[Fsfe-ie] New terms for software patents debate?

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at fsfe.org
Tue Jul 1 11:39:22 CEST 2008

"Rory Browne" <rbmlist at gmail.com> writes:
> I think what we need is a clause, that allows the free implementation of
> patents in software after a shorter time period ( maybe 2-3 years ), which
> would basicly mean that software patents ( whether labeled as such or not
> ) would effectively expire in 2-3 years.

This is difficult to ask for since the TRIPS agreement requires that patents
last 20 years.

Another problem is that the start of a patents' term of validity is
back-dated to when the application was made, IIRC.  Because the EPO is so
overloaded, application processing time is currently measured in years.  So
a 2-3 year duration might be completely unacceptable to the EPO since it
would lead to patents that are expired-on-grant (we would have a hard time
selling this idea to politicians).  This should be fixed, but we might be,
ah, spraying water against the wind if we try to fix the general the
problems of the European patent system while trying to fix our specific

And if the pharma lobby get worried that this idea will spread to other
domains, we could gain new powerful enemies that we don't need.

Ciarán O'Riordan, +32 477 36 44 19, http://ciaran.compsoc.com/

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