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