Not So Patently Obvious, the Brief History of Patenting Software in the U.S. and Europe and the Trouble with Patents in the Digital Age, 2nd Edition

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9781932813982: Not So Patently Obvious, the Brief History of Patenting Software in the U.S. and Europe and the Trouble with Patents in the Digital Age, 2nd Edition
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Not so Patently Obvious provides a brief history of patenting software in the U.S. and Europe and the Trouble with Patents in the Digital Age. When the software industry was young, software patents did not exist. The USPTO didn't issue its first software patent until 1981. Since then, tens of thousands of software patents have been issued on both sides of the Atlantic. Anyone can be an infringer, and many are. Microsoft is reported to be, at any given time, defending themselves against 30 to 35 patent infringement lawsuits. It has been suggested that the Linux kernel might infringe as many as 283 U.S. patents. Blockbuster awards, such as the $450 Microsoft was ordered to pay a tiny patent holding company named Eolas, are fundamentally changing the way the software industry does business. Economists, politicians, scientists, academics, legal experts, engineers, and computer programmers are all asking if this proliferation of software patents makes any sense. There is a growing unease that the patent system has derailed and is going to take the software industry off the tracks with it. At the same time it is increasingly clear that without patent protection, it is impossible to protect the competitive advantages that result from technical innovations in software technology. These two points of view collided last year in the European Parliament's debate over the European Commission's Directive for Computer Implemented Inventions. A bitter and implacable row erupted over the Commission's Directive which was defeated with both sides claiming victory. This book steps away from the rancour of the debate over software patents and takes a fresh look at the issue. Eric Stasik, author of Patent or Perish, and founder of the patent engineering firm Patent08 (www.patent08.com), takes the reader through a brief history of software patents, explains some of the problems this has created, and illustrates why society still struggles with what Thomas Jefferson described as "the difficulty of drawing a line between the things which are worth the public embarrassment of an exclusive patent, and those which are not." As Jefferson realized, the answer is not so patently obvious.

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About the Author:

Mr. Eric Stasik is the director of Patent08, an expert consulting firm located in Stockholm, Sweden providing patent engineering, business development, and licensing services to small and medium-sized enterprises. He is an expert in helping firms develop patent and licensing strategies that support their business objectives. He is the author of several books on patent strategy and maintains a well-respected blog (www.patent08.com) on the business aspects of developments on patent law and practice. Mr. Stasik is an engineer; he is not an attorney at law and does not provide legal advice.

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