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…