Last week I made some noise about how ridiculous Facebook’s US Patent 7,669,123 is, and asked you to make noise too. Now, Our friends at Apple are showing us a real-world here-and-now example of why software shouldn’t be patentable under most circumstances.

Let me be clear, once again: software isn’t “unique” unless it does something that can’t be done some other way. By definition, then, the only time software should therefore “infringe” is when it uses exactly the same code to do exactly the same thing as what the Patents and Trademarks people call “prior art”. Apple, in suing HTC (manufacturer of the Google Nexus One Smartphone), isn’t so much defending its work or intellectual property as an “idea”.

Palm will be next. Motorola (they make the Droid) will get sued too, as will anyone who uses the idea of pinch/spread to zoom/widen. Again . . . Apple’s patent on exactly how to implement “multi-touch” might be unique, but the idea isn’t. The idea can’t be patented. Software patents are ridiculous.

Software patents are a business change that benefits no one except the attorneys who get paid to sue or defend against suits. Don’t fall into this trap. Make your next business change a real change.
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