Bonum Certa Men Certa

Obama Can Determine If Software Patents Go Away or Go Global

Coburn and Obama discuss S. 2590



Summary: Why the patent reform (or lack thereof) is a matter of international importance amid Wikileaks revelations

THE PATENT SYSTEM penalises software developers who do not play by its rules and waste money (and time) on paperwork instead of code. The "[p]atent system is patently uneven," even according to Microsoft apologists who inevitably realise that patents are not beneficial to software developers. They already have copyrights and that ought to be more than enough.



"The global patent system has been debated behind closed doors and colonialist nations have been working hard, e.g. using lists of shame and sanctions, to pressure every nation to move into the fold."According to selected Cablegate cables that we have amassed (many more to come at a later date), the fake reform we saw at the USPTO is very much in alignment with the plan to just tweak everything internationally so as to make fusion easier when the time comes for globalisation of the patent offices (led by the trilateral members). The global patent system has been debated behind closed doors and colonialist nations have been working hard, e.g. using lists of shame and sanctions, to pressure every nation to move into the fold. According to IP Watch, an investigative Web site sceptical of intellectual monopolies, the "US Patent Law [Is] Seen Opening Door To Global Harmonisation At WIPO":

Just a week after US patent reform was signed into law, the Symposium of Intellectual Property Authorities opened with an air of celebration on 22 September at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). During the opening session, several keynote speakers congratulated United States Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos for the long-awaited legislation helping to harmonise the American patent process with the rest of the world.


This is just colonialism. It is a mechanism for asserting that whatever the developing world (euphemism for under-developed) achieves is the 'property' of the developed world. And as the President of the FFII puts it:

US patent reform to drive WIPO substantive harmonisation, and software patents at the global level?


This subject may be grossly under-covered, but we are really at the crossroad where software patents can either fall (there is a petition for Obama right now) or go universal. Here is an update regarding the petition:

At this moment, on the White House's official website for petitioning the government, the only thing as popular as legalizing marijuana and separating church from state is a petition to "Direct the Patent Office to Cease Issuing Software Patents."

There are lots of good reasons to end the practice of patenting software, including the fact that software patents are primarily a vehicle for transferring wealth from the innovators who create it to patent trolls whose sole "product" is litigation. (Software patents are also sometimes used by big companies to take their rivals down a peg or two, in what seems like an effort to pile up so many cross-licensing fees that they all cancel each other out.)


We really need "Change" in patent law. The 'reform' everyone talks about isn't it. As Gamasutra put it the other day, "don't expect "patent trolls" who plague the video game industry to go hiding under the bridge just yet, or other burdens on innovation and ingenuity to vanish into thin air."

The reform needs to go much further and the court system too needs to improve its clarity following decisions like this one, leading to allegations that "Appeals Court Arbitrarily Deciding What Is And What's Not Patentable" (according to Masnick).

"There is a very strong push to make a global patent system -- a push that Cablegate/Wikileaks make very visible."Quoting further from the article:"As James Bessen has said repeatedly, a working patent system would lead to clear boundaries. A broken patent system is one with ridiculously vague boundaries, because all that does is increase litigation. The Supreme Court really should have made a clear ruling in Bilski. Instead, in many ways, the confusion and uncertainty is making the system worse, and just encouraging greater litigation."

What is happening right now is troubling because the 'patent' courts -- not just the patent system -- are being further perturbed to the point where Europe is debating a centralised court for patent matters. It is that sort of move which can establish a no-escape policy for developers who are alleged to have infringed something by some company across the Pacific or the Atlantic. The reform in the US (or lack thereof) affects each and every one of us who buys or develops software products. There is a very strong push to make a global patent system -- a push that Cablegate/Wikileaks make very visible.

American (US) citizens: please sign this petition in President Obama's Drupal/Linux-powered site. 5,000 signatures were required to reach the milestone and get his attention, but there are already more than 10,000. This also helps generate press coverage and revive the debate.

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