So, do you hate software patents yet, now that you’ve read about Paul Allen’s patent infringement lawsuit against the world and his dog?
I think it ought to inspire you, reading Allen’s complaint [PDF], that it might get you to the tipping point, or at least help you to understand why most engineers do hate software patents, because they are a drain on the economy and a hindrance to innovation. So we did Allen’s complaint as text, sort of as Exhibit A, shall we say, illustrating the point.
But if you can figure out precisely what this litigation is about from this complaint, what the defendants are alleged to have done wrong, you are doing better than I am. It’s unbelievably vague.
So are the patents. What is it that these patents do? What’s the process or method? I mean, “Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest”, a patent on a system for recommending things that might interest you based on your interest in something else? How’s this for prior art? When I go to the local hamburger joint, they ask me if I want fries with my burger.
What? It’s patent-worthy if the computer asks instead of a human?