A Technical Critique of Fifty Software Patents
There has been a great deal of discussion on the desirability of software patents in the legal, economic, and technical academic literature. Case law is the basis of most of the legal literature on the topic. Typically, the basis of the economic literature on patents is the statistical analysis of large numbers of patents. The technical literature frequently hostile to patents often is based on an examination of a small number of pathologically bad patents The authors seek to overcome the inherent limitations of each category of article. The approach taken was to conduct a detailed, technical examination of the fifty most cited software patents. The authors' inquiries focusing on what insights technical specialists could provide lawyers, economists, and technologists. Geared at the policy dimensions of the current patent system, the analysis provides useful commentary on the questions frequently discussed in the software-patent literature.