[Fsfe-ie] Patents letter, V4

Ian Clarke ian at locut.us
Tue Jan 25 17:41:32 CET 2005

Some minor corrections/suggestions:

On 25 Jan 2005, at 15:34, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> ---8<--------------------------------------------------
> Dear Council Representative,
> On behalf of Irish Free Software Organisation (IFSO), I am writing to 
> you

> regarding Directive 2002/0047 COD.  IFSO requests that this directive, 
> "on
> the patentability of computer related inventions", be changed from an 
> A-list
> item to a B-list item on the grounds that it permits the patenting of
> software ideas - an outcome contrary to the stated aim of most of the
> previous Council members.
> The original version from the European Commission contained unclear 
> wording
> which would have allowed the patentability of software ideas.  This 
> issue was
> fixed by the European Parliament in September 2003.  In May 2004, 
> similar
> unclear wording was reintroduced by the European Council.
> IFSO believes that the members of the European Council were deceived 
> by the
> wording of the replacement amendments presented to them, and IFSO 
> would like
> to see this directive fixed while it's still possible.
> First I would like to summarise the two problems caused by software 
> idea
> patents, and some of the follow on harm.  I'll be brief as you may 
> already
> be familiar with this issue.  If you'd like us to expand or back up 
> any of
> these, our contact details are at the end of this letter.
> Problem 1:
> Every individual and business can currently write software.
> The current cost of writing software is zero.  If this directive 
> legalises

Strange sentence structure, how about: Currently, there is no inherent 
cost in writing software.

> the patenting of software, then writing software would carry the risk 
> of
> patent infringement litigation.  This cost is far too high for most
> individuals and businesses.  The avoid litigation, a software writer 
> could

*To* avoid ligitation

change "could" to "must"

> perform a patent search to confirm that none of the ideas they 
> implement
> have been patented.  The lawyer's fees for such searches are high, and 
> the
> software writer would still not be certain that the lawyer missed 
> something,

lawyer *didn't* miss something

> or that a judge would interpret a patent the same way the patent 
> searcher
> did.  Even the cost of challenging a claim of patent infringement is 
> too
> high for most individuals and businesses.  Thus, most people would 
> lose the

didn't someone estimate this to be around $2,000,000 ?

Have to go out now, may have more comments on the remainder,


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