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August 1, 2005
The Difference Between Software and Drug Patents
Brookings Institute Scholar Ben Klemens has a nice little OpEd over on BI's site about patent reform and why there is an important difference between software patents and other kinds of patents:
However, the key distinction between a drug and a method for using a computer is that few of us own the equipment or have the desire to manufacture drugs. Meanwhile, computers are ubiquitous--and as a result, so is software authorship. If you are reading this at work, there is probably someone in your building writing software right now: perhaps in the form of a company web page, or a script to make the accounting database work better. Thus, a patent on a drug creates potential liability for those companies in the pharmaceutical business, while a software patent creates potential liability for any company with its own website or software customizations, regardless of its business.
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