5 thoughts on “Software Is Special

  1. Nice column, but… You wrote, “a 3 million component machine is unimaginable”. Not only is such a machine quite imaginable, you’ve probably flown on one. As noted in Wikipedia a Boeing 747 has six million parts of which three million are fasteners, leaving three million presumably non-trivial components. Admittedly not all of those are moving parts, but you didn’t specify that.

  2. haven’t read your article yet, but I must say how is software special?
    its not different than a painting or a novel or that Hollywood movie; we are not putting patents on those are we? then why the crap does software have patent?
    nope software is not special at all, its only patentable for the purpose of $$$.

  3. Frank: Fair point. I didn’t research that statistic carefully enough.

    haven’t read your article yet, but I must say how is software special?

    Er, if you read the article, you might find out what I think?

  4. Gerv – I’ve been looking for some time on a concise article that I can pass on to people about the problems with Software Patents. I thank you very much for providing that article to me :). I’ll pass it onto as many people as I can!

    Thanks again,


  5. “In Europe, history has shown that people will innovate in the software space without the artificial stimulus of monopoly. And introducing unnecessary monopolies distorts markets.

    Uniquely high complexity; uniquely easy copyability; uniquely low barriers to entry. These are just three ways in which software is special. Patents would hinder, not help, the software industry. I hope that in the Gowers review, common sense will prevail.”

    History has shown the same thing in the US too of course and the economic evidence suggests that software patents have probably already hindered ‘the’ industry and certainly haven’t helped it. As far as the Gowers Review and software patents are concerned, I certainly hope that rationality will prevail and that it will (at least) result in a much needed shake-up of DTI and UKPO behaviour and policy. Quite apart from the skulduggerry and dishonesty, European and UK patent system policy* has been and still is being made as perhaps science education policy would be if it were run by the Discovery Institute and it seems to me that the Gowers team has something of an Augean stable on its hands.

    * http://www.researchineurope.org/policy/patentdirltr.htm