[Fsfe-ie] TODO, last patent action

Justin Mason jm at jmason.org
Wed Aug 13 23:15:07 CEST 2003

Ciaran O'Riordan writes:
> The european Green party/EFA, drafted an amendment with consultation
> from FFII.  If we can find the name/number of this amendment, it is
> probably one of the ones we want passed.

Good news, I did not know this.

> > 5. Write the one page "why patents are bad [for software]" sheet
> I'll try to post this to the list this weekend for comments.

I have some text somewhere too I think...

> On the use of code, Malcolm T. said:
> > It would certainly be useful for us to have one or two cananonical
> > examples, but I think it would be a bad idea to put code in the letter.
> > Many people have a very negative reaction to computer speak (similar to
> > mathematics) and may feel intimidated by it. Even if the MEPs could
> > understand the program, why should they want to? Remember, ours in only
> > one issue out of many that they will be concerned with at the moment.
> Hopefully we can come up with a bit of code that is so readable that
> they can just glance at it and say "That's all it is?".  So that they
> know it's just a logical approach to general problem solving. Maybe it
> will be too hard, we'll see what Sean (and maybe Aidan) produces.

A piece of pseudocode -- not in a real programming language -- would be

> > I think it might be better to describe a scenario rather than present an
> > example. Even better if that scenario describes what happens to "Irish
> > Company A".
> I'll see if I can throw some examples into my Patents Are Bad note.

That's a really good idea IMO.

BTW I picked up a nice bit of data from the FFII site last night --
It occurred to me to check who's actually registering software patent
applications with the EPO (you can apply for a sw patent, it may even be
granted -- many have been -- but they can't yet be enforced).

FFII have done the numbercrunching on this [1], and here's the figures:

Country of applicant			Patents applied with EPO
  US					20609
  JP					 9621
  All European countries combined	 9834
  CA					  899
  IL					  562
  AU					  452

So it looks like a legalisation of software patents in Europe will be
more likely to benefit *American* companies -- not European ones --
straight off the bat.

  [1]: http://swpat.ffii.org/patents/perled/index.en.html#appland


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