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

09.08.15

Free Software Establishments in India Fight Back as Efforts to Spread Software Patents Are Reported

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

Summary: India’s move towards software patents already encounters opposition from the Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) and China’s new obsession with software patents is addressed

SOFTWARE patents are truly a menace. Virtually no software developers would ever defend these, except maybe their ‘pioneer’. These are hurting even proprietary software companies, not just Free software developers. As the Microsoft booster Tim Anderson put it yesterday, “[l]egal woes (and cracked licence keys) cause dev favourites to throw in the towel”. He wrote about “Iron Speed, a firm which provided a rapid application development tool for creating .NET apps [which] is shuttering itself thanks to “litigation with a patent troll”, according to a letter sent to customers by co-founder and chairman Alan Fisher.”

The fight against software patents ought to be a common cause among proprietary and Free/Open Source software developers. Conglomerates such as Microsoft and IBM, which are not run by developers, want software patents in order to merely cement their monopolies, which they acquired only because of lack of software patents (back when they were small). Companies that focus on software can only succeed and thrive in the absence of monopolies on algorithms.

“The fight against software patents ought to be a common cause among proprietary and Free/Open Source software developers.”India’s policy on algorithm monopolies has been sound for a number of years, especially given the large number of software developers in India (both proprietary and Free/Open Source software developers). We were therefore rather stunned to learn that India is making a terrible, suicidal move. The Indian Patent Office sells out, causing huge issues for everyone, based on patent-centric sites. There is a panic among everyone except patent lawyers. Some rightly ask: “Will It Stifle Innovation in the IT Industry?”

Of course, it has been repeatedly shown in practice and in theory. India is making even more impact in the media (even international networks like Reuters [1, 2] by giving Pfizer the finger again. As PTI put it, “India rejects Pfizer’s patent application for arthritis drug”. Pfizer just wants another monopoly and India, realising the ethical impact, denies/declines. Why can’t the Indian Patent Office realise that patents on software too are unethical, irrational, and damaging to India? Who is this patent office working for? As one site put it: “The Indian Patent Office (IPO) has addressed limitations on patents for computer-related inventions to clarify the Patents (Amendment) Act 2002.”

It didn’t just address limitations; the word “limitations” has a negative connotation, as if patent maximalism is a good thing.

“Free Software activists against changes to patent norms” is the headline of this new article in English, which shows that the Free software types are already responding to this crisis. To quote the opening paragraph: “The Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) has alleged that the new Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions are illogical. It argues that they violate the spirit and law contained in the amended Patents Act of 1970 and could pose a grave threat to innovation in our country.”

There are meanwhile reports also from China, the other Asian technology giant. “Last year,” said this article, “for the fourth year running, China topped the patent league with 928,000 patent applications compared to 578,800 patents filed in the USA.”

This is not because of increased innovation but due to patent maximalism. As this new article indicates, software patents are becoming widespread in China (we wrote about this trend before). To quote the lawyers’ site:

Patenting computer software inventions makes sense for the Chinese e-commerce industry for three reasons. First, the Chinese government wants more businesses to patent their technological innovations. This policy is supported at the national level and the central government pays for inventors to apply for patents. Second, e-commerce is very important in China. One quarter of all consumer purchases in China are done on-line. And that number is unlikely to get smaller. Third, today’s Chinese consumers have many options and they have grown to expect quality products, quick service and reasonable prices.

For most active businesses, the third reason is the key. Finding an edge in meeting those consumer expectations has made for a fiercely competitive marketplace. Protecting process innovations that involve software improvements is, as it is everywhere, problematic. How are computer software inventions protected in China as a matter of law?

China would not gain any advantage by allowing patents on software. It would just be wasting time and other resources composing documents in Mandarin. A lot of these so-called ‘innovations’ are not innovative at all; they can be found in existing patents (maybe in other languages) and refer to ideas that got implemented a very long time ago. These patents are good for nothing, except maybe serve as trophies (although the higher the number of such ‘trophies’, the less impressive each becomes).

Business hawks in the US are not resting [1, 2]. They still lobby against patent reform in the US, pretending it would “hurt innovation”, “weaken patent laws”, and the usual nonsense about hurting businesses, which is exactly what patent law does at the moment (hence the need for reform). To quote the latter example, here is why the hawks have just resumed this lobbying (it’s about timing): “Toward the end of each summer lawmakers travel back to their home states and districts for the August recess. This time away from our nation’s capital allows elected officials to reconnect with constituents and hear which issues matter most to folks back home.”

US officials will hopefully work towards a real reform, not the diluted one which had been tabled before they went on holiday.

It is rather worrisome to see software patents spreading to large parts of the global economy (India, China, and even Europe if the corrupt EPO management gets its way) while the US itself, the original source of these patents, is coming to grips with the harms of these patents and cutting down accordingly.

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. The European Patent Office Remains a Crooked Patent Office That Harms Staff and Abolishes the Rule of Law

    The EPO remains a sordid mess, but those who follow mainstream media might not know anything about it because it's not covered anywhere in 2019



  2. USPTO and EPO Faking Growth by Granting Patents on Everything in Nature, But Campaigners Strike Back

    The patent microcosm is eating the world; everything under the Sun must be patented, they insist, even life itself (so they can 'pirate' the Commons and then charge us a tax for 'access' or 'license' to it)



  3. IBM Happy That Patent Quality at EPO Collapsed and It's Easy to Get Software Patents

    The EPO keeps granting illegal European Patents and the media almost never mentions this illegality because it's in too amicable a relationship (typically financial) with the EPO



  4. The Linux Foundation's Staff Uses Windows and Microsoft. Now the Foundation Outsources the Coding and Hosting, Too (to Microsoft of Course).

    The disturbing turns of the self-described "Linux" Foundation, which seems to be promoting proprietary software and even Microsoft rather than Linux and Free/Open Source software while the role or capacity of Torvalds is being gradually diminished



  5. Links 25/6/2019: Raspberry Pi 4, Ubuntu's Change of Mind, Wayland’s Weston 6.0.1

    Links for the day



  6. Patent Extremism: Stacking the Panels, the Surveys, the Hearings, the Debates

    Projection tactics would have the public believe that those who oppose corruption are simply radicals; patent polarity has come to the point where if one isn't a "true believer" in blackmail (patent trolls) or opposes bribery, then one is simply a "fringe" and akin to terrorists



  7. Links 24/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC6, Skrooge 2.20.0, ZFS vs. OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  8. The EPO Needs a President Who Obeys the Law, Not One Who Obeys Battistelli

    Succession based on nepotism at Europe's second-largest institution served to shown how inherently broken things had become and why cover-up of injustices is nowadays paramount (not fixing the flaws/ills but merely perpetuating them)



  9. With Water (Treatment) Already Patented It Won't Take Long for Patents (and Patent Royalties) on Air

    A 'paper economy' is what Europe turns into if the current trajectory is followed (led by lawyers, not producers)



  10. Bill Gates Said He Was on a “Jihad” Against GNU/Linux, But GNU/Linux Users/Developers Engaged in Self-Defense Are Foul-Mouthed 'Microsoft Haters'?

    Microsoft, which routinely commits very serious crimes, tries to come across as some sort of philanthropy whereas those who share their work with the public (for greater good) are described as erratic, rude and unworthy of respect from corporations (outcasts basically, deprived of income source)



  11. What Patents the EPO Has Just Awarded (With a Special Reward), Not Just Granted

    The EPO's practice of elevating some patents over the other patents (European Patents) is perhaps more of a societal liability than the EPO cares to realise



  12. Required Reading: Mental State of Team Battistelli/Campinos

    On the heels of yesterday's article about Team Battistelli/Campinos, here are some recommended/required papers on the problem which likely plagues the Office



  13. Links 23/6/2019: Wine 4.11, FreeBSD 11.3 RC2

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Apparently Did a Patrick Durusau on Wim Coekaerts to Broaden Its Control Over GNU/Linux

    Microsoft tactics for defection and takeover of the competition (without coming across as hostile) aren't new tactics; internal documents from Microsoft explain how to achieve this



  15. EPO Directors Would be Wise to Rebel Against Team Campinos While They Still Have the Job

    As the EPO continues its bold journey towards dictatorship (where presidencies are passed between friends and ‘circles’ are former colleagues or close confidants) Techrights urges those who have power to speak out — e.g. EPO judges and Directors — to do something before it’s too late



  16. American Front Group Open Invention Network (Riding the Linux Brand) is a Proponent of Software Patents in Europe

    The impact of American multinationals in Europe is difficult to deny; in fact, we're observing the same old lobbying/lobbies still working hard albeit more covertly (typically using front groups)



  17. Say 'Hey Hi' to Software Patents

    Using the “AI” (“HEY HI”) hype the ‘community’ of patent maximalists hopes that every little (and possibly very old) algorithm will suddenly sound amazing and innovative — to the point where it becomes unthinkable to deny a patent monopoly on it



  18. A Personal Note From Ted MacReilly (How Microsoft Works Against GNU/Linux)

    A tongue-in-cheek write-up highlighting the ways Microsoft insiders think and how they strategise against GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  19. The Linux Foundation's New Vice Chair, Wim Coekaerts, Worked for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation is boosting the Microsoft boosters and calls that "community"



  20. Links 21/6/2019: GNOME 3.33.3, 32-Bit Support Further Neglected, DragonFlyBSD 5.6.1 Released

    Links for the day



  21. Leaked: Harassment of EPO Directors by Team Campinos

    “New BIT organisation and staff changes,” a novel kind of newspeak, means that Directors are being severely punished without due process at all (“hidden disciplinary measure without disciplinary proceedings”)



  22. Patent Professionals in Europe Have Devolved Into a Marketing Industry

    Lies, buzzwords and hype waves is all that the patent bubble in Europe boils down to these days; loads of bogus patents get granted only for European judges to smack these down (if one can afford the court battle)



  23. Almost Six Months After Iancu Said He Would Make Software Patents Great Again Nothing Has Actually Changed

    We're just a fortnight away from the ludicrous plan of Iancu celebrating 6 months (without accomplishing anything)



  24. Links 20/6/2019: Kubernetes 1.15, Alpine 3.10.0 and Librem 5 June Software Update

    Links for the day



  25. Ignore the EPO's Dumb Festival and Focus on the Abuses Against the Workforce and Its Quality of Work

    Don’t lose sight of the appalling behaviour of the management of the EPO; the last thing it wants is press coverage about its gross abuses and corruption — an aspect it spent literally millions of euros to bury (gaming the news cycle)



  26. Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

    Microsoft isn't changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its "Open Source" (or "Open at Microsoft") people, who did this to me



  27. Links 19/6/2019: Linux Mint Vs Vista 10, Qt 5.13 Released

    Links for the day



  28. The Linux Foundation's Business Model

    The Linux Foundation's plan, illustrated



  29. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day



  30. Indifference or Even Hostility Towards Patent Quality Results in Grave Injustice

    The patent extravaganza in Europe harms small businesses the most (they complain about it), but administrative staff at patent offices only cares about the views of prolific applicants rather than the interests of citizens in respective countries


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