From: "Thursday" <nospam / nospam.nospam.nospam.nospam.org>
>
> I say again, most (not all) people who oppose patents that I've spoken 
> to cannot (or will not) list any major benefits of patents.  And most 
> (not all) people who favor patents that I've spoken to cannot (or will 
> not) list any major negatives of patents.  In my opinion, the former is 
> driven by laziness in thinking and the latter is driven by greed/fear. 
> Both are frustrating to communicate with, but sometimes they can be 
> cured by education.

Careful; by condemning most of those who disagree with you as
lazy or greedy, you yourself may be frustrating to communicate
with. <grin>

You do seem to have proposed an interesting barrier for entry
in the discussion.  While you argue from some Omniscient middle
ground straddling both sides of the argument, you've required
anyone choosing to take a side to play devil's advocate
against their position, or else be labeled lazy, greedy, or
uneducated.

As I attempted to get across in,
http://ruby-talk.org/cgi-bin/scat.rb/ruby/ruby-talk/122297
I believe that software patents:

  - are concerned with the ownership of ideas

  - are predicated on a notion of non-obviousness of
    ideas, which i believe to be generally fallacious
    in software development

I believe, in software development, that ideas are easy,
compared to implementations which are hard.

So, saying that one can own an idea and thus lay claim
to all possible implementations of that idea, is a concept
that I believe is fundamentally flawed.

When you say things like:

> Bad patents, ones that should not have been issued, have virtually no 
> chance of winning in court.  Their only worth is to anti-patent 
> activists to showcase as examples but in court, they'd become 
> invalidated if challenged.

Really?  Ever tried it?  

And what's an example of a *good* patent?  JPEG?
I sincerely doubt the people at Compression Labs in 1986
were the first to ever consider the implications of
discrete cosine transform in image compression.  What if
you had thought of it independently?  Do you have the
resources of, "Japanese consumer electronics giants JVC,
Matsushita (Panasonic) and Ricoh; camera companies
Fuji Photo Film, Agfa, Eastman Kodak; PC makers IBM, Dell,
Apple, HP, Toshiba and Gateway; Xerox and Palm; and software
companies including Adobe, Macromedia, and JASC" who are
all being sued and who have staffs of lawyers trying to
fight the suit?

Even relativity theory was being developed by multiple
people independently.  (Lorentz and Einstein, cf.
http://home.comcast.net/~xtxinc/AEIPBook.htm )


Patenting software can sound plausible in some contexts,
but I assert it is based on fundamentally flawed notions
of the role of ideas in software development.


Regards,

Bill