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The evitability of software patents

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1 Author(s)
W. N. Holmes ; Tasmania Univ., Hobart, Tas., Australia

Responding to Kenneth Nichols' article in Computer (“The Age of Software Patents”, April 1999, pp. 25-31), the author disputes the two claims: “software patents are neither inherently good nor bad” and “software patents are here to stay.” The author thinks software patents are not impersonal technology, but rather a part of an intellectual patent system that is a social artifact. Because all social artifacts are fair game for judgments, software patents fall into that category. Not only does the author think it reasonable that an interested party examine the ethics and morality of any branch of the legal system (of which software patents and copyrights are a part), but he feels professionals in relevant areas have a social duty to do so. After exploring several arguments for software patents and copyrights, the author settles on the evitability of software patents, though he points out this does not ensure they will be avoided. However, he thinks there are good arguments for avoiding software patents for other more practical and just forms of monopoly for software

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:33 ,  Issue: 3 )