Over a decade has passed since US court decisions opened the way for wholesale patenting of software, including patents on finance and methods of doing business. What has been the effect of this on software innovators? My talk will look at the empirical evidence on how software startup firms use patents and on why firms now face a much greater risk of software patent lawsuits. Exploring the causes behind these trends, I discuss how recent court decisions and legislative proposals might affect the rapid growth in litigation.
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About the speaker:
James Bessen is a scholar on the economics of innovation and patents who has also been a successful innovator and CEO of a software company. In 1983, Bessen developed the first commercially successful “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” PC publishing program, founding a company that delivered PC-based publishing systems to high-end commercial publishers. Currently, Mr. Bessen is Lecturer in Law at the Boston University School of Law and Fellow at the Berkman Center on Internet and Society at Harvard. His research on patents has influenced policymakers and courts in the US, Europe and Australia. With Michael J. Meurer, he wrote Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk (Princeton 2008).