My Mises Blog post A Patent Lie from a couple years ago was about a good op-ed (printable version) in the N.Y. Times from Cato’s Timothy Lee, highlighting the damage wrought by software patents. The take-away:
as the Vonage case demonstrates, participating in the patent system is not optional. Independent invention is not a defense to patent infringement, and large software companies now hold so many patents that it is almost impossible to create useful software without infringing some of them. Therefore, the only means of self-defense is the one Mr. Gates identified 16 years ago: stockpile patents to use as bargaining chips in litigation. Vonage didn’t do that, and it’s now paying a very high price. … Only patent lawyers benefit from this kind of arms race.