Tim Bray has an interesting war story, on software patents and text searching, at http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2004/08/05/LinuxPatents
Excellent post. Clearly Microsoft has decided to get in the patent game with a full scale assault, and it is evident in many of the posts by Microsofters on their blogs.
I guess the answer is that when developing software one really can't afford to worry about it. If he comes up with something worth selling and soemone takes the time to decompile the code and find patent violations, payoffs are acoming. Few patent holders would be looking to drive someone out of business or even to challenge the patent in court.
name withheld out of cowardice
The other thing that's pretty nasty about software patents is that if you knowingly violate a patent you get socked with triple damages. Considering that every possible software invention has been patented at least four times, this means that developers are actively discouraged from researching existing patents, because if they accidentally use the patented thingamabob later, SMACK!
Which all goes to show that it's time we stopped letting lawyers make decisions in the technology industries. They don't have a clue.
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