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Software Patents

Study Shows Patent Trolls Cost Innovators $500 Billion, Are a Bunch of Jerks

We all know patent trolls waste everyone's time and money, leech off the productive and innovative, and are generally annoying. If you're into the independent software development scene at all, you probably support a few developers that have been trolled. It's expensive and wasteful and we all know it -- well, we all have anecdotal evidence to support that claim anyway, but now, thanks to researchers at Boston University, we now have a study we can point to and that study shows innovators have lost $500 billon to patent trolls since 1990.

Authors James Bessen, Mike Meurer, and Jennifer Ford estimated the losses by checking the drop in a company's stock valuation shortly after a lawsuit had been filed against it, and did this for a whopping 1,630 lawsuits. The average loss per defendant was $122 million. At this point, a patent troll might argue that this loss is intended to make its way to the innovators who were "wronged" in the first place, but the study pretty clearly shows that that isn't the case.

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Geekolinks: 7/15

New Zealand Kills Software Patents

The past few months have been a rocky time for patent law in New Zealand. Its millions of citizens and many more millions of sheep have been on the edges of their seats and pastures waiting to see what the NZ government ultimately decides regarding whether software can be patented. Well, the decision has just come in: Software is unpatentable. At least for now.

Some background on why we can't be sure this won't change many more times: Back in March, there was an official announcement made by the NZ government that they felt software was outside the boundaries of patent law. And software programmers rejoiced in their abundance of wool products. But then, in June, it appeared that they had changed their minds after the work of some powerful pro-patent lobbyists. And with all the headlines that came out then compared to the ones coming out now, it makes you wonder how many times the phrase "after all" can apply to a single issue.

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