A rant against bad patents
'Looking at patent US5379129 itself, I see that it contains no new intellectual content. Usually, when I see a claim that Company X has patented Obvious Technique Y, I'm skeptical. Whether you agree with the patent system or not, in many cases the actual patent contains claims that show that Company X has at least used Obvious Technique Y in a new context, or figured out an implementation trick.'
'Here, however, the patent really is as dumb as it looks at first glance.'
I'm on a Yahoo group dedicated to discussions of the Web and the law. There's this one lawyer on there who has apparently written a program or two (though I'd bet almost anything we're talking a script or two), and thinks that he has enough expertise therefore to declare that all software patents, with perhaps only a few rare exceptions, are valid.
Personally, I notice a distinct correlation between development work done in life and anti-patent attitudes. I don't think you get that anywhere else. It's not business entities fighting against patents, it's the software developers. Pharmaceutical industry physicians like patents. (I like them in that case too.)
What's different about software? (Hint: Check the linkage.)