03.30.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

Software Patents and Death by Patents

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents, Videos at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’re awfully sorry, Mrs. Smith, but your husband’s operation
is protected by a patent, so we’ll have
to just leave him to die…”

The ethics of patents in general is a broad and sometimes very passionate debate. In certain domains, it can be a matter of life and death (just watch this video about Novartis). We recently gave some examples where sharing of knowledge results in improved drug development.

Glyn Moody has just identified another interesting post about the ethics of surgical patents, applied to more complicated operations. Under the heading “Patents Kill”, he talks about monopolies on medical procedures:

Imagine being unable to use a life-saving technique on a patient simply because it was “patented”, and the licensing fees were exorbitant. Imagine, indeed, the situation in developing countries that can’t even afford medical equipment, much less absurd, intellectual monopolies.

There’s a reason we don’t have patents on such things: they represent basic human knowledge of the kind whose invention and transmission down the generations lies at the heart of our civilisation and humanity. The day we start charging for this kind of thing is the day we as a race are in deep, deep trouble.

Here is the cited post, which in turn cites another.

Of all the exclusions from patentability, most poignant is the bar on patenting methods of surgery, therapy or diagnosis practised on the human or animal body. While it seeks to release medical practitioners from the shackles of commercial monopoly and legal liability when choosing how best to treat their patients, many argue that its true effect is to stifle the creation, publication and promulgation of new techniques that save lives or improve their quality.

It is very unfortunate to see intellectual monopolies being imposed on the right to save the life of a friend, a spouse, a child, or any human being who is in disparate need. It surely puts in perspective the relative severity of software patents, which are means for killing competing computer programs.

There is this odd new video over at Linux.com (available as Ogg Theora) which speaks about a supposedly ‘innovative’ way of mixing Free software and patents.

Software patents underlie a novel open source business model (video)

[...]

Their company is called International Characters. It already has one software patent pending — and professor Popowich assures us that the company has software that’s ready to download and use today; that this isn’t a pipe dream but a “right now” thing.

If nothing else, even if you disagree with the way International Characters is doing business, you’ve got to admit that they’ve come up with an interesting way to combine software patents with open source. Whether it will work — and whether others follow in their footsteps — is another matter. We’ll just have to keep an eye on them and see how things go, won’t we?

Another new article from Ars technica is interesting for the fact that it confirms yet again that this “reform” everyone speaks of is utterly ineffective. Call it a “PR charade” if you prefer.

Last September, the House of Representatives approved the Patent Reform Act of 2007, legislation that would make important changes to America’s patent system. With the legislation being fiercely debated behind closed doors in the Senate, Ars takes a closer look at the legislation’s provisions, the major players in the debate, and the legislation’s prospects for curing what ails the American patent system.

[...]

The legislation does almost nothing to rein in the Federal Circuit’s increasingly permissive attitude toward patents on abstract concepts like software, business methods, and mental processes. Only one provision of the Patent Reform Act addresses this issue: the House bill includes a prohibition on patents for tax planning methods.

As you can see, software patents remain unaddressable. As long as lobbyists rule and tame the system, law will be (re)shaped in a way such that monopolies benefit the most (while also whining the most loudly, as a crocodile’s tears-type gesture to get people off their back).

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  2. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing



  3. Trying to Appease Those Who Never Liked Free Software or Those Who Blindly Loved All Patent Monopolies to Begin With

    It’s crystal clear that trying to appease everyone, all the time, is impossible; in the case of the EPO, for example, we hope that exposing Team Battistelli/Campinos helps raise awareness of the harms of patent maximalism, and when speaking about Free software — whilst occasionally bashing the alternatives (proprietary) — we hope to convince more people to join the “Good Fight”



  4. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    Links for the day



  5. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 27, 2021



  6. Links 27/11/2021: Nvidia’s DLSS Hype and Why GNU/Linux Matters

    Links for the day



  7. [Meme] Linus Gabriel Sebastian Takes GNU/Linux for a (Tail)'Spin'

    If you’re trying to prove that GNU/Linux is NOT Windows, then “haha! Well done…”



  8. GNU/Linux is for Freedom and It'll Gain Many Users When (or Where) People Understand What Software (or Computing) Freedom Means

    Software that respects people's freedom (and by extension privacy as well) is an alluring proposition; those who choose to try GNU/Linux for the wrong reasons are likely the wrong target audience for advocates



  9. Amid Reports of Microsoft's Competition Crimes in Europe...

    European companies are complaining, but they seem to overlook the principal aspect of an imperialistic system with bottomless pockets (almost 30 trillion dollars in debt already; US national debt soared again last month); Microsoft is shielded by a political system with military (“defence”) as bailout budget to help cushion international expansion for data grab and technical leverage, as we've seen in the case of EPO (this is all political, not technical, and should thus be treated as a political/corruption issue)



  10. Is Linus Trolling the GNU/Linux Community?

    This new video responds to what many sites have been provoked into amplifying



  11. Links 27/11/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and SeaMonkey 1.1.19 in EasyOS

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] Keeping Our Distance From Microsoft

    The OSI is the dagger, the Linux Foundation is the knife, and many others are the sword by which Microsoft tries to get into the very heart of GNU/Linux and extinguish the Free software movement



  13. Microsoft Edge Encourages Indebted Americans to Guilt-spend Just in Time for Christmas

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  15. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  16. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  17. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  18. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  19. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021



  22. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day



  23. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously



  24. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] So Desperate That Edge Cannot Even Exceed 4% That They Block Rival Web Browsers

    Linux/Android/Free Software/GNU (they go by very many names/brands) may continue to grow to the point where Windows is as irrelevant as Blackberry; this means that Microsoft’s grip on the Web too has slipped — to the point where Microsoft frantically uses 'bailout' money to hijack LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. (it also rebrands almost everything as "Azure" or clown to fake a perception of growth)



  26. Windows Vista Service Pack 11 (Vista 11) Has Failed to Curb the Growth of GNU/Linux

    Windows market share continues to decrease in spite of billions of dollars spent bribing the media for fake hype, especially in light of a new Windows Service Pack (SP), Vista SP 11



  27. Links 25/11/2021: Proton 6.3-8 and Linux Mint Compared to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  28. 3.5 Years Later the 'Master' of Fedora is Still Microsoft and IBM Cannot Be Bothered to Alter Git Branch Names (Refuting or Ignoring Its Very Own Directive About Supposedly Racially-Insensitive Terms)

    Today we demonstrate the hypocrisy of IBM; years after telling us that we should shun the term "master" and repeatedly insisting it had a racist connotation at least 65 Fedora repositories, still controlled by Microsoft, still use "master"



  29. Changing the Arrangement While News is a Bit Slow(er)

    I've made it easier for myself to keep abreast of things like IRC channels and networks (incidentally, a day ago Freenode reopened to anonymous logins) and I've improved monitoring of the Web sites, Gemini capsule etc. (this video is unplanned and improvised)



  30. Links 24/11/2021: Alpine Linux 3.15 and Endless OS 4.0 Released

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts