John Carmack and Software Patents

I have long been opposed to the way many software and business process patents are granted and enforced. While my gut instinct says the only solution is to abolish the patent system, as a developer I can’t quite agree that there should be no protection for innovative ideas other than trade secrets and copyright. However there is clearly a problem with the system and something needs to be done to fix it. This quote from John Carmack, hero of game programmers everywhere, sums up the problem better than most:

The idea that I can be presented with a problem, set out to logically solve it with the tools at hand, and wind up with a program that could not be legally used because someone else followed the same logical steps some years ago and filed for a patent on it is horrifying. – John Carmack

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