This interview is part of a series following the Supreme Court's Bilski decision, which left the laws on what you can get a patent on largely as they are, after a four-justice minority failed to ban "business method" patents.
Moglen's critique of the patent system extends well beyond the software issues he writes about, however. He suggests, for instance, that the 20-year monopoly granted by a patent is the product of a bygone era. And though he rejects the notion that he is "anti-patent," he says that the patent monopoly grant should be subject to a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, not simply handed out at the "monopoly window" that he believes the current Patent and Trademark Office represents.
The Prior Art interviewed Moglen about his views on the Bilski decision, the future of software patents, and how patents affect innovation.
Q: What's your opinion of the Bilski decision?
The decision is one of those that clearly shows why it has come down on the last day of the term after being argued early. When you see a case like that come down, one of the things that occurs to you is that a majority has fallen apart. The justices agreed about less than they thought.