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EFF Opposition to Software Patents Strong, But Not Strong Enough

Posted in EFF, Patents at 9:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This strategy won’t fly…


Summary: The EFF proposes limiting the number of software patents by making them more like copyrights, but that is not the right solution

THE EFF, whose work we respect and appreciate, recently promised to crack down on software patents, but its strategy seems a tad misguided again (like the patent-busting initiative). The EFF wants software patents to include working code, as one article puts it and here are several more articles:

1) EFF proposes adding working code to software patent applications

2) Want a software patent? Write some code

Reform may be on the horizon for software patents in the United States as lobby groups seek to tighten up the criteria for successful applications.

Software patents are aimed at promoting research and development, but the process of registering and protecting patents have become embroiled in controversy over the last decade.

At the heart of the matter are so-called “patent trolls” that do not create products or services, but claim to own the right to the intellectual property behind them in order to sue companies for millions of dollars or force them to take up licensing and royalty deals.

The idea seems to come only from Julie Samuels (not to be confused with Samuelson [1, 2, 3, 4]), whose idea we criticised last week. Her Twitter account describes her as “Staff Attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents” (not software patents).

This is what one gets when the front against software patents is made up of “legal” folks including notable law professors (i.e. glorified lawyers), whose plan is to tame software patents rather than just eliminate them all in one fell swoop. Richard Stallman suggested making existing patents as such un-weaponised, i.e. patents the holder simply cannot sue with, meaning that it’s about dissemination of ideas, credit, attribution, respect, etc.

Let’s not get distracted and obsessed with the ideas of those to whom "more patents" means "more business".

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