On patents ?

Via Julie’s blog, I stumbled upon some recent stats for last year’s US patents:

 

1st

IBM

3148

2nd

Samsung

2725

3rd

Canon

1987

4th

Matsushita

1941

5th

Intel

1865

6th

Microsoft

1637

 

Most of these companies, such as IBM make semi conductors and devices. Microsoft does make devices such as the XBox and Zune, but it is not a semi conductor manufacturer.  How many of those patents are for software ? And what are those patents ?

Some of you may recall that Microsoft patented the IsNot operator in VB.  One really has to question the benefit of doing that, as well as the originality of that work.   I’ve often heard from lead architects at Microsoft that nothing is new in programming languages, it’s just recycled.   Yet the list of patents continues.  How much of Microsoft’s .NET would exist today if things such as GC were patented, or object constructors, or lambda functions ?

With over 1.2 million patents pending out there, isn’t it time this silliness was stopped ?

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