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Patents Software

End Software Patents Project Comes Out Swinging 205

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the amicus-populorum dept.
Linux.com is reporting that the End Software Patents project is launching several new initiatives to help drive support for their cause. Among the new methods are a web site, a report on the state of patents in the US, and a scholarship contest promising to award $10,000 "for the best paper on the effects of the patentability of software and business methods under US law." "The project is being launched with initial funding of a quarter million dollars, supplied primarily by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Under the directorship of Ben Klemens, a long-time advocate of software patent abolition best-known for the book Math You Can't Use: Patents, Copyright, and Software, the project is being supported by the FSF, the Public Patent Foundation, and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). One of ESP's goals is to enlist support from academics, software developers, legal experts, and business executives. Its initial supporters show that the project is already well on its way to building such a coalition."
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End Software Patents Project Comes Out Swinging

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  • by superwiz (655733) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:24PM (#22613400) Journal

    A) Cheaper medicine (because you can buy the generic ones rather then the patented name-brand ones)

    complete drying up of AIDS research (who the hell wants to spend their life researching or fund researching it if there is not money in it?)

    Feel free to insert some blurb about people's good nature, goodness, good intentions and whatever else you think they work for other than the money.

    complete drying up of Alzheimer's research

    complete drying up of obesity research... ok, that might be a plus since we might reconsider our diets.

    no development of anti-biotics that would fight the newly emerging strains of viruses (heard of staph? how bout sars?)

    but yeah! let's show those pharm companies who is boss. I mean Michael Moore said so, so it must be true, right?
  • by bihoy (100694) * on Saturday March 01, 2008 @10:48PM (#22613552)
  • by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Saturday March 01, 2008 @11:11PM (#22613648) Homepage Journal
    But processes and recepies are software, they're just written for people and organizations instead of for computers.
  • Re:FSF and RMS (Score:4, Informative)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @12:19AM (#22613848) Journal

    Well, look at it this way. We had lots of research going on in computer software, and then patents happened in the 80s, and since then, the research spending has basically dried up and real innovation (as opposed to mere incremental improvement) has dramatically slowed. Granted, we don't have a control group, so we can't definitively say that the slowdown was caused by patents, but we have seen enough examples of innovation being hampered by patents and enough research driven predominantly by the desire to get more patents instead of being driven by a desire to improve the state of the art that we can pretty clearly conclude that patents have a deleterious effect. The only thing that isn't clear is the extent to which this is the case, IMHO.

  • So instead of fixing the problem, we should all throw out the baby with the bathwater, eliminating patents all together, and condemning the many companies who have legitimate reasons and needs for patents.


    The baby is a baby cobra, so yes, we should throw it out.

    Having no software patents at all would still be a massive improvement over what we currently have. And we don't know how to build a better system.
  • by kanweg (771128) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @02:39AM (#22614262)
    The European patent office grants patents for software illegally, after years of wriggling and twisting by one (Dutch) member of the Board of Appeal, who stepwise expanded the scope of what was deemed patentable. The current chaos in the different European countries on how this should be dealt with is in no small part due to this, as the grant clearly goes much further than the law (your reference was written by a patent attorney of Philips who did an excellent job of presenting a biased story). Even the British felt compelled to not ignore the EPO in this completely, recently. That doesn't bode well for innovation, as companies will develop software even if they don't have software protection for it (I have software developed and I know I do).

    Mind you, there is nothing wrong with inventions where software is used to control stuff, but the inventive step must not reside in the software, otherwise you're granting patents for software despite Art. 52(2) EPC.

    Bert
    Who thinks that the halfway house is in practice a 3/4 way house.
  • Re:FSF and RMS (Score:3, Informative)

    by aproposofwhat (1019098) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @11:20AM (#22615766)
    Relational databases: Micro DBMS (1969)
    Journaling: I believe Ingres had it in the mid 70s
    Parallel programming: Burroughs D825 (1962)
    Distributed computing: OK - I'll concede that's fairly recent (mid 90s?), but that's more to do with networking improvements making it feasible than any other factor
    Functional programming: LISP (1958)
    OOP: Simula 67 (1967)

    All old, old technology.

    Software patents do nothing except enrich trolls and lawyers, and the fact of the matter is that people will continue to invent new ways of doing things in order to better achieve their goals, patents or not.

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