South African Government has always maintained that there are no software patents in SA, so developers of software, like myself, have never much worried about registering my software innovations at the patent office and rely on simple copyright.
Which places the SA Government far ahead in the intellectual property game in terms of though leadership.
We need to examine where patents came from: Society accepted that patents were required to protect the costs of innovation and production. To procure investment for development and to ensure returns for investors and in order for products to be profitably supplied or to be supplied at all in mass production during the industrial age. So, PATENTS PROTECTED PRODUCTS.
It is now the Information age: In the new lazy, media, software economy, THE PATENT HAS BECOME THE PRODUCT. The idea of developing technology and generating tax revenue for government and developing society, employing people and building an economy, has just gone out the window. patents were never intended to make the holder a billionaire, but simply to benefit the holder economically as well as being of benefit to all society.
Yet, sentiment around patents and copyrights has been replaced by a pure, evil, greedy ultimate exploitational Capitalist view that ‘n patent is an unassailable right that is traded, sold and in fact a product in itself. In fact even copyright is an old concept that is too much in favour of the producers of content as it allows for unheard of exploitation of consumers, with some movies making million percent profit margins. Reproduction and distribution costs have become miniscule due to technological innovation but the movie studios still want to earn massive margins, of course they would, why not, who is to stop them?
Society knows that both copyright and patent laws have to change as they are unfair and the effect of current patent and copyright legislation serves to stifle new technology, new entrants, market development, diversity and ultimately leads to a single world company.
They have to be adapted to fit the information age. Copyrights of fifty years or longer, are just not fair any longer and patent protection, if they are to survive at all, needs to be shortened dramatically. patents needs to be awarded on the basis that it improves society as much as it serves to enrich the holders thereof.