Software Patent Term Limit Proposal

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(Already posted to MIT/Harvard joint bulletin board)

Here's an idea: Why not limit the term on software patents to twenty
years "internet time" (i.e. two years real time) instead of twenty
years real time?

While this does not solve the problem of what deserves a patent, I
think it does address the issue of how to reward innovation without
stifling the industry.

Because the software industry moves in "internet time" and the flux of
money in the industry is high, the shorter reward period would seem

Any thoughts?

-- Marissa Martin, October 26, 1999