The technology patent mess

I have been writing about the mess in American patent law for years. I have noted many times that current practice creates screwy technology patents and hinders innovation. Of course, lately everybody is suing everybody about patents so many stories about the subject have been appearing. On Sunday, the New York Times even ran a front-page story, The Patent, Used as a Sword. Reporters Charles Duhigg and Steve Lohr begin by describing the difficulties that patent suits caused a small company called Vlingo. They continue:

Mr. Phillips and Vlingo are among the thousands of executives and companies caught in a software patent system that federal judges, economists, policy makers and technology executives say is so flawed that it often stymies innovation.
Alongside the impressive technological advances of the last two decades, they argue, a pall has descended: the marketplace for new ideas has been corrupted by software patents used as destructive weapons.

It’s an extensive story. Read it and you’ll see why so many people are saying the patent system is broken.

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