10.21.15

Gemini version available ♊︎

Slate Magazine Explains Why Excessive Patenting is a Bad Thing, Gives a Cautionary Tale for EPO and Others

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They [EPO examiners] claim that the organisation is decentralising and focusing on granting as many patents as possible to gain financially from fees generated.” —Expatica, European Patent Office staff on strike

Slate logoSummary: Slate publishes a lengthy new article explaining why software patents are a very bad idea or why excessive patenting leads to chaos

THERE is a new article about software patents. It is a long article from Slate, which according to Wikipedia was “initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN.” Thankfully, this magazine is no longer a mouthpiece of Microsoft because it got sold.

“What the history of Eskimo Pies tells us about software patents today,” says the secondary headline of this new article from Slate. The article explains the perils and the downsides of excessive patenting, stating that “we generally think of patents as good things: rewards for meritorious inventors. It might seem, then, that stronger patents would lead only to good things for inventors and for society overall. Indeed, many of those debating patent reform in Congress take that very tack to the issue.”

“Patent rights, when too strong, can be a liability rather than an asset.”
      –Slate
That’s a mythology and a big lie, promoted to a large degree by large corporations and corporate media.

“But too much of a good thing,” continues the author, “isn’t always better, as anyone who has ever had an ice cream headache can attest. Patent rights, when too strong, can be a liability rather than an asset. [...] A patent’s exclusive right can be drawn narrowly to cover only a specific invention. Or it can be drawn broadly, to block a wide range of products sharing certain basic features. A broad patent is obviously more valuable to the owner. But a patent cannot be so broad as to cover old ideas, those in the “prior art” to use patent law terminology. It would make little sense, after all, to grant someone the powerful exclusionary patent right on an idea already known to the world.”

This is a timely reminder to EPO staff, which is sometimes being pressured to grant software patents in Europe despite them not even being legal. It’s easy to form an hypothesis about why this is happening. Just look at EPO events such as this one, where Grant Philpott, Principal Director Telecommunications & Computers at the European Patent Office, is chairing a session with keynote speeches like these:

Trends and developments in the protection and commercialisation of software-related patents in India

Pravin Anand, Managing Partner, Anand & Anand

Presentation (PDF, 5725 KB)

The needs and experiences of European industry in protecting their computer-implemented inventions in India

Gabriele Mohsler, Vice-President, Patent Development, IPR & Licencing, Ericsson

This looks like an event promoting software patents not only in India, where these are illegal (although there is lobbying to change that now), but also in Europe, where these are practically illegal, mischievous loopholes aside (Brimelow’s “as such” for combination with devices). Don’t allow patent maximalists like the EPO (looking to maximise profit, as if it's a private business, not a neutral public service) distort Europe’s patent policy in a gross, undemocratic fashion. As a software practitioner myself (one among millions in Europe), I can safely say that it should programmers who get to decide on such policy, not a bunch of greedy patent lawyers, congregating in private meetings where they sometimes influence politicians.

“[Y]ou’re creating a new 20-year monopoly for no good reason.”

David Kappos (formerly head of the USPTO) speaking about patents

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. The Future of Techrights

    Futures are difficult to predict, but our general vision for the years ahead revolves around more community involvement and less (none or decreased) reliance on third parties, especially monopolistic corporations, mostly because they oppress the population via the network and via electronic devices



  2. [Meme] UPC for CJEU

    When you do illegal things and knowingly break the law to get started with a “legal” system you know it’ll end up in tears… or the CJEU



  3. Links 20/1/2022: 'Pluton' Pushback and Red Hat Satellite 6.10.2

    Links for the day



  4. The Web is a Corporate Misinformation/Disinformation Platform, Biased Against Communities, Facts, and Science

    Misinformation/disinformation in so-called 'news' sites is a pandemic which spreads; in the process, the founder of GNU/Linux gets defamed and GNU/Linux itself is described as the problem, not the solution to the actual problems



  5. Links 20/1/2022: McKinsey Openwashing and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 19, 2022



  7. Links 20/1/2022: Linuxfx 11.1 WxDesktop 11.0.3 and FreeIPMI 1.6.9 Released

    Links for the day



  8. Links 19/1/2022: XWayland 22.1 RC1 and OnlyOffice 7.0 Release

    Links for the day



  9. Links 19/1/2022: ArchLabs 2022.01.18 and KDE's 15-Minute Bug Initiative

    Links for the day



  10. When Twitter Protects Abusers and Abuse (and Twitter's Sponsors)

    Twitter is an out-of-control censorship machine and it should be treated accordingly even by those who merely "read" or "follow" Twitter accounts; Twitter is a filter, not a news/media platform or even means of communication



  11. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 18, 2022



  12. Links 19/1/2022: Wine 7.x Era Begins and Istio 1.12.2 is Out

    Links for the day



  13. Another Video IBM Does Not Want You to Watch

    It seems very much possible that IBM (or someone close to IBM) is trying to purge me from Twitter, so let’s examine what they may be trying to distract from. As we put it 2 years ago, "Watson" is a lot more offensive than those supposedly offensive words IBM is working to purge; think about those hundreds of Red Hat workers who are black and were never told about ethnic purges of blacks facilitated by IBM (their new boss).



  14. What IBM Does Not Want You to Watch

    Let's 'Streisand it'...



  15. Good News, Bad News (and Back to Normal)

    When many services are reliant on the integrity of a single, very tiny MicroSD card you're only moments away from 2 days of intensive labour (recovery, investigation, migration, and further coding); we've learned our lessons and took advantage of this incident to upgrade the operating system, double the storage space, even improve the code slightly (for compatibility with newer systems)



  16. Someone Is Very Desperate to Knock My Account Off Twitter

    Many reports against me — some successful — are putting my free speech (and factual statements) at risk



  17. Links 18/1/2022: Deepin 20.4 and Qubes OS 4.1.0 RC4

    Links for the day



  18. Links 18/1/2022: GNOME 42 Alpha and KStars 3.5.7

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 17, 2022



  20. Links 17/1/2022: More Microsoft-Connected FUD Against Linux as Its Share Continues to Fall

    Links for the day



  21. The GUI Challenge

    The latest article from Andy concerns the Command Line Challenge



  22. Links 17/1/2022: digiKam 7.5.0 and GhostBSD 22.01.12 Released

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 16, 2022



  24. Links 17/1/2022: postmarketOS 21.12 Service Pack 1 and Mumble 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] Gemini Space (or Geminispace): From 441 Working Capsules to 1,600 Working Capsules in Just 12 Months

    Gemini space now boasts 1,600 working capsules, a massive growth compared to last January, as we noted the other day (1,600 is now official)



  26. [Meme] European Patent Office Space

    The EPO maintains a culture of illegal surveillance, inherited from Benoît Battistelli and taken to a whole new level by António Campinos



  27. Gemini Rings (Like Webrings) and Shared Spaces in Geminspace

    Much like the Web of 20+ years ago, Gemini lets online communities — real communities (not abused tenants, groomed to be ‘monetised’ like in Facebook or Flickr) — form networks, guilds, and rings



  28. Links 16/1/2022: Latte Dock 0.11 and librest 0.9.0

    Links for the day



  29. The Corporate Cabal (and Spy Agencies-Enabled Monopolies) Engages in Raiding of the Free Software Community and Hacker Culture

    In an overt attack on the people who actually did all the work — the geeks who built excellent software to be gradually privatised through the Linux Foundation (a sort of price-fixing and openwashing cartel for shared interests of proprietary software firms) — is receiving more widespread condemnation; even the OSI has been bribed to become a part-time Microsoft outsourcer as organisations are easier to corrupt than communities



  30. EPO's Web Site Constantly Spammed by Lies About Privacy While EPO Breaks the Law and Outsources Data to the United States

    The António Campinos-led EPO works for imperialism, it not only protects the rich; sadly, António’s father isn’t alive anymore and surely he would blast his son for doing what he does to progress his career while lying to staff and European citizens


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