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12.02.09

Tim Berners-Lee: “Software Patents Are a Terrible Thing”

Posted in Boycott Novell, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 3:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tim Berners-Lee

Image from Wikimedia

Summary: While software patents threaten to invade Europe, Sir Tim Berners-Lee antagonises their existence

THE person credited with the invention of the World Wide Web never liked patents. In fact, the success of the Web (or the Internet at large) owes it to the fact that software patents were all along avoided as a matter of principle. It is worth adding that Mr. Berners-Lee was inspired by Richard Stallman and his GNU project before he even laid the foundations of the Web. That’s how the story goes anyway. Great minds think not about intellectual monopolies.

We spoke to the FFII’s president, who told us that there was a “conf[erence] with Tim Berners Lee bashing patents.”

“Swedish Presidency will put the centralisation of the patent system on the table tomorrow, software patents on the way to be validated in EU.”
      –FFII’s president
Sadly, for those who want to view the conference, some Microsoft software is required. What a shame. Yet again people who are not Microsoft customers are denied access to public information. That’s one of the ramifications of software patents.

Most importantly perhaps, Tim Berners-Lee told the FFII’s president that “software patents are a terrible thing.” Berners-Lee is based in the US, even though he is British. But it is not a national inclination. Don Knuth, for example, wants to “innovate in peace” and without software patents, based on a brief that he submitted in Europe this year. Knuth is based in California and he is probably the most renowned person in the field of algorithms.

FFII’s president later added that the “Swedish Presidency will put the centralisation of the patent system on the table tomorrow, software patents on the way to be validated in EU.” We warned about this yesterday.

Glyn Moody, upon hearing the story about the CrunchPad dying, argues that “intellectual monopolies turn everything they touch to dust…”

Also yesterday we warned about Microsoft's new patent attempts at Fog Computing. Microsoft’s spinner Gavin Clarke describes it as an “interop patent”, which is utter nonsense. People complain about Microsoft’s patent infiltration in this area.

A cloud interoperability hopeful has dismissed mighty Microsoft’s attempt to patent technology for customers to transfer data between different services.

Vordel has said Microsoft’s proposed patent targets a single vendors’ cloud and fails to tackle lock-in as identified by the European Network and Information Security Agency.

Microsoft has already a notorious past as a “patent mobster” — a company that uses extortion and intimidation using patents to milk competitors for money. It’s racketeering. And as Nokia too is weakening (just like Microsoft), its inner patent monster breaks loose, so another round of lawsuits has just come.

Nokia sues everyone

IF YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED a writ from the Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia in the last few days you must be about the only person on the planet.

Top mobile phone maker Nokia has filed lawsuits in Britain and the United States claiming that a number of leading technology firms are running cartels for mobile phone and monitor displays.

We have warned about Nokia’s stance on patents many times before (see below).

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A Single Comment

  1. Omar87 said,

    December 5, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Gravatar

    Yeah, and Creative Commons CEO Joichi Ito also said the same thing about Software Patents in a speech which he gave here in Jordan earlier this year.

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