Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Project No. P131203
Most Patent Enforcing Entities are focusing on the purchase of software patents, because software patents are allowed to be vague and can be applied to nearly everyone's business, since almost any profitable company uses computers and has a public website these days. *All* software patents that have been granted are trivial in design, and in general take a single person less than ten hours of work to implement. Patents like "Representing a graphic image on a web page with a thumbnail-sized image" (US6275829 B1)and "Method of Storing and Accessing Data in a Database System" (US20130226959 A1) are prime examples of how people are submitting to the PTO existing technology and trivial processes. Thousands of companies are already using these technologies, and the patents are applied for in order to flesh out the legal arsenal of companies. Software patents in general hamper innovation, because the most innovative software entities are the new ones who don't have sufficient capital to defend litigation on frivolous patents. I've been working in software development for 7 years, and I've never seen a software patent that was advanced enough to warrant government protection. 90% of frivolous patent litigation would be prevented by excluding software from patent protection. Patents are intended to protect a company's investment, but software development is cheap enough that it needs no protection. There is almost no physical cost associated with software development since a prospective developer can get started with $200 of equipment; all significant costs come from labor and training, and many innovations start out with a single founder who has no employees to pay. The only use for software patents is to crush innovators and bleed competition. Please follow New Zealand's lead and ban all software patents, existing and new. It would level the playing field so that companies without a legal arm or significant capital for legal representation have a chance to flourish.