Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Belatedly Comes Out in Defence of 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101/Alice

It did so before, but it was a long time ago


Summary: It's reassuring to see that the home of GNU and of Free software (free in as freedom, libre) has decided to weigh in again on patent policy -- something it has not done for a very long time

THE Free Software Foundation (FSF) is very important to us. We agree with it almost all the time, but for a number of years it has barely said anything about 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101; in fact, it hardly even bothered getting involved in the patent battles. It never commented on Campinos/Battistelli scandals or even Andrei Iancu, whose name it never uttered.

In the US there has been this push (since 2017) to eliminate or water down 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101/Alice (SCOTUS). Watchtroll, which is connected to this push (and the person who leads this push), keeps leveraging the European Patent Office (EPO) and has repeatedly done so lately to promote software patents in Europe and in the US. "Mistakes to Avoid When Filing Computer-Implemented Invention Patents at the EPO" was published yesterday and we often feel rather alone if not lonely in challenging this toxic agenda, which isn't only illegal but serves to inspire U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) policy.

"We certainly hope that this is the first of several similar waves from the FSF; in recent years it was mostly the EFF and very rarely the FSF tackling the problem."Some hours ago the FSF belatedly wrote against the STRONGER Patents Act, which is a misnomer. To quote:

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has long been opposed to the ways in which US and international patent law have been misused to allow for so-called "software patents." As these patents are not held over a particular piece of software, but rather any principle that can be used in its design, it is more accurate to describe them as software idea patents. Software idea patents are a grave threat to free software developers because they severely limit the scope of what they can or cannot implement, and also expose them to legal harassment from any group that has enough resources to enforce their unjust claim over a programming idea. Litigation on a software idea patent can spell financial ruin for developers and an abrupt end to any free software project. An upcoming bill in Congress would leave the free software community much more open to these kinds of attacks.

Despite its failure to pass in 2017, a bill with the appropriately Orwellian title of "Support Technology and Research of Our Nation's Growth and Economic Resilience" (STRONGER) Patents Act was reintroduced into Congress on July 10th, 2019. If passed, the Act would make software idea patents much more easily claimed and enforceable against developers in the free software community. Whatever its effects on other types of patents may be, the fact that it will prop up software idea patents is reason enough to reject it. As we have seen before, it is an attempt to patch a broken system. The proposed bill never bothers to question the validity of these patents as a category. To protect our community, it is our duty to inform Congress and legislators that the only remedy for the problem posed by software idea patents is to dismantle them entirely.

We certainly hope that this is the first of several similar waves from the FSF; in recent years it was mostly the EFF and very rarely the FSF tackling the problem. This is the kind of thing that motivated some of our readers to say that the FSF is asleep at the wheel. This, we believe, is one of the very biggest threats to Software Freedom.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Gemini at 3,800+
total number of known capsules at above 3.8k
IBM Sends Money to Microsoft
Red Hat basically helps sponsor the company that's a attacking our community
Be a Navalny
We salute Mr. Navalny
Mozilla Firefox is Back in ~2% Territories, Jeopardising Its Status as Web Browser to Test/Target/Validate With
Some new stats
Now Only Has Adoption of Windows Vista 11 Flatlined/Plateaued, Now It is Going Down!
Did many people delete Vista 11 and install GNU/Linux instead?
[Meme] Russian Standards of Law: The Executive Branch Decides Everything
the president's kangaroo court
Up Next: The Tricky Relationship Between the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO and the European Patent Organisation (EPO)
We've moved from presidents who run a republic by consent to corrupt, unqualified, dictatorial officials who bribe for the seat (buying the votes)
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 02, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, March 02, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Beware Imposter Sites of Techrights (Not or
Only trust pages accessed through the domains controlled by us
Italy visa & residence permit: Albanian Outreachy, Wikimedia & Debian tighten control over woman
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 02/03/2024: Actual Journalists Under Attack, More Software Patents Being Challenged
Links for the day
Gemini Links 02/03/2024: NixOS on GPD, Meson Woes
Links for the day
statCounter March 2024 Statistics (Preliminary)
Notice Asia
Links 02/03/2024: More Lawsuits Against Microsoft, Facebook Killing Hard-To-Find News
Links for the day
ZDNet (Red Ventures) Works for Microsoft (Redmond), Many Of Its Pages Are Spam/Advertisements Paid for by Microsoft
Here is the "smoking gun"
Wikipedia Demotes CNET Due to Chatbot-Generated Spew as 'Articles'; It Should Do the Same to ZDNet (Also Red Ventures, Also Microsoft Propaganda)
Redmond Ventures?
The Direction WordPress (GPL) Has Taken is an Embarrassment
it comes with strings attached
When the Cancer 'Metastasises'
We had a red flag
March in Techrights (EPO Litigation and More)
One theme we'll explore a lot when it comes to GNU/Linux is the extent to which communities truly serve communities
Don't Forget to Also Follow Tux Machines
We've split the material
Yandex Usage Has Surged Since the Invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft Fell to 0.7% (It Was 1.7% Before the 'Bing Chat' Hype Campaign)
In Soviet Russia, Bing searches user
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 01, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, March 01, 2024
Sellout Completed: Linux Foundation Converging With the Gates Foundation
not a joke
Hitler Rants Parodies on Steve Ballmer
Parody created using clips from Downfall (Der Untergang)
With Windows This Low (27% of the "OS" Market), Steve Ballmer Would Have Thrown Another Chair
The media produced many puff pieces about Nadella at 10 (as CEO), but what has he done for Windows? Nothing.
[Meme] The Naked President
EPO Suffers From Shrinkage
Attacks on the EPC: Reality and Fiction
EPO leaks
Understanding Cardinal George Pell prosecution, Institutional abuse & Debian cybertorture
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 01/03/2024: Many More Layoffs, "Funerals" for Software Patents in the US
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: OFFLFIRSOCH 2024 and Dark Streets Tech Demo
Links for the day
Links 01/03/2024: Navalny Funeral and Media Under Attack
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Making Art and the Concept of Work Management
Links for the day
Schriftleitergesetz: Hiding the Holocaust with censorship
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] His Lips Moved
Here is your national "news" for today
statCounter: GNU/Linux Exceeded 6% in Asia Last Month (Compared to 4% Just 12 Months Earlier)
numbers may be biased
What the End of Journalism Looks Like
All on the same day
Links 01/03/2024: Microsoft 'Retiring' More Services and Raspberry Pi Celebrates 3rd Birthday (Launched on February 29th, 2012)
Links for the day
Women's Empowerment
Sponsored by Bill Gates
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Speed Bumps and Analog Stuff
Links for the day
[Meme] Those Greedy EPO Examiners
Says the litigation industry, charging 300 euros an hour per attorney
EPO Discriminates Against Families of Its Own Workers, the Union Explains Legal Basis Upon Which It's Likely Illegal and Must be Challenged
To the Council, the EPO boasts about its wealth (seeking to impress by how much breaking the law "pays off")
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 29, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 29, 2024
Links 01/03/2024: Misuse of Surveillance Against UK-Based Journalism, EPO Conflict Now in the Media
Links for the day
Taking a Break From Paid Promotion of the Illegal, Unconstitutional Kangaroo Court for Patents (UPC)
JUVE returns to its 'roots'?