Opposition to Software Patents

Last updated February 13, 1994.

Articles discussing the threat posed by software patents have appeared in numerous newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

Pamela Samuelson, Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and Brian Kahin, Adjunct Research Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, are both speaking eloquently against the current patent office policy and practice of patenting software.

Surveys by organizations such as the Association for Computing Machinery show a strong opposition to software patents amongst its members. Many academic computer scientists are willing to speak out against software patents.

WordPerfect Corporation has expressed considerable concern regarding software patents. They currently receive an average of one letter a month alleging patent infringement and threatening legal action. This is probably not atypical for a large software corporation.

Mitch Kapor , the original founder of Lotus, recently attested before Congress as to the danger software patents pose.

Phillipe Kahn, president of Borland International, is known to share similar concerns.

"I'm kind of scared about the climate for the next 10 years" says Dan Bricklin, coinventor of VisiCalc, the world's first electronic spreadsheet.

Jim Warren, founder of InfoWorld, is likewise equally strongly opposed to the patenting of software related inventions.

Oracle Corporation recently issued a detailed statement opposing the granting of patents on software.

Autodesk also recently issued a statement against software patents.

Adobe called for software patents to be eliminated at recent hearings held in San Jose.