The idea of patents in early days was to support innovation. Today happens exactly the opposite. We have reached a point where patents prevent technical innovation. Patents are no longer used to protect innovations, they are mainly used to sue other companies, or to counter-sue if anyone sues you. We have seen this lately between Apple and HTC. While the pharmaceutical industry might be excluded due to their costly researches, Software patents are for sure more than doubtful. There exist companies who just buy (software) patents in order to sue others.
There are no more ways for professional (or hobby) developers to see if a programming technique he uses violates any software patent. Every week, several hundred software patents are granted in the US. Today, until now exist more than 200.000 software patents. More than 1.000.000 software patents are pending. This is ridiculous! STOP IT!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely against patents, but we need a fundamental change in patent law in order to stop the software patent absurdity. Instead of suing each other, let’s go back to the roots and enforce and support innovation. The world does not need more lawyers, we need more engineers!
For more information visit the webpage Patent Absurdity. They recently have published a 30 minutes documentary, explaining why software patents have broken the system.