Software Patents and Language Design


By Chris Douce

Admittedly this isn't directly a psychology issue (or strictly a software engineering issue either) but it is one that may interest the language designers amongst us.

Can a notation or elements of a programming language be patented? I found it interesting (and also somewhat bewildering) to discover that patents were being filed against very particular aspects of language design - notably a mechanism to check a data type.

References to this topic are presented below:

The following patent is used in the Wikipedia article as an example:

The following patent text seems just as bewildering:


Many thanks go to all reviewers of this edition of the newsletter. Thanks, of course, is also extended to all contributors. Keep up the good work!

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