Greg Aharonian is the patent community’s angry middle-aged man. Every few days, he publishes the Internet Patent News Service. This free e-mail bulletin is the vehicle for Aharonian’s anger. “I’m the righteous bastard of the patent world,” the 40-year-old San Francisco resident says.

Why is Aharonian so angry? Software patents. Software patents are one of the fault lines in intellectual property. You either love them or hate them. Or, in the case of Microsoft Corporation and numerous other companies, you once ignored them, and now you embrace them. Microsoft found religion in 1994, when it lost a $120 million jury verdict to Stac Software, Inc., over a software patent.