What is a Software Patent?

I am grateful to IP Central for raising the question "what the devil qualifies as a patent on software, anyway?" The blogger adds that it is not an easy question. Although I had not really thought about it in that way I have to agree.

IP Central points to a working paper by Anne Layne-Farrar of The AEI-Brookings Joint Centre for Regulatory Studies entitled "Defining Software Patents: A Research Field Guide." Now although I don't usually agree politically with the the institutions that published this paper, I commend this work.


Ian Clarke said…
Intuitively, as a creator and user of software that believes that the patentability of software is bad for competition and innovation in the software industry, I don't want to have to worry about getting sued for patent infringement when I write, distribute, or use software.

I would therefore say that a software patent is any patent that can be infringed by the act of writing, distributing, or using software alone.

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