Martin Fink

Summary:The most provocative comments at LinuxWorld this week were those of Martin Fink,vice president of Linux for Hewlett-Packard.Here is the short version.

The most provocative comments at LinuxWorld this week were those of Martin Fink,vice president of Linux for Hewlett-Packard.>

Here is the short version. Don't like software patents? Tough.

Well, I don't like software patents. They are, in fact, protections of mathematical expression. They're hows. Real inventions are whats. They should be no more subject to patent protection than the words you're reading now. It's like patenting 1+1=2 and expecting every adding machine maker to pay you.

There was no law that made software patents legal. They were made legal by a series of court decisions. The most important of these was The State Street Decision, a 1998 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals which also validated idiotic business patents, like Amazon's One-Click nonsense.

State Street, you will note, wasn't even a Supreme Court decision.

So excuse me, Mr. Fink, with feeling that this case was wrongly decided, and seeking -- through every means at my disposal -- to have it overturned.

It's true, as you say, that not to avail myself of protections I don't like is a form of business malpractice.

But that doesn't make it right.

That's what I think anyway. Let us know what you think in TalkBack.

Topics: Patents

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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