Software patents have been making a lot of headlines recently as lawsuits increase and companies purchase patents to “defend” themselves from further lawsuits. Just searching NPR for ‘patents’ turns up a number of recent stories on tech companies acquiring, being sued for, or settling litigation for software patents.
NPR‘s This American Life aired an excellent story today that covered the war of software patents called When Patents Attack. The story is an hour long and completely worth the listen. You can also read the story at the link. The MP3 is 27.2MB and available for download or streaming.
The twist two-thirds of the way through makes this non-fiction quite riveting. I enjoyed it and 100% recommend it.
The question we’re left with is ‘how do we fix the patent system for software?’. With no clear answer, it is only highly probable that the litigation will continue and people will get rich off of suing other companies that actually innovate and create. After hearing the stories of shell companies, shadowy offices, and investors who buy up patents to sue others – the name ‘patent troll’ seems highly fitting.