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Tuesday, February 25, 2003
The Patent Office - daily dose of stupidity

Slasdot is running this article. Interwoven has been granted
a patent covering version control systems. It covers things like versioning,
history, comparison, merging and more. How long have they had this system?
CVS has been around for at least a decade now. Why can a company wait
until some techonology becomes prevalent and then claim their patent rights?
Did this company truly invent versioning systems?

Where does this end? Using some type of versioning system to
manage changes to systems has been around for years. Version
control has been an important part of the defect management process
for decades. I don't understand why they grant a patent on a technology
"Because it's on the web". There is nothing substantially new or different here.
Apparently the USPO believes that concepts are patentable. It used to be
that only specific implementations of ideas could be patented, now you can
patent the idea itself. Our society cannot continue down this path. If every idea
and technology is patented, how can we expect any progress? If you can't improve
on an existing idea, how will we ever improve our technological understanding?

As a software developer, and having run my own company for years, I understand
the need to make money from your work. I even understand wanting to protect
your idea to a certain extent, but this type of patent is ludicrous. I seriously think
the Patent and CopyRight systems must be overhauled. They are being seriously
abused by these large corporations.

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