[Fsfe-ie] patent letter to be sent thursday night (v2)

Ben North ben at redfrontdoor.org
Thu May 6 16:00:41 CEST 2004

Couple of comments on the draft letter.  I know you said not to worry
about spelling mistakes, but "it's" vs "its" is a pet peeve of mine,
sorry :-)  I think the approach is good --- point out that the
democratic process of the parliament has already been through all this,
which is surely the right place for policy decisions to be made.  Brief
summary of the arguments against software patents, and "look at what
happened in the US".  Let's hope it makes a difference.



- - - - 8< - - - -

Hope line breaks etc. don't get too mangled:

> On September 24th 2003, we were pleased [...] it is imperative that
> Irelands representation on the Commission uphold the decision [...]
                                                      ^ "democratic"

> I've kept the letter to a readable length
       "tried to keep this letter brief" sounds a bit less patronising.

> but IFSO [...] will make itself available to answer
                 "would be happy to answer" sounds less aloof.

> [...]
> In contrast, the one software innovation that has produced the
  ^^^^^^^^^^^  not clear what this is in contrast to.  Maybe drop "In contrast,

> [...]
> If individual software implementable ideas become ownable, that

> Incompatibility [...]  If market leaders could patent some
> techniques required to read or write their file formats, competition
> in many fields would become impractical.
                                       add "Consumers lose out."

> In some fields of development, it is hoped that the barriers created
> by patents will lead to new solutions to problems (lateral
> innovation), but when trying to read or write data in an arbitrary
> format, there are many situations where only one technique can be
> used.  When companies use such techniques, lateral innovation will not
> be encouraged because it would be of no use.

Perhaps drop this paragraph?

> In America, large software developing companies find it impossible to
> develop new software without infringing eachothers patents, so
                                        "each other's"
> companies with large patent porfolios cross-license with eachother.
                                                          "each other"

> [...]  Recently, more than a decade after software became
> patentable, the US Federal Trade Commission have released a damning
> report on what effect they have seen with software patentability.

Include some paper excerpts in the envelope, or a quote or two?

> [...] they face no risk because
> they don't development any software of their own.

> An even more recent problem is "submarine patents": Patents that are
> filed but not enforced for a decade, then the owner starts fleecing people
Maybe too emotive?  Maybe "then the owner starts aggressively pursuing
people for licence fees"?

> (Like Microsoft are doing with the FAT filesystem patents).

Drop this?  Perhaps too technical an example?

> Another *great* example is the recent jpeg patent.
                                            ^"image file" to clarify for
                                            general audience?

> The EU economy, and the security of Europes governments, industries,
> and citizens is increasingly dependent on software.  For this reason,
> the EU must retain control of it's software systems: it must be
                                ^^^^ "its"
> permitted to develop it's own.
                       ^^^^ "its"
> Free Software [...]
> [...]
> In a market encumbered by software patents, development of Free
> Software would be severely restricted.  Due to it's innability to
                                                 "its inability"

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