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Software Patents Stopped in India 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-means-no dept.
piyushranjan writes "Indian parliament deleted the section from the patents bill regrading the software patents as left parties prevailed over the Government on the issue. This may be a major victory for free software foundation(fsf) which has been lobbying hard against the bill."
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Software Patents Stopped in India

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  • by ^me^ (129402) <michael.joseph.c ... ot@gm a i l .com> on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:02AM (#12300261) Homepage
    all move^Woutsource ourselves to india now!
  • Not only the FSF (Score:4, Interesting)

    by carlmenezes (204187) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:03AM (#12300266) Homepage
    But also our president has openly suggested to our schools, universities, defence and government organizations to switch to open source. He's one president I really admire. A very learned and very humble man.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:09AM (#12300299)
      Clearly a godless communist, regardless of what they say. It's time for a pre-emptive strike to bring True Freedom (American Version) to their country.
    • Took me a few seconds to realise you were from india .. For a minute i thought you were from the USA and "on" some-thing
    • Re:Not only the FSF (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gopal.V (532678)
      He's one president I really admire. A very learned and very humble man.

      It's really sad that he holds no real power in India, unless there's an out & out war (in which case he commands the army, navy and air force). Nehru made the president a rubber stamp, which is why intellectuals like Adbul Kalam ended up in that seat.

      I have a feeling that he'd do much better just to go back to Nuclear research. This feels so much like Newton being in the house of commons. But yeah, he's capable of using what l

    • by Deusy (455433) <charlie@ve x i . o rg> on Thursday April 21, 2005 @08:53AM (#12301617) Homepage
      Whilst I'd like to believe that this was a decision made on moral grounds, with a belief that a patent-free software world would be a more innovative one, I struggle to accept that this is anything more than a good economic strategy - including embracing open source software.

      Do Indian companies really invest in patents on a scale similar to American or European companies? I doubt it. By eliminating software patents, India paves the way to preventing foreign companies from exploiting their software-related patents.

      And open source software can be better rooted and supported in India. Why give the money to foreign companies for large volumes of license fees when you can be paying your own people to implement solutions that already exist. Short of an Indian company developing an operating systems, open source software is the best choice for keeping software-related expenditure within the Indian economy.
  • More jobs to go (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:04AM (#12300269)
    Can companies move their bussiness their to avoid patents in the own country?
    • Re:More jobs to go (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:18AM (#12300346)
      No. An American company selling in India is not subject to software patents in respect of the products sold in India because India has no software patents. An Indian company selling in America is subject to software patents in respect of the products sold in America because America does have software patents.

      An Indian company can apply for software patents in America which will be valid in America, just like anyone else. Those patents won't be valid in India regardless of where you company is based.
      • Re:More jobs to go (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        >>Can companies move their bussiness..to avoid patents
        >No

        Actually this is wrong. You are liable for patents separately for development and for selling. Normally licensing fees are split between the two places (since the rate may vary). By moving to a patent free country, you have a better bargaining position.

        Also, more importantly, since you aren't infringing in the development country, you can either ensure that you hide the techniques you use (proprietry), or provide the patented functionali
      • Re:More jobs to go (Score:5, Interesting)

        by archeopterix (594938) * on Thursday April 21, 2005 @05:35AM (#12300929) Journal
        No. An American company selling in India is not subject to software patents in respect of the products sold in India because India has no software patents. An Indian company selling in America is subject to software patents in respect of the products sold in America because America does have software patents.
        That's true, but what happens if I move my application servers to India, process my data there using all the patented techniques I need and then send it back to US?
        • That's true, but what happens if I move my application servers to India, process my data there using all the patented techniques I need and then send it back to US?

          Depends on how much money the patent-holder has.

          Having said that, wait ten or twenty years while India builds up its software industry, and then see what their stance on software patents is. I doubt the current decision is entirely selfless.
      • by dbIII (701233)
        Nowhere else is going to get software patents without huge amounts of lobbying from the groups in the USA that would benefit.

        You would think the USA itself would have learned about overly restricting software by laws from the encryption law sillyness, which was as follows:

        The software developed in the USA could not be used internationally due to restrictions. Plenty of businesses wanted to do secure financial transactions securely using encryption. The solution that occured? Develop the software elsew

      • Re:More jobs to go (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AviLazar (741826)
        An American company operating in a foreign country is subject to that foreign countries laws and American laws. That is one of the "problems" with American companies going to other countries. For example, in some countries it is not only legal but it is expected of you to bribe a gov't official if you plan on getting a permit to do something. In the US that is a big no-no. Now American company wants to get the permit - they are kinda screwed - damned if they do, damned if they don't.

        Now is an Indian
    • Re:More jobs to go (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DeepHurtn! (773713)
      Well, sure, but their tech will still be subject to the patents in any country that recognises software patents.
      • Well, sure, but their tech will still be subject to the patents in any country that recognises software patents.

        Which countries, if Europe does not legalize software patents, would that be? If this trend continues it could very well end up leaving US companies unable to compete in a free world market.
  • by Thumpnugget (142707) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:06AM (#12300278)
    We have begun the process of outsourcing your freedom! The stormtroopers will be by shortly to collect any remaining freedoms, so we can send them to a foreign country where it will be cheaper to maintain them. In the meantime, sit tight, don't go anywhere, and please refrain from speaking with other citizens or posting to the Interweb with those blog thingies. Don't like it? Maybe you should have spoken up before the process began, like they did in India. Have a nice day.

    Thanks,
    The Government
    • by Nadsat (652200) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:21AM (#12300360) Homepage
      This Just In: USA to Transfer Statue of Liberty to India
      • Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...
        Yeah, that's something you want to carve on a gift you give to another country. Of course if things keep up like this then perhaps that will describe the US.

    • by ImaLamer (260199) <{john.lamar} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday April 21, 2005 @03:02AM (#12300524) Homepage Journal
      You actually have a good point though.

      What India has over the United States is that they not only have our technical jobs but they also have no legal restrictions on taking any technology learned during that "cultural" exchange.

      Technology is what keeps a superpower on top. The Masons knew it, that is why they exist(ed). (Technological) Secrets make a nation thrive and the fact that the United States and Europe will restrict software developers with draconian laws makes our chances nill. If we continue to lead the way in innovations they will be copied at will overseas making *only* our citizens the ones to pay the price for intellectual property. Where will that leave us?

      Our patents won't mean a thing when India and China make up most of the computer/internet users and developers. I'm afraid that we will be trying to play fair while others won't - reminds me of the game show "Friend or Foe", everyone must agree or everyone loses. I'm drunk, but look more into China and Russia's copying of CDMA technology to learn more about how we can lose...
      • by MichaelPenne (605299) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @04:15AM (#12300737) Homepage
        that keeps the superpowers on top. Technologcial power is temporary, the only way to keep it is to ensure that your very best minds have every opportunity to discover new technologies.

        This should be even more important to the US, as with our smaller population we have a smaller total pool of potential talent, so it should be even more important that we make sure every American has a chance (and is encouraged) to maximize their talents.

        We're not doing enough in this area any more, the public looks at Higher Ed. more as a way for an individual to make money than as a public good, so public funding of education has been drying up. If we want to keep our 'place' we'll need to start seeing education as a public good again, and get back to funding it that way...
        • by ramblin billy (856838) <defaultaddy@yahoo.com> on Thursday April 21, 2005 @06:12AM (#12301007)

          Public education in America was never intended to be for the 'public good'. It has always been intended to provide an educated labor pool.It has always been intended to maintain the status quo and socialize children's behavior to insure a stable work force. They don't teach you to think in public schools - they teach you to behave and accept their version of reality. Which I guess now is that evolution is a theory with about the same chance of validity as devine creation. They even have stickers in the textbooks for proof. There is a reason school teachers and policeman are so low on the pay scale. You get what you pay for.

          billy - who worked hard to slip through the cracks

      • The US won't be trying to "play fair", they'll be playing by *their* rules.

        Then if it were, say, the US vs Australia, Australia would bow to mimic the US legal restrictions in order to maximise benefits in a free trade agreement and/or of protection provided.

        When it comes to US vs China, will China care for that bargaining power? On the point of security, not at all. On the point of a free trade agreement, I'm not sure.
      • I'm afraid that we will be trying to play fair while others won't

        That is, if you consider software patents "playing fair." I consider them more like "playing stupid" and frankly as a country we deserve to fall hard on our ass if we keep making dumb decisions that limit our own freedom to think.

        That's what software patents are, at the end of the day; software is just a representation of a thought process (have you ever stepped through code in your head?), and patents say, "Sorry, you're not allowed to s

        • "Sorry, you're not allowed to solve problem X using mental model Y because person Z filed some paperwork on it already."

          But that's what happens when liberty disappears, and enormous and entrenched interests try to protect their market share. Since they can't or won't innovate to continue to prosper in the marketplace, they use force to secure a position.

          I don't want to overuse the word "innovate" here. I am using it in the broadest possible sense. When you innovate, you change your business const
      • (Technological) Secrets make a nation thrive

        Secrets? Secrets? You mean like that Closed Source thingy? I am sorry, on /. we, the powers that be, do not respect secrets - especially if it could bring about that
        {Dr Evil Voice}
        evil
        {/Dr Evil Voice}
        Closed Source
  • I want to move! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:06AM (#12300280)
    I've spoken with government official in my country (New Zealand) about software patents and they just don't care! They just fold to the big companys.

    I want to move to India! I love Indian food and culture already, and now they get to be free of software patents! Not fair.

    When will governments in the western world start doing what the people want, and not what only the rich and powerful want!
  • by Future Man 3000 (706329) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:07AM (#12300284) Homepage
    Most patents are in the U.S., most (current) innovation and technology growth is in India.

    They have nothing to gain from adopting software patents.

    • by Timesprout (579035) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:22AM (#12300367)
      most (current) innovation and technology growth is in India

      Growing yes, innovating hardly. Little innovation means you dont actually have a lot to protect making patents a moot point anyway.
      • by TuxPaper (531914) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:45AM (#12300467)
        Growing yes, innovating hardly. Little innovation means you dont actually have a lot to protect making patents a moot point anyway.

        Isn't one of the arguments against software patents that most of the software patents aren't innovations at all, but mere logical steps forward? So, whose to say they aren't 'innovating' according to the US software patent system?

      • by The Cydonian (603441) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @04:17AM (#12300743) Homepage Journal
        While I'm certainly one of those people who wishes my country's national innovation system were more productive, it is nevertheless a known fact that most countries trying to scale up a tech value-chain perforce try to loosen IPR protection, before putting brakes on after they've scaled up. The so-called Asian Tiger economies are one example; Singapore has had a see-saw experience with IPR since 1965. India's own experience with the pharma industry is another such example.

        So yup, the point is that most countries loosen up IPR protection in order to encourage innovation.

      • by natrius (642724) * <niranNO@SPAMniran.org> on Thursday April 21, 2005 @04:19AM (#12300752) Homepage
        Growing yes, innovating hardly.

        For now. They don't have to innovate to be successful at this point, because business is flowing in. That will stop as the standard of living in India raises accordingly. When this happens, you'll have lots of smart, capable programmers who know how things are done, and will be able to build upon others' ideas to make new ones. I don't think the cultural differences people often cite are significant enough to stop smart people from doing great things.

        Of course, the companies that start to innovate will be the ones with a lot of money in the first place, and if my grasp of political theory serves me well, those companies will have bought legislators by then to get the software patents they'll want to restrict competition. Ain't democracy grand? I hope they prove me wrong.
    • by CatGrep (707480) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:43AM (#12300456)
      most (current) innovation and technology growth is in India.

      Well, I don't think most current innovation is in India _yet_. However this kind of move will certainly help India since they will be free to develop software without having to have to worry about lawsuits.

      The ironic thing about software patents is that while their proponents suggest they will help foster innovation, in fact they have the opposite effect and end up only helping to employ IP lawyers instead of engineers.
    • by Morgaine (4316) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @04:02AM (#12300705)
      >> Most patents are in the U.S., most (current) innovation and technology growth is in India.

      >> They have nothing to gain from adopting software patents.


      Your "smart move" response offers the defence of smartness to both sides --- smart of India to bar software patents because they have nothing to gain, and smartness by the US to uphold software patents because they do have something to gain.

      Unfortunately the last part of that is only true under the extraordinarily myopic worldview that most innnovations are in the past, and that therefore it is worth protecting the greater old at the expense of harming the lesser new.

      Well that's stunningly short-sighted. The future is pretty much infinite, whereas technological progress of the patentable type has been around for a couple of centuries at most, and software patents even less, so the inventions of the past represent effectively zero percent of the body of technical development.

      There could hardly be a greater condemnation of the inability of the supporters of patents to see beyond the ends of their noses.
    • you missed the target by that much.. The greatest innovation and technology growth is in CHINA. they can easily out manufacture and out grow ANY company in india, hell make all companies in india one and they still cant touch the power of china...

      India is doing better but there is no chance in hellthey can touch the steamroller that is China, and once it get's rolling faster there will be nothing that any american company or law can do to stop it either.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:09AM (#12300292)
    I'm an Indian.

    As much as I hate these left parties (they're real dumbasses), for once they have done the right thing here.

    Left parties doing something actually GOOD for economy. Who knew...
  • Hi Well,atleast in this sense,India is far better than EU.We got it done without much hassles. :))) ....... And spare some time to go thru http://fsf.org.in/ [fsf.org.in] piyush chaapis........
  • Uh-Oh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rightcoast (807751) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:10AM (#12300303) Homepage
    Like it or not as an American coder, the code coming from India is getting better. Sorry, but that's what happens with practice fellas....

    Couple that with healty dose of the encouragement of innovation, and we just took one right on the chin.
    • I don't think the issue with India was ever the quality of the code per se, but with all of the obstacles that might (and do) crop up when handing your information infrastructure over to a country halfway across the world. These things will happen despite any code quality issues. There was a recent post by someone responding to another article, that mentioned the ROI issues with respect to projects that are outsourced. Assuming it was accurate, it suggests that outsourcing isn't a cure-all, and the ROI is a
      • so says symbolic:

        I wonder if the US could "help" India change its mind by threatening to withhold business if it doesn't comply.

        Does anyone know some good numbers about the amount of labour being outsourced to India? Judging by the numbers of comments posted in those kinds of stories, I would guess it is pretty significant, so...

        If the US tried to retaliate by withholding business from India, I guess the outsourcing would have to stop, right? Which means that US companies that outsource their labour wou

    • Re:Uh-Oh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MartinG (52587) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @03:40AM (#12300627) Homepage Journal
      Well. Why don't you try to level the playing field again by campaining for the abolision of software patents in America?
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      no it is not.

      More are outsourceing to the USSR than india because the coding is far better and the grasp of western thinking is stringer so their code has a closer match but has the benefits of giving the fabled Russian thinking to solutions.

      we recently recieved a project that was rewritten from Russia. the origional code was written in India for the contractor, it was unmaintainable... the guys near Moscow gave us the code back with awesome readability and maintainability.

      and YES, it was clean of backd
  • by xiaomonkey (872442) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:12AM (#12300317)
    If software patents aren't legal in India, would a company over there be able to fearlessly provide web services/applications that infringe on US patents?

    e.g. could a company over there build a search engine using Google's patented page rank algorithm with out having to pay an licensing fee?

    If so, it would seem that India would be an ideal place for most such companies, as they can operate over there with out fear of patent litigation. Also, hopefully something like this would put pressure on the US to reform our current system in order for local companies to be more competitive.
    • Stanford owns pagerank.

      http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1= PT O1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm &r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,285,999.WKU.&OS=PN/6,285,999&RS =PN/6,285,999
      • Yeah, but, Google has an exclusive license to it from Stanford until 2011. So, no other American companies can use it until then....

        of course, if you're in a country that doesn't have software patents, then you might not have that problem.
    • by masklinn (823351) <slashdot,org&masklinn,net> on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:42AM (#12300453)
      If software patents aren't legal in India, would a company over there be able to fearlessly provide web services/applications that infringe on US patents?
      You know, the thing about US patents is that they only apply in the US, if you're not in the US and don't sell your products there, you're not supposed to give a flying fuck about US patents, wether your country has any kind of software patents or not.

      On the other hand, Copyright Laws are international and know no bounds (but the chinese borders maybe), and they apply fully to software creation (copyright is what backs the GPL-like licenses).

      The very point is that software patents aren't needed and are unnecessary, because not only they'd be redundant if they were always used well, but they're dangerous (for innovation, what they're supposed to protect mind you) when misused.
      • "Copyright Laws are international and know no bounds"

        Umm..since when? All laws are restricted to a given legal entity (generally a country). Each entity decides how to enforce their own laws.

        It is true that most countries (if not all) have copyright laws, but the parameters (such as lifetime of a copyright) varies significantly. In that sense, your statement is non sensical.
    • by JoeBuck (7947) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @03:06AM (#12300535) Homepage

      Google hasn't just patented their page rank algorithm. They've patented the idea of giving weight to the links that point to a page. (The competitors seem to be infringing that claim, probably because they are confident that the claim would be tossed by a court, but who knows?).

      We could probably live with patents that protect precisely what the inventor invented, but no patent lawyer would settle for that. Instead, the claims generalize to the point of trying to block any conceivable competition, even with wholly new algorithms.

    • it would seem that India would be an ideal place for most such companies, as they can operate over there with out fear of patent litigation.

      But as we have seen - countries can boycott those who don't fall into line. If India doesn't do what Europe and America is doing then they will have to survive a economic stand-off. If they can then they will change things. However I suspect if they don't adopt our view or accept our patents as protected ideas then our governments will put pressure on those who do bus
  • Where open source software are not threatened by patent laws. Right?
    • The users of the software will still have the same problems regardless of where in the world the download page for the software is located. The Russia/MP3 issues comes to mind: the sites who sell music for giveaway prices from .ru are perfectly legal, but the users who buy from such sites are breaking local laws (there is really no difference for US users if they download from peer to peer networks or such sites, and the same applies to software programs).
      • by shaitand (626655) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @03:40AM (#12300628) Journal
        Yes but usage is not really under the juristiction of copyright, distribution does. So long as your copy was legally distributed (and it is) there is nothing illegal about using it in ways that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the limited privs granted by copyright law to content providers.

        Do not mistake the terms in EULAs for laws. Copyright does not grant the content provider the right to the restrictions they require in EULAs, that is why they need you to sign them over in a contract. For it to be a legal contract they must give you something of value in turn (purchasing gave you the right to use the material however you please without a contract), Microsoft gives you $5 worth of data loss protection IF you can successfully sue them for it. Aren't they swell?
  • by rsidd (6328) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:18AM (#12300345)
    the government is sort of centre-left, but supported by far-left (ie, communist) parties who must be kept happy.

    The government was required by the WTO to adopt a new patent regime in the pharmaceutical sector. There was plenty of opposition to this, mainly from the left, though leaving the WTO is simply not an option and everyone realises that.

    So what the government does is have a temporary ordinance, not ratified by the parliament, that's somewhat more draconian that it needs to be. I think the software patents thing was one of those items that the government was always willing to chop. There were also lots of safeguards in the pharma sector itself (regarding making of generic drugs in the national interest), allowed by the WTO, that the government omitted from the ordinance. Even the New York Times had a strong editorial criticising the Indian Government for its unnecessarily restrictive ordinance.

    When the time comes to pass it through parliament, voila, the government "accommodates" the left parties by introducing these safeguards and removing things like software patents. The left, in return, supports the bill. And everyone's happy.

    • why is leaving the WTO not an option??? If enough countries got off their butts and walked out, that would leave the WTO in a bit of a pickle...
      • If enough people within the WTO speak up, the WTO's own rules can be changed. Recent trade rounds have seen the emergence of a group of developing nations (India, Brazil, South Africa and others) aggressively pushing their concerns. The WTO has on the whole been very good for developing countries in trade disputes with the developed world, frequently ruling against the US and other powerful countries. For example, every WTO country is required to give "most favoured nation" status to every other WTO coun
  • Are Patent's Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shirai (42309) * on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:39AM (#12300446) Homepage
    Here's the interesting thing about patents and, if you are a patent expert, I realize you already know this, but I think most people don't see the true irony of patents.

    The irony is: they were designed to protect the small guy from the big guy. That's right. I shall repeat. They were designed to protect the small guy from the big guy.

    They did this to encourage innovation.

    You see, some guy in his garage could invent the television, a big company could come along and copy it, and make billions because he has a bigger operating budget. With patents, the guy could protect his invention, and the big guys couldn't steal his idea. All of a sudden, people want to invent because they can protect their ideas.

    But now the patent system has turned on its head. It essentially protects the big guys from the small guys. Probably if we looked at patents in their stricted sense, a kid in their garage could write a text editor and infringe on hundreds of patents. I realize this doesn't usually result in a lawsuit, but the system is so convoluted that the only way to understand it is to hire expensive lawyers, which small guys tend not to be able to afford. So in many cases, the small guy gives up when faced with serious opposition (think RIAA).

    Okay, I will freely admit that this post is a little inflamatory and that usually lawsuits are not launched even when a patent is owned for things like using key-combinations on a keyboard. But that's not the point.

    The point is this: The patent system no longer does what it was supposed to do which is encourage the creation of new ideas. If a system no longer does what it was designed to do, THAT is the definition of broken.
    • Actually, I would say that there are types of organizations that can benefit from patents:
      1) Big guy, as you mentioned, using patents to crush the innovative small guy; or
      2) Small guy, as long as he doesn't produce anything useful. The example of this would companies like Eolas and many others that sue over stupid patents. The fact that they don't produce anything is important here, since it's the only way not to get countersued over patents by the big company you're suing.
    • What RMS says (Score:5, Informative)

      by balster neb (645686) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @04:41AM (#12300808)
      Well said.

      Richard Stallman had explained this very nicely in a speech against software patents:

      Let me tell the message in the myth of the starving genius. If somebody who's been working in isolation for years and starving and he has a brilliant new idea for how to do something or other. And so, now, he's starting a company and he is afraid some big companies like IBM will compete with him and so he gets a patent and this patent will "protect him". Well, of course, this is not the way of things work out in fields. People won't make this kind of progress in isolation is where you working with other people and talking with other people and developing software usually. And so the whole scenario doesn't make sense and besides, if there's such a good computer scientist there is no need for him to starve. He could have got a job at any time if he wanted.

      But let's suppose this happened, and suppose he has this patent, and he says "IBM, you can't compete with me because I have got this patent ". But here is what IBM says: "well, gee, let's look at your product, hmm, I have this patent, this patent and this patent and this patent and this patent that your patent is violating. So how about a quick cross-licence?". And the starving genius says "hmm, I haven't had enough food in my belly to fight these things, so I better give in" and so they sign a cross-licence and now guess what .

      IBM can compete with him - he wasn't protected at all. Now IBM can do this because they have a lot of patents. They have patents pointing here, here, here, everywhere. So that anybody from almost anywhere that attacks IBM is facing a stand-off. A small company can't do it but a big company can.


      In other words, software patents today mostly protect big companies, so it's no surprise that they are the ones who support them the most.

      The transcript of the speech can be found here [gnu.org]. Despite the odd transcription error, it's a great read.
    • Indeed, software patents are very broken, which is quite a shame too as they could work as intended (encourage innovation and provide protection for the small people) but they haven't been handled correctly at all.

      Patent law as it stands does not apply well to software as software is a different beast from what patents were originally intended to protect, things like special toasters or car engines or some crap, I don't really know specific examples, but you get the idea.

      The problem in this is that softwa
    • Originaly intended to encourage the creation of new ideas and protect the 'little guy', patents now do the opposite.

      But that is the new intention: It is like finding a hammer on the sidewalk - originally intended to construct shelters, we now see that it would make a perfect tool to bludgeon people over the head to take their money.

      Basically, we've discovered a new, profitable use for an old tool!

  • Fantastic! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LarsWestergren (9033) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @02:44AM (#12300463) Homepage Journal
    Great news, I needed a bit cheering up. Just yesterday I read that Ericsson [nyteknik.se] has started to threaten the Swedish government that research and development will be moved out of Europe to countries that "respect software patents" (the spokesman mentions Japan and the US).

    • Re:Fantastic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xiando (770382) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @03:21AM (#12300582) Homepage Journal
      I read the article with great interest and I also was disappointed. Not in the facts, but in the journalist that fell for Ericssons tactical play. What the article fails to mention (because the journalist failed to realize it) is that any company with world headquarters in Sweden can patent what ever software they feel like in the US and in Japan regardless of their ability to do it locally. This is just a tactical play, it would make no difference what so ever to their ability to patent software abroad if they move out or not. The patent situation in Sweden is the same as it is in the rest of EU, and it is the EU rules they want to change. They see an opening for doing so by playing the local Swedish government, they know that if Sweden changes then it may have an impact on the rest of the EU. I really hope the Swedish government does not fall for this tactical play, I hope they see through it and see it for what it is: A simple tactical empty threat.
    • Re:Fantastic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Flyboy Connor (741764) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @03:32AM (#12300601)
      Just yesterday I read that Ericsson has started to threaten the Swedish government that research and development will be moved out of Europe to countries that "respect software patents"

      This sounds like pure bullying. Ericsson has NOTHING to gain in the area of protecting their software by moving to the US or Japan. You have to apply for patents in countries where you wish to RELEASE your product, not where you DEVELOP your products. So if Ericsson wishes to release products in both the US and Sweden, they have to apply for patents in both places, whether they have their factory located in the US or in Sweden. Actually, they run a higher risk in the US, because in the US a competitor might attempt to close them down because they are (alledgedly) infringing on one of the competitor's patents, while, without software patents in Sweden, in Sweden they wouldn't run any risk at all. That is aside the fact that rebuilding a factory and rehiring personnel in a very expensive country like the US would probably not be profitable. So, methinks this is a lot of hot air from Ericsson.

    • Re:Fantastic! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fixinah (809681)
      The funniest thing about this is that Ericsson as a company probably wouldnt exist if it wasnt because they didnt obey the US patent laws back in the begining of the phone and were able to profit big from it. Kinda do what we say and not how we did it.
  • by travler (88311) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @03:19AM (#12300577)

    I think there are a lot of people who for one reason or another think that competition from other countries is a bad thing.

    They seem to think that it is somehow 'unfair' that people in other contries can make product X cheaper. I don't know how many times I've heard the 'rush to the bottom' argument from people who obviously have no grasp of basic economics.

    If you are one of those people please read this:
    http://www.amosweb.com/cgi-bin/pdg.pl?fcd=dsp&term =The+Wide,+Wide+World+Of+FOREIGN+TRADE [amosweb.com]

    The reason competition is good in this particular case is because the US government is clearly not acting in its citizens best interest in regards to software patents.

    The contries that have a more rational intelectual property policy will obviously benefit. This will do one of two things:

    1. Businesses and citizens who create software will be forced to move to these 'enlightened' contries if they aren't there already. Basically the US will find itself locking itself out of the software market because producing software in the US will become too expensive or in some instances maybe even impossible.

    2. Because of pressure from 1. the US will be forced to adopt better laws.

    Basically if you can squash competition by making everyone obey your rules then you can force through productivity and creativity limiting laws such as software patents.

    However in a free marketplace countries that have chosen not to incorporate such laws will naturally do better than countries that have. I'm assuming here of course that software patents stifle creativity and productivity but I think this is a pretty safe assumtption.

    If you don't understand why software patents are bad please read this:

    http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/en/m/intro/index. html [nosoftwarepatents.com]

    In short this is good for everyone because it will garantee that consumers of software will continue to benefit from the explosion of creativity and productivity in the software industry. Also for those of us who produce software this helps by putting real pressure on our government to change its tune in regards to software patents.

    • by varjag (415848) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @04:32AM (#12300787)
      1. Businesses and citizens who create software will be forced to move to these 'enlightened' contries if they aren't there already. Basically the US will find itself locking itself out of the software market because producing software in the US will become too expensive or in some instances maybe even impossible.

      2. Because of pressure from 1. the US will be forced to adopt better laws.


      OR,

      2a. Because of pressure from 1. the US will push software patents through WTO.

      Now, which one looks more likely?
  • "Stopped"? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The New Andy (873493)
    I haven't RTFA (it was longer than my attention span), so assuming the headline is correct (big assumption), then it would seem that there are currently some people in India who currently hold software patents.

    If this is the case, then do these patentsnow have no value? Were they compensated? Or are they ceasing to grant new software patents but old ones are still enforcable?

  • If the US or EU put pressure on India to get rid of it, will India stand firm and risk the billions of rupees in outsourcing, or allow patents?
    • by Suhas (232056) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @04:29AM (#12300781)
      My guess is they will stand firm. Standing firm against pressure related to siftware patents is NOTHING compared to trade bans and technology export bans which India has had to endure due to it's refusal to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Basically, they did not give a flying fuck about any american pressure and went ahead and developed nukes anyway. What makes you think they will even listen to a random american diplomat pushing the agenda of american big-business?
  • Like gaurding against terrorists, the anti-patent crowd must stay lucky all the time. The patent lobbiests need only get lucky once.

    They will just keep trying and trying, and once they have obtained software patents in a country, it becomes well nigh impossible to dislodge them.

    The price of patentless software is eternal donation supported lobbying against all-consuming mega corperations.
  • They will be back :( (Score:5, Informative)

    by toolz (2119) on Thursday April 21, 2005 @07:22AM (#12301196) Homepage Journal
    The sad part is: India didnt reject swpats because it thought it was the right thing to do - it rejected them because not doing so would have caused the left to get difficult, which would have caused the bill to stall.

    In short, it wasn't because the government was convinced that swpats were bad, but because they found that the remaining stuff that they needed to push through was more important to them.

    Sadly, despite all the good press, the mentality remains unchanged, and I am certain there will be more attempts very soon.
  • 3 things (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UlfGabe (846629)
    three things about this.

    1. India has a population above 1 billion.

    2. 'Human resources' (i hate that word) are cheap.

    3. Profit.

    As someone else posted, only local markets will be affected....but a local market for 1 billion people and industry that can set up shop and USE ANY METHOD known to them for production of a product will surely have an advantage over those paying .15 cents per light bulb based on some patent. This effectively lowers the barrier of entry into Software and manufacturing

    ("hey joe, d
  • I think a lot of people here are missing this specific point: with Indian companies not paying attention to patents (american patents at least,) it would be possible to charge the firms who use Indian software in the States with patent infringement, wouldn't it? If SCO could bring up charges against so many firms I am sure it is not in the realm of impossibility for some firm(s) to bring up patent infringement charges against whatever firm that uses Indian software. So if MS charges a bank say with patent

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