Author Ben Klemens says legislation doesn’t address the real problem
As the Senate considers H.R. 1908, the Patent Reform Act of 2007 passed by the U.S. House, critics worry that the legislation is missing the point. In a posting to Google’s Public Policy Blog, Ben Klemens wrote:
“I wish you guys would put your weight behind solving the real problem: subject matter expansion. Until the mid-1990s, a patent had to have a non-trivial physical element, like a drug or a new machine; but at that time, a panel of former patent attorneys decided—without referring to Congress or other prior study—that non-physical objects like mathematical algorithms and business methods should be patentable.”
Klemens is author of Math You Can’t Use: Patents, Copyright, and Software, which explains that patent laws are intended to apply to physical machines and should never have been extended to include software. The book describes why the current patent and intellectual property system for software is such a mess—and proposes how to clean it up.