Communication Ethics book part for Software and Software Patents. (This is an automatically generated summary to avoid having huge posts on this page. Click through to read this post.)
in Communication Ethics
In general, I think the idea of patents are at least OK. I think the United States Patent Office literally needs help; they are horribly undermanned and can't possibly do a competent job under the present levels of applications and manpower. The system we have may not be perfect, but patents have been a generally good thing for innovation, as long as the patent period doesn't grow too long. For instance, in the traditional domain of patents (strictly physical machines) they seem to be a net gain. This doesn't mean the system is perfect or that I would defend all uses of patents, but it does mean that by and large, it is good in many industries.
But I'm totally against software patents. You might think that's a contradiction, especially if you are not intimately familiar with computer science. In order to show you why that's not the case, we need to come to a better understanding of what "software" is.