If you have been working in the startup industry, then you may already be well aware of what venture capitalist Brad Feld calls "a massive tax on and retardant of innovation" - software patent litigation.

In his blog post this morning, Feld points to the circular court battles of companies like Apple, Nokia and HTC and the "ridiculous nature of software patents" as reason enough for all members of the startup community to take an interest in this topic.

"This explosion of litigation based on the patenting of software," Feld writes, "cannot be brushed-off as large corporations doing what they do, as almost every start-up software company is at some point being shaken down by software patent holders. "

Feld says that, to this end, he is promoting the film Patent Absurdity, which looks at "how software patents broke the system" through interviews with members of the software community. The film is framed within a discussion of the Bilski case, a pending Supreme Court case that hinges on the idea of whether or not business methods are patent-eligible subject matter.

From the film's website:

Patent Absurdity explores the case of software patents and the history of judicial activism that led to their rise, and the harm being done to software developers and the wider economy. The film is based on a series of interviews conducted during the Supreme Court's review of in re Bilski -- a case that could have profound implications for the patenting of software. The Court's decision is due soon...

The film argues that "we are all members of the software industry, because we use software every day" and that, while other industries also face problems in the realm of patents, "software is different in that there are also many small businesses, software projects without a direct commercial motivation, and even individual hobbyists."

The film is available for viewing on PatentAbsurdity.com, as well as available for download, and can be shared under the Creative Commons license. If you want to spread the word, Feld says that his friends at the End Software Patents campaign are making a list of people they feel should be made aware of issues with software patenting and are taking suggestions.