Patenting unique ideas for exclusive licensed use is an abomination to the software culture I was raised in. Good ideas should be shared, enhanced, amplified and refined. The *expression* of those ideas should certainly be copyrightable, to preserve, for a limited time, the rights of workers to protect their hard work from cut-and-paste. But, if I come up with a clever idea, say, of letting a customer order from my web site with a single click, well, that might be my competitive advantage for the week or month or year until my competitors can figure out how to duplicate my work, by which time I better have come up with a whole lot more clever refinements. That’s the nature of competition.
Also, I don’t believe that the patenting process fits well with the intellectual, rather than concrete physical, nature of the process.
Finally, if a patent is to be used, as is the rule within the mechanical community, the innovation must be shown to be sufficiently unique, and not just a clever extension of previous work. I don’t think we yet have the cataloguing, nor the examiners the in-depth knowledge, to make that determination.
From Slashdot: pdajames writes “An article at ZDNet UK says that the EU bureaucrats aren’t even considering the numerous anti-software patenting opinions out there. According to a well-connected lobbyist group, they have determined there will be patents, and the only question is what kind.”