Let’s Limit the Effect of Software Patents, Since We Can’t Eliminate Them (Wired)

Richard Stallman shares
some ideas
to alleviate the patent problem. "The usual
suggestions for correcting the problem legislatively involve changing the
criteria for granting patents – for instance, to ban issuing patents on
computational practices and systems to perform them. But this approach has
two drawbacks. First, patent lawyers are clever at reformulating patents
to fit whatever rules may apply; they transform any attempt at limiting the
substance of patents into a requirement of mere form. For instance, many
U.S. computational idea patents describe a system including an arithmetic
unit, an instruction sequencer, a memory, plus controls to carry out a
particular computation. This is a peculiar way of describing a computer
running a program that does a certain computation; it was designed to make
the patent application satisfy criteria that the U.S. patent system was
believed for a time to require." (Thanks to Paul Wise)