Against Software Patents

February 28, 1991
The League for Programming Freedom

Software patents threaten to devastate America's computer industry. Patents granted in the past decade are now being used to attackcompanies such as the Lotus Development Corporation for selling programs that they have independently developed. Soon new companies will often be barred from the software arena--most major programs will require licenses for dozens of patents, and this will make them infeasible. This problem has only one solution: software patents must be eliminated.

Table of Contents:

  1. The Patent System and Computer Programs
  2. Absurd Patents
  3. What Is "Obvious"?
  4. Patenting What Is Too Obvious to Publish
  5. Why Software Is Different
  6. The Danger of a Lawsuit
  7. Patent Searches Are Prohibitively Expensive
  8. Patent Searches Are Unreliable
  9. Obscure Patents
  10. Patent Licensing Has Problems, Too
  11. The Fundamental Question
  12. In Software, Independent Reinvention Is Commonplace
  13. Overemphasis of Inventions
  14. Impeding Innovation
  15. Could Patents Ever Be Beneficial?
  16. Software Patents Are Legally Questionable
  17. One Way to Eliminate Software Patents
  18. What You Can Do
  19. Fighting Patents One by One
  20. Conclusion

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