When application developers are intimidated into paying off software-patent "trolls," they are unwillingly complicit in a racket that's equivalent to "organized crime, plain and simple," Application Developers Alliance Chairman of the Board Joel Spolsky writes. That's why efforts by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Stack Exchange and the Alliance to band together to reform the patent system are vital to the industry's future, Spolsky writes. For starters, a series of Alliance-hosted Developer Patent Summits kicks off April 9 in San Francisco.

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