EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.10.13

The Patent Lawyers in the EU and NZ Must Not Decide on Patent Policy Including Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Two lawyers

Summary: Two of the primary battlegrounds defining the future of software patents are infiltrated by special interests, representing less than 1% of the population

The EPO and the EU Patent are two of the forces which strive to expand the scope of patents to software, even in Europe. Lobbying from multinationals such as Microsoft contributed to that. A few days ago we saw a law firm trying to tilt the debate while patent lawyers framed the issue as trying to “limit” software patents (which are already sort of banned). See the article “German proposal to limit software patenting”. They want to reinforce a ban, not to limit software patents [1, 2, 3]. The author somehow ties Open Source into it when he concludes with: “Reform recommendation 3 is vague. As mentioned above, open source is often attractive but may not always provide the best solution – either in terms of guaranteeing long term investment in research and technical innovation, or in terms of meeting current commercial needs. The patent system provides important incentives for research and investment, and great care is needed before creating exceptions that will bypass long-established and effective laws and change the commercial landscape.”

Research does not require patents. That’s a myth. Investment does not necessitate monopolies, either. Academia is a good example of that. Over in New Zealand there is a similar war being waged by patent lawyers against the rest of the population. This new analysis we found says:

Last month, the IT sector in New Zealand celebrated the passing of a bill that removes the patentability of software, perceived to be a major barrier to software-led innovation, from the Patents Bill.

In fact, many countries around the world either already forbid software from being patented, or are in the process of doing so. But, isn’t a patent supposed to help innovation, so why would any government forbid software from being patented in their country?

A patent gives an inventor the monopoly on the use of their idea for an extended period of time. In return, the inventor has to disclose the secret behind the invention to the public. The system is designed to induce the sharing of idea and knowledge, something which would have been kept secret if there were no such system in place.

The designers of the patent system believed that the sharing of knowledge behind inventions would lead to more invention, which would in turn lead to general benefits to society.

No, this is not the case. In the age of the Internet dissemination of ideas — especially software ideas — is very simple and it is rewarded in various ways. Throwing in the word “innovation” is pointless as it’s mostly a marketing term. Society does not benefit from monopolies but from a maximal sharing if knowledge, which speeds up what the author can call “innovation”. The author, Jay Jootar, is a management guy, not an engineer. It’s not surprising to see the debate starting like this, but like many VCs he recognises that patents mostly benefit the large multinationals (of which New Zealand has almost none that’s domestic). To quote his final words:

Big companies accumulate patents, not to use them for innovation, but to protect themselves in patent disputes by counter-suing the other parties. A case in point is Google’s acquisition of Motorola and its patents to protect itself from lawsuits by Apple and Microsoft, among others.

The software patent obviously has no benefit whatsoever for society, innovation and tech start-ups.

What about Thailand? Luckily, we are among the countries that do not allow software patents, except for special circumstances. This is one of a few things we have done right. Hopefully, no one is clueless enough to change that.

The fear here is that lawyers at various levels are hijacking the debate about software patents, striving to make those expand outwards from the United States. Developers and ordinary people who buy electronics need to intervene more.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  2. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  3. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  4. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  5. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  6. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  7. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  8. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  9. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  10. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  11. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  12. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  13. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  14. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  15. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  16. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  17. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  18. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  19. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  20. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  21. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  22. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  23. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  24. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  26. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  27. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  28. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  29. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  30. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts