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Software Patents

Some argue that the patent system is at odds with the nature of software development. Present computer programs contain thousands of algorithms and techniques; each could be considered patentable, and some are patented.

Apple vs. Microsoft


For example, Apple Computer was sued because its HyperCard program was alleged to violate patent number 4,736,308. In simplified terms, that patent protects a product that lets the user scroll through a database displaying selected parts of each line of text.
Separately, scrolling and display functions are ubiquitous parts of graphical programming, but combining them led Apple to allegedly infringe upon patent number 4,736,308.
Apple, in turn, sued Microsoft for allegedly infringing on the look and feel of what it claims is its invention of graphical rendering of information on a computer display.