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Software Patents vs. RMS

>From: rms@gnu.org (Richard Stallman)
>Newsgroups: netuse.lists.linux-kernel
>Subject: Re: Article: IBM wants to "clean up the license" of Linux
>Date: 24 Dec 1998 05:48:44 +0100
>Message-ID: <199812240115.SAA28712@wijiji.santafe.edu>

    Does IBM
    deserve a patent that a high-schooler can reinvent?

The US Constitution and the US legal system have an interesting view
of the question--and it isn't what most people think it is.  Their
view is that patents don't exist for the sake of patent owners.  The
official reason for patents in the US is "to promote progress."

So it isn't even relevant to ask, "Does IBM deserve a patent."
Instead, the question is, "Did giving IBM that patent promote
progress?"  If high-school students are going to find the same
"invention" on their own, the answer is probably no.

But one can say more than that.  There is no sign that progress in
software is any faster today than it was in 1980, before there were
patents in the field of software.  This suggests that software patents
in general fail to promote progress, and that patents should be
eliminated from the software field.