I read an interesting article on Slashdot today where a patent was awarded for the common data structure of “Linked Lists”. If you are wondering what linked lists are then don’t worry to much about it. Since explaining them would take far longer than you care to read, you can simply view them as a way for programmers to organize data while making applications. That would be the best way to view the concept.
Anyway, back to the point. Ming-Jen Wang of LSI Logic Corporation has filed for and been awarded a patent for linked lists. Now I do not claim to be an expert in the field of software patents. Especially when it comes down to how software is constructed, but something as common as a linked list is akin to patenting the paragraph. It does not make sense that he would win the award, and it makes less sense considering this form of programming has been around for quite some time. There is significant proof of prior art in regards to practices like linked lists or any other data structure. I have several programs from a Computer Science course I did in 2003 as examples.
Why are we even entertaining the idea of software patents? Eventually everything would be patented and it would cost to much to write an application than it would worth.