06.16.12

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Groklaw Article Advocates Not Getting Rid of All Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Groklaw and SCO ship
Image credited to Groklaw.net

Summary: Guest post in Groklaw takes a soft stance on the subject of software patents

LAST year and the year before that there was an argument in the comments about whether or not Groklaw — now led by Professor Webbink — is actually against software patents. Based on everything Pamela Jones has written, it seems unequivocal, but in some circumstances it seems like the site is compromising the strong stance, which the FSF for example is advocating.

In a guest post from Professor Risch (titled “Curing the Problem of Software Patents”) he starts by earning credibility by saying: “I would like to thank the Groklaw community for having me, and in advance for your comments. I’ve read posts here on and off over the years, and the recent discussion about Prometheus and Oracle v. Google piqued my interest. Before I get into the meat of things, note that I have a lot of experience in software, as I discuss below. So, if you disagree with me (as I suspect many of you will), please don’t assume that it is because I don’t understand software – I do.”

“I think that there are a lot of bad software patents out there, and we should get rid of those.”
      –Professor Michael Risch
But then he says: “Many people who have read my work probably assume that I am pro-software patents. I’m not really; I am just not anti-software patent. I’m agnostic. I think that there are a lot of bad software patents out there, and we should get rid of those. However, I don’t think that the solution is to get rid of all software patents. I think that such patents can be inventive and productive like any other, and I also think that defining when a patent becomes software (as opposed to hardware) is too difficult an inquiry.”

In order to be effective we need to be consistent in our opposition to software patents. Techrights has been only critical of the stance of the OIN, Peer to Patent, and few other ‘FOSS-flavoured’ groups that distract from a real solution, which is abolition.

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 17, 2012 at 3:19 am

    Gravatar

    Bizarre. I don’t see how anyone who has followed the issues at all during the last 15 years can be in any way neutral. Yes, there are those that think that somehow they will gain from software patents but the overwhelming majority find them at best a pain. The jury is in and software patents harm innovation and increase costs. There are no advantages to them. I’m curious as to why this particular guest was brought in to write for Groklaw, what was the point?

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