Home Messages Index
[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index

[News] Software Patents Seen as Totally Impractical, Studies Agree

Hash: SHA1

The Case against Literary (and Software) Patents

,----[ Quote ]
| Imagine the outcry if the courts were to legalize patents on English prose. 
| Suddenly, you could get a "literary patent" on novels employing a particular 
| kind of plot twist, on news stories using a particular interview technique, 
| or on legal briefs using a particular style of argumentation. Publishing 
| books, papers, or articles would expose authors to potential liability for 
| patent infringement. To protect themselves, writers would be forced to send 
| their work to a patent lawyer before publication and to re-write passages 
| found to be infringing a literary patent.       
| [...]
| The patent at issue in Bilski is not a software patent; it is a "business 
| method" patent that claims a strategy for hedging against financial risk. But 
| the case is being closely watched for its effects on the software patent 
| issue. Patented business methods are often implemented in software; for 
| example, a key decision on the patentability of software, State Street Bank 
| v. Signature Financial Group, involved a software-implemented business 
| method. And the standard articulated by the Federal Circuit in Bilski, known 
| as the "machine-or-transformation test" has been used by the Patent Office in 
| recent months to invalidate several software patents. The Supreme Court could 
| ratify the Federal Circuit's mildly restrictive standard, or it could 
| articulate its own standard that is either more or less restrictive of 
| patents on software.           
| Reiterating that software cannot be patented would be a dramatic step, but it 
| would be the right one. Supporters of software patents insist that barring 
| software patents would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But it's 
| not clear there was a baby in there to begin with. Empirical research 
| suggests that software patents are dramatically less effective at promoting 
| innovation than other categories of patents, producing more litigation and 
| smaller revenues for innovators.      


Most software companies infringe patents

,----[ Quote ]
| In a report, Cato denizen Timothy Lee compared patents on software and 
| business processes to patents on English prose. 
| [...]
| Since patent protection was first extended to software in the 1980s, it is 
| difficult or impossible to create any significant software without infringing 
| one or more patents. With tens of thousands of new software patents granted 
| every year, and no effective indexing method for software patents, there is 
| no cost-effective way to determine which patents cover any piece of software.    



In tune with the needs of the EU's new pirates

,----[ Quote ]
| The GNU General Public Licence for software was, he says, the main subject of
| conversation between developers who put their work ethics before their own or
| their business' interests.
| Before he knew it, Josefsson was part of a movement which claims to be saving
| the world from corporate control. In 2002 he became one of the leading
| opponents of the EU's software patent directive. He co-founded the Swedish
| chapter of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) with
| EngstrÃm and, without any knowledge of how to lobby politicians, he
| spearheaded the campaign against the directive.
| âWhen the directive was proposed in 2002, I and many others started following
| this from scratch,â he says. âWe were computer programmers, students or
| entrepreneurs, and we knew nothing about how the EU worked.
| âIt eventually developed into a grassroots movement equal in strength to the
| business associations and lobby groups you normally find in Brussels, to
| those whose views are normally heard and listened to,â he says.
| Patent protest
| The movement grew out of the blogosphere â or more correctly, Josefsson says,
| out of the âmailsphere' â and the organising element was no individual or
| organisation, but a classical self-generating political process.
| âIt was like seeing a catastrophe about to happen. Imagine a bus about to
| drive into a crowd of people; you want to stop the bus before it happens. We
| didn't have time to launch a proper organisation and we never asked questions
| about how we should do things. We just had to do it.â
| By early 2005, more than 400,000 people had signed a petition against the
| software patent directive and later that year it was rejected by the
| Parliament.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)


[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index