January 22, 2013

New York Chapter Debates Software Patents

By: rlorenc

On January 17, 2013, at Hack Manhattan, America’s Future Foundation – New York City was proud to present a discussion regarding software patents.

The question was whether patents for software fulfill the mandate of Article 1, Sec. 8, Cl. 8 of the U.S. Constitution:

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Recent headlines have made commentators question whether patents are now used to create progress or to prevent it. AFF-New York City put together an eclectic roundtable discussion including journalists, a professor, and practicing attorneys who heatedly debated whether or not our patent system succeeded. The panel was comprised of Reihan Salam (writer for National Review), Alan Tenembaum (partner at Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt, LLP), Christina Mulligan (professor at Yale), Christopher Mims (writer for Quartz), Gregory Maskel (associate attorney at Quinn Emanuel), and Nilay Patel (editor for The Verge). The roundtable was moderated by Chris Gaun, a senior analyst at Gartner.

Following the debate, the audience, made up of notable personalities from the New York City startup scene (companies represented included StackExchange, OKCupid, SeatGeek, and more) as well as individuals from the legal world (including the United States Patent and Trademark Office) and other interested persons. Members of the audience of 70 people were able to discuss the issues with the panelists both at the cocktail hour before the debate as well as afterward. Those unable to attend were able to watch the debate remotely and were able to participate on twitter using the hashtag #AFFpatents.

Please continue to visit americasfuture.org for more information on upcoming events in New York City. In the coming months we look forward to hosting discussions on topics including private equity, school choice, and more. Contact Ashok Chandra for more information about the New York City Chapter.

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