I agree with what you said but I want to make it clear that I am talking about
software patents. I don't have problems with patents in general, as long is they follow the original guidelines (ie, they must be detailed and well written enough so that some one competent in the subject can understand and reproduce the invention
in question). Software is already established under copyright.
It's not alarmist at all by the way. I hope you realize that Microsoft themselves loses billions of dollars from what amounts to frivolous patent lawsuits. At one point they had to cripple IE for one of the patents. A patent if broad enough (and there is no
legal limit to what is considered "broad", only "obvious") it a lawsuit could be enough to ban the sales of Windows or any software, until it no longer violates the patent. Plus billions of dollars in fines can be issued. This is not being alarmist at all,
this is being realistic. All I am saying is how it is. I am not a moralist or an idealist. This is stuff that could directly affect me and probably anyone else who works with software.
I don't see how software patents differe from other patents here? Sure, they have their own complexity, but the essence - protecting innovators and allowing them to profit from their inventions - is the same. If anything, the ease of reverse-engineering
and copying is much greater with software, since a company wanting to steal a product and rerelease it doesn't even need manufacturing facilities like a hardware patent does. This isn't a matter of relying on government intervention instead of making a better
product, but a case where the market forces are skewed in favor of the late-comer and the plagiarist.