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-Through my eyes-

09 August 2005

Insightful Software Patent Argument

No. Issuing patents on software is fundamentally broken. Software is not an invention. Computers cannot implement inventions. The only thing a computer can implement is calculations. Calculations, math, are not inventions.

The US screwed up and went against globally accepted patent stanards and reversed it's on accepted patent standards when it began issuing software patents.

Specifically the US abandoned the "Mental Steps Doctrine". The Mental Steps Doctrine said that mental processes are not - cannot be - inventions. And that anything that can be done mentally is not - cannot be - an invention.

It may be slow, but absolutely any code can be executed mentally. I am a programmer, executing code mentally is a routine part of writing and debugging code. All software is fundamentally mental steps - mental processes.

Physical objects and physical processes can be inventions. Mental processes and calculations are not inventions.

Answer me this:
If I choose some convient/simple software patent, and I then proceed to in fact execute that software through pure thought, have I committed patent violation? Were my thoughts a violation of the law?

And if not, then please explain how it magically become an invention and a violation when I take the obvious and non-novel step of using an ordinary computer merely to speed up that exact same non-invention calculation?

I really really want you to answer that. It's funny, every time I ask that of a software patent advocate they completely ignore the question. They can't rationaly answer it, so they pretend the question was never asked. So I will state right now that if you reply in support of software patents, yet completely ignore the previous two paragraphs, I will just repeat the question. Can thoughts executing the software violate the law? And if not then how does the obvious use of a computer merely to speed things up turn a non-invention into an invention?

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