As reported some time ago, NZ government announced that it will be no longer possible to apply any kind of software patent.
I believe that software patents are not direct source of income for any software company, but it certainly paints picture how innovative company is. It’s natural that company wants to protect its know how, but I can imagine that protecting general algorithms can be very tricky. And explain it to open-source lobby, whose members does their jobs not for the money, but solely for pure passion ;)
I am not sure if there is any worldwide list available, but from U.S. patent list it is clear, that this list is not filled with pure software development companies (maybe except Microsoft). There is not even Apple or Google listed in, which is somehow strange.
This kind of lists might be interesting, but I was rather interested how certain patent is defined.
I wonder if every software company respects current Google(formerly @Last Software) patent for Push/Pull technology. Almost every 3D modeling software out there uses almost same principle to create 3D solids from 2D shape. I will not act smart that I was studying whole 177 pages patent definition. But those pictures can be applied to most of 3D modeling applications..
Actually Apple applies to patent 3D User Interface for navigating in 3D virtual spaces and manipulating 3D objects in these virtual spaces. Another Apple’s patent details a display that can automatically adjust the point of view and angle of 3D objects or 2D objects arranged in a 3D space. It would use a sensor built into the monitor to know when you moved your head and alter the position of the objet to reflect that motion.
I guess there is certain form and template required by U.S. patent office, since I can imagine Apple or Google producing much more creative and accurate documentation.
We have seen lot of patent feuds in past, from various DWG fights to almost funny Microsoft issues with XML or protected fonts when launching Office. Quite unaware from company that holds patent for Page Up / Page Down page navigation :)