Software Patents?

When I was reading Prem’s blog, I was able to read one of his entries about the Online Petition Against Software Patents in the Philippines. Let me quote an excerpt from the paper of James Bassen and Eric Maskin entitled, Sequential Innovation, Patents and Imitation.

“How could such industries as software, semiconductors, and computers have been so innovative despite historically weak patent protection? We argue that if innovation is both sequential and complementary‚Äîas it certainly has been in those industries‚Äîcompetition can increase firms‚Äô future profits thus offsetting short-term dissipation of rents. A simple model also shows that in such a dynamic industry, patent protection may reduce overall innovation and social welfare. The natural experiment that occurred when patent protection was extended to software in the 1980’s provides a test of this model.”

This only shows that patents will just hinder the growth of the software industry which would not help the economy at all. I remember when we used Intel’s Open Source Computer Vision Library for our thesis. What if Software Patents were mandated by law when we were having our thesis? Then, I guess we would not be able to graduate or we could graduate and in the end, we will suffer the consequences.

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