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The Software Debates: Pros and Cons of Software Patents - Essay Example

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This research aims to evaluate and present numerous reasons given as to why software should not be subject to patenting and why people support the issuance of software patents. Software development is one contentious area of patent use…
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The Software Debates: Pros and Cons of Software Patents
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Download file to see previous pages According to the research findings patenting is a form of copyright that is used to ensure that the creator of a unique invention has full rights over the use and distribution of their invention for a limited period of time. This period of time can often be renewed. Patents were designed for the purpose of encouraging the innovation of products and ideas, in order to provide incentive and ability for ideas to be shared widely and to allow for people to invest in inventions. For an article to be able to be patented, it must be considered to be both new and non-obvious as well as being useful or applicable at the level of industry, although the specific criteria vary depending on the country. However, patents are not always used as intended. As ownership of a patent gives the right to determine distribution, and to give or sell the patent to others, patents possess a large potential to be misused for financial gain at the expense of the industry and the inventor. The field of software creation has been growing rapidly, and as a consequence is characterized by strong competition. Since 1998, when a decision by a United States court granted the ability for business methods and software to be patented, the debate has raged about whether these are truly necessary to protect those who invent the products and procedures, or whether they stifle creativity, impeding invention within the industry. While these debates rage, those in the market solely for financial gain quietly take advantage of the chaos acquiring patents from firms and inventors in financial strife, and then using these to generate infringement suits against other companies. Software creation involves building on previous knowledge, resulting in the accusations of many that the ability to patent software has negative effects on the industry, stunting job growth, stifling innovation and causing companies to lose revenue. Arguments for both sides come not only from the business world, but also from academics, scientists and the average consumer. This article analyzes the evidence both for and against the use of software patents, and considers what effect that these have on the industry as well what the best direction is for the future. On the Side of Software Patents There are many reasons why people support the issuance of software patents and these can take the viewpoint of industry growth, or of economics. In direct conflict with the claim that software patents hinder competition and innovation, it has been said that “competition is promoted by the patent system because new innovations and improved products are more likely to be brought to market to challenge the status quo” (Henry and Amundsen, 2009). Without protection, some inventors of software would be too concerned that their work would be stolen and not profit them that they would be hesitant to bring their work to market. That means that the benefits of using the software could never be realized by those whom it would serve. Instead, there would be no advancement. Developers would essentially end up working for free. While, they may be the generous sort who do not mind volunteer contributions, the truth is that such inventors have the right to make a living just like everybody else. If they cannot profit from their own work, then they might as well work in a different field; but where would that leave technological advancement? As it has been acknowledged, “If a new company’s flagship product is sure to be copied by domestic or foreign competition, the incentives to develop- and to invest in- the new product in the first place are significantly reduced” (Henry and Amundsen, 2009). Indeed, having protection for invention is important. Such protections help, and do not hinder, progress. The truth is that many inventors rely on investors for the development of their products. Even though software’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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