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Re: Getting rid of software patents = All software becomes free?

From: Andy Baxter
Subject: Re: Getting rid of software patents = All software becomes free?
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 04:02:27 -0000
User-agent: pan 0.120 (Plate of Shrimp)

On Wed, 12 Dec 2007 03:07:58 +0000, Tim Smith wrote:

> On 2007-12-11, Andy Baxter <> wrote:
>> If you replace 'companies' with 'large companies' (who have the resources
>> to lobby government, and the money to pay lawyers to enforce their
>> patents), it makes more sense. Individually some of them might want to get
>> out of it, but over the smaller companies and other interests (e.g.
>> individuals) that patents affect, they have a collective interest in
>> getting the government to support patent laws. So they do. It's called
>> 'regulatory capture'- we studied it in a course I did on technology policy
>> once.
> So how come almost all software patent lawsuits are from small companies
> suing large companies?

Because when small companies are sued by big companies they know they are
going to lose anyway unless they have a /really/ good case (so on the
whole it's still the big companies that benefit)? And someone suggested
elsewhere on this list that big companies rarely sue each other because
they infringe patents all the time so avoid having a knockdown drag out
fight for no good reason? (In the same way that animals bare their teeth
and warn each other off before they start tearing bits out of each other).

Also, I would argue that the patent system benefits large companies on
the whole because they have the money to file patents on /every/ tiny idea
they come up with, whereas small companies have to be really sure they
have a good idea before they do so.

I don't know for sure because I haven't studied it personally, just learnt
it from someone else, so I'm happy to be corrected.

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