Monday, February 24, 2003

Patents

Lawrence Lessig: Exclusive rights to stagnate "American software developers will continue to choke on software patents, especially as more and more get enforced in massively expensive litigation. These patents will in turn inhibit the work of independent developers and protect large developers over small. As Mr Gates rightly concluded in his 1991 memo, "established companies have an interest in excluding competitors."Patents give them just one more tool."

In the document that Bill Gates cites, "Against Software Patents", they note:
"...Apple was sued because the Hypercard program allegedly violates patent number 4,736,308, a patent that covers displaying portions of two or more strings together on the screen--effectively, scrolling with multiple subwindows. Scrolling and subwindows are well-known techniques, but combining them is now apparently illegal...the technique of using exclusive-or to write a cursor onto a screen is both well known and obvious...But it is covered by patent number 4,197,590, which has been upheld twice in court..."
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