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1 definition found
 for software patent
From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018) :

  software patent
  
      A patent intended to prevent others from using some
     programming technique.
  
     There have been several infamous patents for software
     techniques which most experienced programmers would consider
     fundamental or trivial, such as the idea of using
     exclusive-or to plot a cursor on a bitmap display.  The
     spread of software patents could stifle innovation and make
     programming much harder because programmers would have to
     worry about patents when designing or choosing algorithms.
  
     There are over ten thousand software patents in the US, and
     several thousand more are issued each year.  Each one may be
     owned by, or could be bought by, a grasping company whose
     lawyers carefully plan to attack people at their most
     vulnerable moments.  Of course, they couch the threat as a
     "reasonable offer" to save you miserable years in court.
     "Divide and conquer" is the watchword: pursue one group at a
     time, while advising the rest of us to relax because we are in
     no danger today.
  
     Compuserve developed the GIF format for graphical images
     many years ago, not knowing about Unisys's 1985 patent
     covering the LZW data compression algorithm used in GIF.
     GIF was subsequently adopted widely on the Internet.  In
     1994 Unisys threatened to sue Compuserve, forcing them to
     impose a sublicensing agreement for GIF on their users.
     Compuserve users can accept this agreement now, or face Unisys
     later on their own.  The rest of us don't have a choice -- we
     get to face Unisys when they decide it's our turn.  So much
     trouble from just one software patent.
  
     Patents in the UK can't describe algorithms or mathematical
     methods.
  
     See also LPF, software law.
  
     patent search
     http://sunsite.unc.edu/patents/intropat.html)">(http://sunsite.unc.edu/patents/intropat.html).
  
     (1995-01-06)
  

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