Red Hat is great
Posted Sep 30, 2010 3:35 UTC (Thu) by FlorianMueller
In reply to: Red Hat is great
Parent article: Red Hat Responds to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Request for Guidance on Bilski
We don't know what influence their brief had on the court.
I didn't say it had, or it didn't have, influence. I pointed out that they asked for "affirmance" and failed to get it.
For all we know, the court might have been considering making software patentable
It does't have to make software patentable because it already is. The question wasn't whether they were going to introduce software patents as a new thing. It was whether they were going to be restrictive.
It's a public statement, so we can always point to it when we need an example of a software company that innovates, develops, and earns profits without suing its competitors.
A business model that even a Red Hat investor described to me as "parasitic" is obviously not a good reference that will convince policy-makers.
As you point out, we need business support. ...then when we get it, you complain.
I didn't say it's bad that if companies speak out against software patents although, as I said before, policy-makers won't feel that Red Hat's business model can work for the economy at large.
I pointed out that the way they did this isn't a serious initiative. The Supreme Court made it very clear that if you want to restrict the scope of patent-eligible subject matter, you have to talk to Congress, not to the judges. The USPTO doesn't make the law. It only applies the laws made by Congress and interpreted by the judges. Asking someone for the abolition of software patents who doesn't even have the authority to do so is a non-starter and therefore not a credible initiative.
If they wrote to all members of Congress that the Bilski ruling shows software patents won't go away without new restrictive legislation, then I'd doubt that it can succeed politically, but at least they'd be talking to the very institution that would have the authority to abolish software patents if it wanted.
You need a strong base of significant companies with R&D-centric business models (not mere monetizers) to ask lawmakers to act. Anything less will be unproductive at best, or counterproductive at worst. Or just a PR stunt, like in this case.
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