7 Patent Reforms The White House Should Have Proposed

Simon Phipps | InfoWorld | June 7, 2013

The president's follow-up to his frank condemnation of patent trolls is welcome, but we need more

This week saw a welcome announcement from the White House following up on earlier comments by President Barack Obama during an online video chat back in February where he condemned patent trolls. Based on a report prepared by the President's Council of Economic Advisers, the National Economic Council, and the Office of Science & Technology Policy, the White House is advocating a set of reforms intended to address the scourge of patent trolls -- companies that, in the president's words, "don't actually produce anything themselves," but instead develop a business model "to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else's idea and see if they can extort some money out of them."

Software patents represent a profound imbalance in the Constitutional social contract that justifies the granting of temporary monopolies -- they convey almost no know-how to programmers while chilling the freedom of software developers to innovate. The current patent system grants these temporary monopolies for far too long. They promote greedy and anticompetitive behavior that blocks innovation and impedes the evolution of the 21st century's participative software industry.