Inventing Software: The Rise of Computer-Related Patents by Kenneth Nichols

By Kenneth Nichols

Since the creation of private pcs, software program has emerged as a driver within the international financial system and a huge in its personal correct. in this time, the U.S. govt has reversed its past coverage opposed to software program patents and is now issuing hundreds of thousands of such patents every year, scary heated controversy between programmers, attorneys, students, and software program businesses. This ebook is the 1st to step open air of the highly-polarized debate and consider the present kingdom of the legislations, its suitability to the realities of software program improvement, and its implications for daily software program development.

Written via a former legal professional and dealing software program developer, Inventing Software offers a accomplished evaluation of software program patents, from the lofty views of criminal historical past and computing concept to the technical information and problems with real patents. humans drawn to the felony point of software program patents will locate specific technical research of exact patented software program, the criminal options in the back of the wording of the patents, and an research of the convenience or hassle of detecting infringements. software program builders will locate how one can combine patent making plans into their general software program engineering practices, and a pragmatic advisor for learning and appraising their rivals' patents and safeguarding the price in their personal. meant essentially for programmers and software program executives and bosses, Inventing Software can be worthy, illuminating studying for legal professionals and software program corporation investors.

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Distributed Computing Self-modifying programs are problematic, but the presence of inherent unpredictability in software operation is potentially a more serious limitation on clearly defining the algorithm in discussing software patents. Such unpredictability is characteristic of distributed software, whose execution is divided among many computers. This is of concern to software patents because of the following: • execution order—Because each computer runs independently of the others, cution order is not fixed.

Once built, these tools affect how we think about problems, for we naturally structure our solutions tofitthe tools that we know and have. The set of possible inventions is constrained by the tools, models, and paradigms that we know we can use to implement them. Even more to the point, I suspect that in many cases the process is reversed; the presence of a patentable invention is recognized only after a working prototype has been built. Imperative Mode Many of the best-known languages use the imperative paradigm, in which the programmer specifies the operation of the program with a series of statements that are executed sequentially with the proviso that statements may be skipped or repeated through the use of flow-control statements such as if, repeat, and goto.

Chemical and biological processes, which may be continuous and possess a random element (Stobbs 1995), nonetheless proceed in a predictable manner to transform input into 34 Inventing Software output. Each type of invention can be captured accurately by a description of the steps it involves. The decomposition of software into steps, as shall be shown, is adequate to describe some or even most software, but falls short in providing a means to capture the essence of programming styles that rely on less atomistic modes of thinking.

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