The system by which patent "trolls" force payments out of developers is a lot like extortion, writes Application Developers Alliance President Jon Potter. "App developers and entrepreneurs, the very people whom the patent system should protect, now consider software patents as inhibiting -- rather than promoting -- innovation," Potter notes. The Patent and Trademark Office should insist upon "plain language" applications for software patents, with specific information on how to build the technology. Otherwise, they're allowing patent-holding companies to patent ideas -- not real inventions.

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