11.03.07

Un-Mazing a Peer-to-Software-Patent Mess

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 12:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ownership of mathematical ideas does not have a place in this world. However, it is unfortunate to find that in a handful of countries this is actually the case. It is possible, and it’s enforced by local laws. In some places, a simple logical procedure (a conceptual recipe) can be owned by an individual.

After many explanations about the absurdity of software patents comes yet another. It comes from an independent lawyer who is associated with the Linux Foundation, which itself has The Economics of FUD protested against so-called 'patent terrorism', as demonstrated by Microsoft with unsubstantiated claims back in May.

On the “innovation” argument, which the system’s worst abusers love so much to sing about, he says:

Would abolishing software patents, then, lessen innovation among large companies? Again, no. IBM, Microsoft and Oracle were founded before software could be patented. They couldn’t afford to quit innovating simply because patent protection became unavailable.

With patent trolling on the rise, there appears to an acknowledgment of this, even by those who thought they had the least to lose. Watch the following names in the news. Watch who is listed among those who fight for changes in the patent system.

Over 60 companies and trade associations, including Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., have formed the Coalition for Patent Fairness, which paid Elmendorf Strategies to lobby Congress in support of patent reform legislation, according to the form posted online Aug. 14 by the Senate’s public records office.

The companies say the reform proposals will reduce frivolous patent litigation and lead to higher-quality patents. Biotech and pharmaceutical firms, meanwhile, charge that the bills currently before Congress will weaken patent protection.

As for Microsoft being listed among those who want a reform, watch Pieter's arguments again. It might just be a moral shield, aka “crocodile tears”.

Individuals who want to help with a reform can probably get involved directly. The USPTO is evolving with great hesitation, but at least it makes a good start. An instructional view for Peer2Patent has been made available (it’s also embedded below).

An assumption is made here. It’s the assumption that with this new system in place, the system can become more critical and its deficiencies be addressed in the future (think about self-correction through peer moderation). It requires volunteer work, it seems (or intervention by competitor), but it does not address the problem of having to squash existing poor patents that should have never been granted in the first place. These are extremely expensive to withdraw, so we are left stuck in the same mess. We are surrounded by heaps of patents that include duplicates, overlaps. and trivial ideas. Watch this video about the “patent maze”.

A-maze-ing!

No Patents in Linux

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2007/11/03/peer-to-software-patent/

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