Jobs and skills
Reducing job security
When employees are working with patented ideas, companies can lay off staff without any fear that the layed off staff will start a competing company.
Companies can close their office in one country, open one in another country.
From the point of view of the ex-employee, they have skills that they're partially prohibited from making use of for finding a new job or starting their own company.
From the point of view of reducing unemployment, the country finds itself with many skilled people whose skills are unusable for 20 years.
This situation makes it clear that rather than being a form of "protection", software patents are a tool for exclusion. This argument is particular to software because with manufacturing, the layed off staff don't have a factory with which to compete anyway, so the existence of patents changes nothing in the case of jobs in the manufacturing industry.
Workers unions might see this as motivation to get active.
De-skilling experienced workers
When software developers work in companies that patent software ideas, if they move to another company, they face uncertainty about what skills they legally allowed to use without violating that their previous employer took out on their work.
Threat to existing union jobs, future small business jobs, job variety, costs of living, consumer leverage, quality of life freedoms, existing and future access to free software, and future potential gains from software
Student Discouragement and damage to nation's technological competitiveness
Needless to say that as more areas become off limit, many students will find it difficult to invest in any area knowing the job opportunities will be reduced with less competitive offers. Focusing on any specific area in graduate work will represent an even greater risk unless you are willing to read patents on a daily basis or wait 20 years to use your advanced skills. Workforce reduced opportunities (especially of the entrepreneurial type) from the lowered competition means getting a job becomes less about what you know and more about who you know. This effect is great for major patent holding companies wanting to maximize profits at our children's expense, but the discouragement does nothing positive for technological competitiveness of the nation.
Related pages on en.swpat.org
- Harm to education - which also deals with the problem of learned skills being unusable
- http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2010/06/mailing-out-patent-absurdity.html (See 8th comment, which starts "Funny coincidence. I was just thinking...")
This wiki is part of the End Software Patents (ESP) campaign (donate). For more information, see: