The current U.S. patent system is something that just about everyone loves to hate, particularly if they have anything to do with software. Now, there is hope, as well as some trepidation, that significant reforms will take place. Hope, because there is a bill in Congress to take such action, and trepidation over whether Congress will get it right.
An article by Randall Stross in the Sunday Business Section of the New York Times today called Why Bill Gates Wants 3,000 Patents put me in mind of the classic John Lennon song, "Imagine", one verse of which reads as follows:
Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
Unlike a world with no possessions, though, a world with no software patents isn't really that hard to imagine -- especially by those of us that can remember what it was like when there were no software patents, or those that live in Europe today, where software patents are not accepted, as reaffirmed by a recent vote by the European Parliament, despite a protracted effort by the software industry to drop this restriction.