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

Rory Browne rbmlist at gmail.com
Tue Jul 1 10:02:48 CEST 2008

I think we need a new stratagy to tackle the problematic aspects of software
patents, and not
software patents themselves.

The main reason that patents are so problematic in software, is that the
speed of advancement in
software technology is so much greater than in the traditional fields that
patents were designed for.

Even if we do stop software patents, people will come up ( and have come up
with ) with work-arounds
that patent the raw methods, and don't mention the fact that they are

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.

2008/7/1 Ciaran O'Riordan <ciaran at fsfe.org>:

> In this mostly-quiet period, I've been thinking about what harmed/harms our
> software patent lobbying, and I'm wondering if it's our complete reliance
> on
> the term "software patents".
> We've invested a lot of energy in that term, so it should be kept, but it's
> practically impossible to have a meaningful conversation with the European
> Commission or EPO about "software patents".  They just use their own
> ludicrous definition and tell everyone that they agree with us and that
> current and proposed legislation doesn't support "software patents"
> etc. etc.
> Then they say that they do support Computer Implemented Inventions, and
> they
> define that in a broad way that encompassing all inventions that make use
> of
> a computer - and we're left unable to say that CIIs are bad.
> ...but it doesn't have to be this way.  Terms could be avoided altogether
> by
> just mentioning "problematic patents in the software field" and then giving
> a one-sentence explanation like "such as patents on how to display, store,
> or communicate data".
> So what I'd like to ask is, do people think this would help, and can anyone
> suggest better wordings?  Does that one-sentence explanation pretty much
> cover what we care about (without covering something we don't have a
> position on)?
> (Keeping in mind that the more precise it gets, the more excuse the EC/EPO
> person has of using a "I don't know the exact technical details of this"
> response.)
> Meanwhile, things are happening in India.  Their patent office has
> published
> a draft for a new manual, which can be viewed along with comments from the
> likes of Microsoft and Redhat here:
> http://www.ipindia.nic.in/ipr/patent/manual.htm
> --
> Ciarán O'Riordan (+32 477 36 44 19) \ Support Free Software and GNU/Linux
> http://ciaran.compsoc.com/ _________ \     Join FSFE's Fellowship:
> http://fsfe.org/fellows/ciaran/weblog \      http://www.fsfe.org
> _______________________________________________
> fsfe-ie at fsfeurope.org mailing list
> List information: http://mail.fsfeurope.org/pipermail/fsfe-ie
> Public archive: https://mail.fsfeurope.org/mailman/listinfo/fsfe-ie
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mail.fsfeurope.org/pipermail/fsfe-ie/attachments/20080701/49514599/attachment.htm 

More information about the FSFE-IE mailing list