Design Patters are Patented?!

I was looking at the PHP5 (no this is not about PHP) Reflection API and came across a post talking about the “Dynamic Proxy” design pattern. As I didn’t know what it was about I did a quick search and found that the design pattern had a US Patent on it! I was disgusted and appalled that design patterns could be patented. This is like putting a patent on a certain English sentence grammar.

Obviously the guys at the US Patent office don’t understand what they are allowing to happen. Imagine if 90% of all programming was patented, which can be done fairly easily, it would completely retard innovation and an sort of progress. Fortunately is this impossible to enforce in closed source code software but Open Source [OS] is another story. This could be the biggest legal threat to OS so far. Large companies who have the budget, could have teams that sift thought their OS competition looking for patent infringements and shutting them down. An ugly thought which would gain them only hatred from the developer community. Lets hope that’s enough of a disincentive…

19 thoughts on “Design Patters are Patented?!”

  1. The patent on Basmati rice was outrageous and furthers my argument that the very idea behind patents is a step backwards for humanity in general. It makes the intellectual world, the world of ideas and information up for grabs so suddenly every concept can have a fence put around it to keep out those that can not pay. How does that benifit the world at large? As is the case here with the Basmati rice patent. I would encourage all governments, like the Chinese, to ignore the US Patent Office and the US laws around it. Freedom of information only ever did any society good.

    I don’t see how the “The Cochabamba Water Wars” relates to the topic of ‘patents’ however?

  2. thing is — patents were first granted by the ruler of Genoa in order that good inventions would eventually benefit society. (IIRC it was something to do with loading/unloading ships).
    All it was supposed to achieve was to give the inventor a head start so that it would be worth his while to develop the idea. Which is why they were time limited: it was eventually in the public domain.
    The modern interpretation of IP is getting silly. Government licenced and enforced momopolies. Kinda back door communism.
    We all stand on the shoulders of giants.

  3. Yes,

    I can see the argument but I don’t think patents should last for more than 5 years. That should give inventors plenty of time to get a head start on the competition. But even this would seem to circumvent benefit to the public, holding the best/cheapest producers back from the public.

    I guess its a different question again when you look at culture and art. Again, I don’t see an benefit to copyright there given that modern culture is as much to do with sampling and remixing as pure composition and performance. The famous “Amen Break” is a good example of this

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