Are Software Patents Stifling Innovation?

What if (Almost) Everything You Thought You Knew About America’s “Broken” Patent System Was Wrong?

What follows is the fourth and final installment in the “Myths of the Patent Wars” series.

The necessary legislative effort to curb bad actors in the patent industry has been “hijacked” by a small handful of very powerful global technology companies intent on forcing broader changes in the patent system to make it better serve their business interests.

Under the banner of “patent reform,” these giant firms have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbyists and media relations to promulgate a series of dramatic but false claims about America’s supposedly-“broken” patent system — claims that are now almost universally accepted as true by the media, Congress, and the public at large.

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we examined the false claim that there is an “explosion of patent litigation greater than any in history” as well as the myth that non-practicing entities are a new breed of parasitic patent holder who contributes nothing to society. In Part 3, we debunked the myth that NPEs are stampeding the International Trade Commission with spurious infringement claims, as well as the myth that excessive damages are being won in litigation.

Today we will look at the 5th great myth of the patent wars:

Claim #5: Software patents are stifling innovation in the industry, and should not be allowed because software innovation is more incremental and iterative than in other industries.

The Facts: It should first be noted that one of the biggest promoters of the myth that software patents are harmful to business and the economy is Google, despite the fact that the company partly owes its own existence to software patent No. 6,285,999 for founder Larry Page’s original page rank algorithm. The company also spent $12.5 billion in 2011 to purchase an operating business with 17,000 software patents from Motorola, which it sold for $2.91 billion two years later, while keeping 15,000 of the patents. It thus condemns patents that help bring in billions of dollars in revenues annually to its coffers, not to mention condemning as “trolls” patent holders who abandon operating businesses, just as they have done.

Be that as it may, opponents of software patents argue first of all that software is different from other industries — more iterative and more incremental, with each advance building upon thousands of previous advances. Therefore, their thinking goes, software should not be entitled to patent rights that ought to be reserved for truly breakthrough or revolutionary inventions.


There are two problems with this argument. First, as anyone in the semiconductor, chemical, medical device or other industries can attest, innovation is no more iterative, incremental, or cumulative in software than it is in many other industries. Indeed, there are just as many or more patents for incremental semiconductor inventions that build modestly upon earlier work as there are patents for incremental software inventions that do the same.

As Professor Paul Janicke once noted, “There really are no breakthrough inventions — at least not in the sense imagined by these critics. Everything moves one step at a time. Every time I thought I [saw] a large leap, it turned out that I didn’t know the full extent of the prior art.”

The second problem with their logic is that the Founders consciously designed the patent system to encourage precisely this kind of incremental invention so that ordinary people, using only the basic technical skills possessed by average citizens, could join in rapidly developing the economy from the ground up. This was a very different approach than that taken by the elitist (if not feudal) European patent systems of the day.

As the October 21, 1876 issue of Scientific American noted, “In the aggregate the little things — which in England or the continent would not or could not be patented — probably add more to the wealth and wellbeing of the community … than the great things do.”

Or to quote Thomas Jefferson himself: “A smaller [invention], applicable to our daily concerns, is infinitely more valuable than the greatest which can only be used for great objects.”

In any event, any uncertainty over the validity of incremental patenting was removed once and for all by the Patent Act of 1952. Consistent with the Founders’ intentions, U.S. law now explicitly states that patent eligibility is not restricted solely to revolutionary or “flash of genius” breakthrough discoveries, but also includes iterative advances in the state of the technological art so long as these meet the requisite novelty, non-obviousness, and utility criteria. In the words of the Act, “Patentability shall not be negatived by the manner in which the invention was made.”

Another argument made by critics of software patenting is that patents supposedly stifle innovation and foster monopolization in the software industry. The research, however, clearly demonstrates that this is not the case. If anything, in fact, the software industry has become even more innovative, more diversified, and more startup-friendly since software patenting became common in the 1990s. One need only look at the huge proliferation of highly-innovative startups in today’s social media and apps fields to see just how erroneous the claim is that software patents stifle innovation. Or consider the fate of the Blackberry, once dominant but in the space of only a few years superseded by more innovative software of Apple and android smartphones.

Finally, some critics insist that the intangible nature of software mathematical algorithms ought to disqualify it from patentability. But the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that although algorithms by themselves are abstract concepts and cannot be patented, software that employs such algorithms to produce a tangible and inventive result — for example, software that governs the molding of raw synthetic rubber into cured precision products — may be patented.

It’s also helpful to view the “intangible” nature of software in historical context. Forty years ago, 80 percent of the market value of all U.S. public companies resided in their tangible physical assets — their plant, equipment, and raw materials. In today’s Knowledge Economy, however, it is intangible assets such as intellectual property, know-how, and business methods that now make up 80 percent of the market value of public companies.

Indeed, the entire history of economic progress on our planet may be described as one long climb by humanity up the ladder of abstraction — from brute force to the subtle use of energy, from wealth derived from tangible resources and industrial machinery to wealth derived from ever-more ingenious ways to deploy that energy and those resources.

Isn’t it only logical, therefore, to expect that invention itself should follow a similar trajectory — from the realm of the tangible to the realm of the intangible?

The expansion of patentable subject matter into new and more intangible realms has always met with resistance. Patents involving the use of electricity were condemned 140 years ago, as were biotechnology patents 30 years ago, and of course software patents when they began to appear in large numbers 20 years ago. In each case, critics warned that these new kinds of patents would hold back further scientific discovery and innovation. And yet in each case, innovation and discovery actually intensified and their benefits to society multiplied.

There are other charges leveled against the patent system as well, including the accusations of “patent holdup” and “royalty stacking” advanced by professors Mark Lemley and Carl Shapiro. They have developed complex theoretical models that describe how patent holders could use the threat of an injunction barring the sale of infringing products (“patent holdup”) to charge unreasonable royalty rates for even one tiny patented piece of that product.

The only problem with Lemley and Shapiro’s theoretical model, argues J. Gregory Sidak of the Georgetown University Law Center, is that there are no real-world examples of it.[1] “The empirical work that exists concludes there is no royalty stacking problem in practice,” writes Sidak. “Damien Geradin, Anne Layne-Farrar, and Jorge Padilla empirically analyzed the patents related to the third-generation (3G) cellular telephone technology — one industry that Lemley and Shapiro explicitly offer as an example of holdup and royalty stacking — and concluded that there is no evidence of [it] among the more than 60 companies involved in the standard.”

Actions speak louder than words.  Despite industry controversy and intense review, the U.S. Department of Justice has not yet identified a single situation warranting enforcement action in “royalty stacking” patent cases.[2]

Put another way, there are six billion mobile phone subscriptions on a planet of only seven billion people — rather compelling evidence of the lack of “patent holdup” in real life.

All of which calls to mind the old joke about how an academic opens a can of soup: “First, assume a can opener.”


We happily stipulate that the patent system is hardly perfect. Too many software patents are being issued that are overbroad and arguably invalid. This is also true, of course, for non-software patents as well. That’s why we support efforts to improve patent quality and the training of patent examiners, such as those announced by the White House and USPTO in February.

But we wish to point out that no governmental system in society is perfect. Just look at the criminal justice system — how many wrongly-imprisoned innocents have we seen freed in recent months? — yet no one  proposes that we do away with criminal law and its enforcement. Rather, most policy makers support reforms, such as greater access to DNA testing by prisoners, to improve the system. We believe a similar approach is needed to improve the patent system.

As for those who would fundamentally alter or even abolish a patent system that for two centuries has been central to U.S. success — or who would create for the first time an identity-based system of patent rights that excludes a democratized species of patent owner (NPEs) created by the Founders — we should be cognizant of the hidden dangers in such proposals.

Indeed, it seems only fair to insist that those proposing such radical and risky measures ought to shoulder the burden of proof that these are both necessary and wise.

So far, as we have seen after examining the Myths of the Patent Wars, they have not even come close to doing so.


[1] There are also problems with the model itself, shown persuasively by Professor Einer Elhague of Harvard Law School in his article “Do Patent Holdup and Royalty Stacking Lead to Systematically Excessive Royalties?”

[2] Remarks by Renata Hesse in connection with her Keynote Address “A Year in the Life of the Joint DOJ-PTO Policy Statement on Remedies for F/RAND Encumbered Standards-Essential Patents,” March 25, 2014, Global Competition Review, Washington, DC.

The Author

David Kline & Bernard J. Cassidy

David Kline & Bernard J. Cassidy

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 33 Comments comments.

  1. step back April 11, 2014 2:44 pm


  2. step back April 11, 2014 2:45 pm

    Gene: Looks like just the Ziedman post has comments locked out 🙁

  3. step back April 11, 2014 3:39 pm

    Dear Dave and Barney,

    “Facts” and reason do not win the day in this war for the hearts and so-called minds of the American public and/or their leaders.

    We humans operate on irrational emotions.
    We embrace family and the familiar.

    Keep repeating the T-word and you make it more familiar (even if you seek to debunk it).
    Keep repeating the “stifle” phrases of the invention-slayers and you make those anti-inventor phrases more familiar, more warm, fuzzy and acceptable (even if you seek to debunk them with facts, logic and reason).

    Much of this is counter-intuitive just patent law itself is counter-intuitive.
    You need to understand how your enemies actually operate. You need to learn the dark art of myth-based persuasion. Read up on George Lakoff and “framing”.

    Figure out how to frame the invention-slayers as being part of the HARM-my-nation tribe.
    Do not repeat their mind numbing propaganda words (unless you are on their side of course)

    It’s ‘them” versus us.
    Which side are you on? 🙂

  4. step back April 11, 2014 3:40 pm

    Gene: in trying to talk truth to counter-intuitiveness I have gotten myself locked up in spam jail
    Please give me a day pass out. Thanks.

  5. Gene Quinn April 11, 2014 5:20 pm


    Just released from spam.


  6. I Can't Buy a Politician April 11, 2014 5:32 pm

    Step Back! Wow! ..great post…I am your follower..onward thru the Fog, brother!

  7. Mike Schulze April 12, 2014 10:06 am

    I am an independent inventor with 6 patents and various continuations on file. I have written my Congressmen and my Senators. What more can I do?

    To our elected officials: Please, do not throw the baby out with the bath water!!

  8. Mark Nowotarski April 12, 2014 6:58 pm


    Find an organization that supports your views and join it.

  9. EG April 13, 2014 7:24 am

    “The necessary legislative effort to curb bad actors in the patent industry has been “hijacked” by a small handful of very powerful global technology companies intent on forcing broader changes in the patent system to make it better serve their business interests.”

    David and Bernard,

    Absolutely on point. The multinational computer and software Goliaths (aka the so-called Coalition for Patent Fairness) have already done great damage the U.S. patent system with the AIA (the Abominable Inane Act) and now they want to do more with HR 3309 and S 1720. Unfortunately, Our Judicial Mount Olympus is also “fanning” these “flames” to burn the U.S. patent system to the ground.

  10. step back April 14, 2014 7:49 am

    The war against inventors continues.

    The below-linked to paper asserts:
    “patents might not have anything to with innovation”

  11. Anon April 14, 2014 9:59 am

    step back,

    The author of that article claims “There is no one way to answer this.” to the question of “But the important question of the debate remains unanswered—does withholding technology designs and information hamper progress, or does it bolster competitive race for better products?

    This is an outright lie. The answer was obvious to our founding fathers and remains true to this day. The answer is Quid Pro Quo.

  12. step back April 14, 2014 3:00 pm


    IIRC, it was no less than Sir Isaac Newton himself who humbly said,
    If I have seen farther it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants.

    All the great thinkers of history, Socrates, Newton, Sir Francis Bacon, Descartes, Einstein, etc. must be doing cart wheels in their graves upon realizing that their progeny have become a nation of Idiocrats. How better to assure that the mistakes of history will be repeated than by keeping everything a secret?

  13. Bill Donaldson May 2, 2014 11:34 pm

    Yeah, because when Apple patents a freaking programming paradigm, they should be allowed to. That doesn’t affect anyone!

    Here’s a pro-tip: if you aren’t a programmer, stay out of this argument – this especially to the authors of this article. It becomes apparent to those of us who DO program just how detached from the situation you actually are.

    Bill Donaldson

    P.S. I mean, how can you argue that this isn’t horribly generic?

    “A system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data. The system provides an analyzer server, an application program interface, a user interface and an action processor. The analyzer server receives from an application running concurrently data having recognizable structures, uses a pattern analysis unit, such as a parser or fast string search function, to detect structures in the data, and links relevant actions to the detected structures. The application program interface communicates with the application running concurrently, and transmits relevant information to the user interface. Thus, the user interface can present and enable selection of the detected structures, and upon selection of a detected structure, present the linked candidate actions. Upon selection of an action, the action processor performs the action on the detected structure. ”

    Only a non-programmer would see this as being a legitimate “invention”. This is not an invention; in fact, you probably have a program on your pc that infringes upon this patent.

  14. Gene Quinn May 3, 2014 3:09 pm


    Spoken like someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. Bravo!

    Programmers aren’t even inventors. Programmers just follow the directions of the inventor who conceives of the invention. That is why the designer is the inventor and the programmer gets no credit in the patent world. All programmers do is translate what others have conceived into code.

    Interesting how you quote text with multiple periods. That means you are quoting something that is not a patent claim. Of course, patent claims are what defines the exclusivity provided. I know you don’t understand what that means, but that is just proof that YOU are the one who doesn’t belong commenting here. You are the one who is clueless, but because you are an over confident programmer you think you know everything about everything.

    Inform yourself about patent law before you make a comment about patent law! Otherwise all you do is demonstrate that you are completely clueless.


  15. Bill Donaldson May 4, 2014 12:50 am


    You seem to be under the impression that by “programmers” I somehow mean a profession.

    I have a normal job, which involves no programming whatsoever. All programming I do, are things I myself conceive. I have never, in my life, written code for another person. Not a company, not a school, not a friend.

    To clarify further, I am a programmer by learning to program. It is most certainly not a term which can envelop my skills or interests.

    According to your comment, though, I am somehow not inventing, and am instead getting my ideas from some non-existent designer.

    Also, please tell me again how US5,946,647 is not a patent.

    Bill Donaldson

  16. Bill Donaldson May 4, 2014 12:59 am


    I suppose I should clarify further: I design things. I know it’s hard for you to imagine that someone doesn’t have the funding to hire dedicated programmers to code these things for us, but remember – not all of us have privileged lives, or been alive long enough to have financial stability.

    Boy, you sure made yourself look a lot more detached from your comment. Or maybe you’re just trying to give us insight as to how you treat your programmers at IPW?

    Bill Donaldson

  17. Gene Quinn May 4, 2014 1:13 pm


    What I was trying to do was point out just how asinine your comment was. Like a typical programmer you think you know everything about everything, including patent law. You say that if you are not a programmer you shouldn’t be commenting on the patentability of software, which is absolutely ridiculous. Just because you can write code doesn’t mean that your opinion of patent issues is superior. In fact, it is extraordinarily clear that you are completely unfamiliar with patent law concepts. Therefore, you have an erroneous view of patent law in your head and you are commenting based on that incorrect understanding. Talk about ridiculous.

    I am sick and tired of programmers who don’t even take the time to understand patent law, or for the most part even read more than the title of a patent or its abstract, getting on their soap box and claiming superior knowledge. If you want to engage in the debate then learn patent law, take the time to read patents and criticize problems that do exist.


  18. Gene Quinn May 4, 2014 1:20 pm


    One final thought. It will probably come as a shock to you, but I do write code. Patent attorneys are both legal experts on patent law and scientifically trained. In order to do our job properly we need to have one foot in both the legal world and one foot in the scientific/technology world. It is insulting for you to come to a patent blog read overwhelmingly by patent attorneys and you say that those of us who write about software patents have no right to express our opinions or comment because we do not write code.

    I and the others that write about software here on IPWatchdog know full well about software, coding and overall system design. We also know about the law. You on the other hand seem to only know about design and code, and you think that somehow magically makes you an expert on the law as well.


  19. Bill Donaldson May 4, 2014 2:34 pm


    You must be getting old. Your comments are filled with general insults and anecdotes. I’m surprised you would publicly insult such a large group of people as programmers, who may be your clients as well. You know people DO read the comments, right?

    If you decide that, instead of insulting groups of people, you would like to explain why these patents are not horridly generic, or at least give a little direction toward your viewpoint on these types of matters, I will be happy to concede to you. Insulting me and all programmers, however, is not going to make it happen, nor will making yourself look superior to me.

    Another Pro-Tip: I don’t care if you are superior to me, I will speak what I think. You have to live with that if you want to talk to people.

    Bill Donaldson

  20. Gene Quinn May 4, 2014 8:49 pm


    My comments aren’t filled with insults at all. My comments are full of truths. Programmers are not inventors, programmers follow instructions of others, and you don’t understand patent law. No insults there at all, just truth.

    You came here, made provably incorrect statements that were of a ridiculous breadth, and I called you on them. Your knowledge of patent law is simply non-existent. Yet somehow now you think you can put me to the proof and say prove “these patents are not horridly generic.” Actually, the burden is on you. I have written dozens of articles explaining software patents and patent law, but you can’t be bothered to inform yourself can you? No, the burden is on you, which we both know you can’t handle because since you don’t know the first thing about patent law you have no idea what it means to be obvious in the eyes of the law. You just assume things are obvious without caring when they were invented, when the patent application was initially filed, what the specification says or what the claims narrowly protect. No, why bother with such required work when you can just ignorantly focus on the title of the invention and the Abstract.

    What is funny, however, is that it was YOU that hurled insults. You were the one who said that only a programmer should be allowed to comment on software patents. The nerve of you. You know nothing about patents (which is a factual statement, not an insult) and you have the audacity to proclaim that you and other programmers are so all knowing and perfect in your knowledge that everyone else just needs to shut up. What a joke!

    You say: “I will speak what I think. You have to live with that if you want to talk to people.”

    That is 100% correct. I speak what I think and I point out pretenders like you who don’t know what they are talking about. There are plenty of places on the Internet where your brand of know-nothing commentary is not only acceptable, but applauded. Here, however, if you are going to play high and mighty you are going to be called out. I called you out and you don’t seem to like that very much. Quite comical really.

    The truth is that it is people like you who don’t take the time to inform themselves but interject themselves into a debate that are the ones who shouldn’t be allowed to comment or have an opinion.


  21. Bill Donaldson May 4, 2014 10:11 pm

    Gene –

    “Programmers are not inventors, programmers follow instructions of others”

    Dear god, say that to Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, or even BIll Gates, and see if they consider it an insult.

    Ok, I’ll take the time to point out the diction I find troubling.

    First, the broad scope of “grammars” below:
    “One of the grammars 410 is a telephone number grammar with associated actions for dialing a number identified by the telephone number grammar or placing the number in an electronic telephone book. Analyzer server 220 also includes grammars for post-office addresses, e-mail addresses and dates, and a string library 420 containing important names. When analyzer server 220 identifies an address using the “e-mail address” grammar, actions for sending e-mail to the identified address and putting the identified address in an e-mail address book are linked to the address.”

    Next, the broad scope of the applicable environments:
    “The above description of the user interface is cast in terms of a purely visual environment. However, the invention is not limited to visual interface means. For example, in an audio environment, user interface 240 may present the structures and associated actions to the user using voice synthesis and may enable selection of a pattern and action using voice or sound activation. In this type of embodiment, analyzer server 220 may be used in conjunction with a text-to-speech synthesis application 167 that reads documents to users over a telephone. Analyzer server 220 scans document 210 to recognize patterns and link actions to the recognized patterns in the same manner as described above. In the audio environment, user interface 240 may provide a special sound after application 167 reads a recognized pattern, and enable selection of the pattern through the use of an audio interface action, such as a voice command or the pressing of a button on the touch-tone telephone keypad as before. Thus, user interface 240 may present the linked actions via voice synthesis. One can create various environments having a combination of sensory mechanisms.”

    Many different programs can derive their function from this program. That is why I dislike it being patented. I don’t think the patent is illegal, or some other cockamamie idea. I dislike it, and believe it stifles innovation.

    Bill Donaldson

  22. Bill Donaldson May 4, 2014 10:25 pm


    “You were the one who said that only a programmer should be allowed to comment on software patents. The nerve of you.”

    Is people understanding what you are working with is too much to ask? Is my diction unclear to you?

    If you can write code, if you can make your own idea in code, or if you can really understand the whole thing, then damn it by my diction you are a programmer. Have I made that perfectly clear? I hate having to point out every little piece of diction with you smart-ass lawyers. It’s not clever, it’s tedium.

    So, for the last time, quit using the word programmer as if it is my profession.

    Bill Donaldson

  23. Bill Donaldson May 4, 2014 10:29 pm


    Claim 22 contains full literature on what I dislike:

    “22. A computer-based method for causing a computer to identify, select and perform an action on a structure in computer data received from a concurrently running application, said application presenting the computer data to the user, the method comprising the steps of:
    receiving computer data from the application;
    detecting a structure in the computer data;
    linking at least one action to the detected structure;
    communicating with the application to determine the location of the detected structure as presented by the application, to enable selection of the detected structure and a linked action, and to determine if the detected structure and a linked action have been selected; and
    performing a selected action linked to the detected pattern.
    23. The method recited in claim 15, wherein the step of enabling uses sound activation.
    24. The method recited in claim 15, wherein a first one of the actions may invoke a second one of the actions.”

    In case you even understand what I mean by the term “dislike”.

    Bill Donaldson

  24. Gene Quinn May 5, 2014 12:04 pm


    First, you say: “I hate having to point out every little piece of diction with you smart-ass lawyers.”

    Words actually matter. That is how meaning is conveyed. If y ou don’t like having to appropriately formulate your comments then go elsewhere.

    You ask: “Is my diction unclear…” I believe you meant to ask whether your meaning was unclear.

    You say: “quit using the word programmer as if it is my profession.”

    I never said you were a programmer by profession. So why you would chastise me for doing something I never did?

    In terms of claim 22, which you so dislike, why do you dislike it? What about the prosecution history is problematic.

    Of course, I and everyone here knows you didn’t look at the prosecution history, but that is the problem. Legally, in order to interpret the meaning of a claim one must review not only the entirety of the patent application and the claim itself, but a proper interpretation of the scope of a claim requires the entirety of the prosecution history to be reviewed. Then and only then can you tell what a claim actually covers.

    I’m happy to go on and on as long as you like. What is clear is that you are interjecting yourself into a debate on an issue that you know absolutely nothing about. Rather than inform yourself and put forward a logical argument you demand that I prove to your satisfaction that certain patent claims are appropriate. But you don’t even understand the most fundamental basics.

    Finally, let’s remember that you started in a very arrogant and self important manner proclaiming that only people who are programmers should be allowed to comment on issues of software patents. The truth is that you know nothing about patents, which means that the only person here that really should be completely discounted is you! Listening to someone who knows nothing about the topic, such as yourself, is ridiculous.

    Earlier you asked about my clients. I have plenty of clients and they come to me because they want patents. I am an unapologetic champion of innovation and inventors. People like you who complain about patents without knowing the first thing about them are never going to be clients of mine. I wouldn’t accept you or anyone who presents in such an arrogant, self-important way as a client.


  25. Bill Donaldson May 5, 2014 3:06 pm


    You do realize this patent has been in the news recently? Did you miss that part of my message? Was it unclear somehow what the patent covers in the news, or are you just not paying attention? I don’t care to restate it. You can find it any number of places.

    See, I don’t care what you think of me. I just care what I think of that stupid patent. So, like yourself, I am happy to keep going; half of the things you say which are aimed at disarming me? They don’t even make sense in this context, which you would realize if you understood social interaction. This is not a court room, your word’s definitions are not that particular. Sorry to burst your bubble. (i.e. “I wouldn’t accept you or anyone who presents in such an arrogant, self-important way as a client.” – Why would someone against software patent law hire an IP lawyer? That is asinine. 2. ” If y ou don’t like having to appropriately formulate your comments then go elsewhere.” Appropriate formulation for the social context is now being avoided thanks wholly to your idiosyncrasy).

    Bill Donaldson

  26. Gene Quinn May 5, 2014 3:23 pm


    Do you really think that the popular press does justice to patent news? Do you think journalists do what is required to actually and appropriately interpret claims by reading the entire specification, the claims and then reviewing the entire file history? Just curious if you are paying attention to MY comments.

    You say: “I don’t care what you think of me. I just care what I think of that stupid patent.”

    But you won’t (or more likely can’t) explain what you think is stupid about the patent. Instead you ask me to justify the patent, or you give a very authoritative “it’s in the news” citation. What is obvious is that you have not explained at all why you think the patent is stupid. It seems to be stupid simply because that is your opinion. Funny. Opinion without any justification or knowledge of the underlying substantive area.

    You say: “This is not a court room…”

    We are talking about legal issues and words to matter. If you want to be sloppy, provide no insight and comment on areas where you have no basis for your opinion there are plenty of places you can visit on the Internet. But as long as you keep commenting here I will continue to point out that you offer no substance, don’t know anything about the topic and your opinions are wholly useless.


  27. Bill Donaldson May 5, 2014 3:45 pm


    Bill Donaldson May 4th, 2014 10:11 pm
    “Many different programs can derive their function from this program. That is why I dislike it being patented.”

    Bill Donaldson May 4th, 2014 10:11 pm
    “Many different programs can derive their function from this program. That is why I dislike it being patented.”

    Bill Donaldson May 4th, 2014 10:11 pm
    “Many different programs can derive their function from this program. That is why I dislike it being patented.”

    The rule of 3’s?

    Bill Donaldson

  28. Bill Donaldson May 5, 2014 4:17 pm


    By the way, I find “Is my choice of words unclear?” to be a fine sentence.

    Bill Donaldson

  29. Gene Quinn May 5, 2014 4:18 pm


    As fun as it has been to prove that you know nothing about what you are talking about, I am growing extremely tired of your asinine, condescending comments. Really. Who exactly do you think you are?

    Only someone wholly incapable of critical thought would think that your nebulous statement that “many different programs can derive their function from this program” sets forth any kind of coherent, logical or rational reason to dislike a patent. In fact, that statement, which you condescendingly repeated 3 times above, says absolutely nothing substantively. So in other words, you dislike the patent for no reason that you can articulate. So your dislike of the patent is obviously a personal problem, as is your inability to explain yourself. Again, not surprising since you are trying to engage in a debate in a topic area where you have absolutely no knowledge.

    So now let’s cut to the chase. Either you start engaging substantively or you will be banned. (1) Hopefully that is simple enough for you to understand. (2) Hopefully that is simple enough for you to understand. (3) Hopefully that is simple enough for you to understand.


  30. Gene Quinn May 5, 2014 4:21 pm

    Bill says: “By the way, I find “Is my choice of words unclear?” to be a fine sentence.”

    How pathetic, Bill. That wasn’t what you said, as anyone who cares read back can see for themselves. You asked whether your diction was unclear, which seems to be an inappropriate use of the word.

  31. Bill Donaldson May 5, 2014 4:43 pm

    Editorial Note: Comment deleted.

  32. Gene Quinn May 5, 2014 4:47 pm

    Bill Donaldson has been banned.

  33. Anon May 7, 2014 9:56 am

    To tell you the truth, Gene, I stopped reading Bill Donaldson’s rants when he tried to say that patent law was not pertinent to the conversation, when he tried to say that ONLY programmers need to be involved in the conversation. It was readily apparent that Mr. Donaldson wanted to have a “non-law” legal discussion – one in which reality need not attend.

    My namesake, lower case “a'” anon uses an analogy that can be referenced here.

    His analogy is a big box of electrons, protons, and neutrons. A similar analogy would be a Tinkertoy set (see ).

    The point of the analogies is that just as in the software and computing arts, other arts have their sets of building blocks. The individual building blocks themselves seem (and in a very certain sense, are) both non-novel and “per se” obvious. The point being missed is that inventions are made with configurations of the building blocks, that claims are NOT “per se” obvious.

    Software seems “more dangerous,” only because software from day one was built to be modular and adapatable. The computer is no less a machine (and falls fully to the statutory category of ‘machine’) just because it was a machine built to be changed. For “logical people” that most programmers are, it is rather amazing that the logic of what the patent system is meant to protect seems to escape those who despise IP protection. It is amazing to see that the application of logic desired by those “anti’s” for software, if so applied to all art fields would logically mean that there could be NO patents whatsoever.

    I do not remember the source, but a quote comes to mind: “Only God works from scratch.