As a software developer, It is getting more and more tedious to simply write software. I am constantly asked can we do this or can we do that. It is impossible for me to answer the questions. Not because I do not have the skills required to do what is asked, but because our company does not have the monetary resources to "research" if a process has been patented already. This I believe is the main flaw with software patents that exist today. My topic for discussion is the scenario below: 1. I open my text editor and start a new blank text document. 2. over the span of several hours I write a piece of software to do X. 3. I wrote this software ONLY researching the abilities of the language I am writing in. let us say in this case PERL. 4. Through this process I unknowingly create a mechanism, process, or method that has been patented. My questions for discussion are below: 1. if the patent system is there to protect ideas, how can the system honestly say that the above scenario "stole" an idea? 2. how is it possible to steal something you did not know existed? 3. why should the patent system hinder software because a patent was issued that encompasses, not just the specific mechanism, but the entire concept of getting from point A to point B? 4. would it make more sense to issue software patents on a specific piece of code, in a specific language, on a specific platform, to obtain a specific goal, rather than patent the concept of potentially doing something? Thank you for your time.