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Re: Why are software patents wrong?

From: Paul Hovnanian P.E.
Subject: Re: Why are software patents wrong?
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 13:34:33 -0700

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> "Paul Hovnanian P.E." wrote:
> [...]
> > Software is the implementation of an algorithm, which is not patentable.
> Really? Sez who?
> > Copyright law is more suitable for the protection of software.

>From the above link:

"It is more appropriate to consider the software objects of a 
computer program as analogous to the gears, pulleys, and levers 
of a mechanical invention, as by its very nature, the design of 
computer software is intended to optimize functionality by 
making a program run faster, use less memory, or be easier for 
the programmer to modify. When viewed as a collection of 
software objects combined in such a way as to optimally perform 
various tasks, the design of computer software closely 
resembles the design of functional devices protected by patent 
law rather than the non-functional, non literal elements of 
creative authorial works protected under copyright law."

I don't disagree with the above logic, but where it makes sense in the
physical world, it is much more difficult to apply to software.

Unlike hardware, there are numerous ways to implement the same function
(task) in software. Given a task description or algorithm, different
programmers will follow different paths to solve the same problem. With
the wide choice in high level languages and clean room programming
procedures, this is almost inevitable.

However, given increasingly advanced programming tools, two different
source inputs might, after optimization, generate identical run time
objects. I've worked with an automated code generation system that could
reliably generate identical solutions from widely differing input
styles, so long as the goals described were the same and the
descriptions were complete.
Paul Hovnanian
Only through suffering comes wisdom. -- Zeus

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