February 07, 2006

Of Software Patents

There is an interesting article by Tim Wu on software patents and the problems it can cause. It uses the recent debacle over wireless e-mail, where NTP, a virtually non-existent company who had applied for a patent in the US for 'wireless e-mail' in the 1990's sued RIM (Blackberry) for not paying royalties, to stress the problems that we could be facing due to software patents.

I would leave it for the experts to decide if software patenting should be abolished or not. But what I think we would need to make software patenting a reality instead of the confusion that it currently is, would be to make another software which would decide, if the new software which has been created is in any way similar to the one which has been patented or not. The software would be called 'The Supreme Courtware'. Google and Microsoft would fight with each other about who would make that software, but some small startup consisting of one South Indian from IIT Chennai, and many geeky Americans would get the project, and get a few trillion bucks to make it.

The project would be huge, and the ETA (Estimated Time Of Arrival) would be given as five years from the date the contract was signed. After a couple of years of working on it, the Indian would quit the company and get a couple to trillion US dollars with which he would come back to India and buy Infosys, who would then outsource the development and maintaining of 'The Supreme Courtware', and the geeky Americans would drink beer all day long.

After 10 years, the product would be ready, but by the time, somebody would have patented the idea of creating 'The Supreme Courtware' and the first case for 'The Supreme Courtware' would be to resolve the issue about patent for itself, during the execution of which it would crash and the issue would go back to the Supreme Court, which would abolish software patents once and for all.

Tagged Software Patents, Infosys, The Supreme Software