|| ||Ciarán O'Riordan <esp-AT-endsoftwarepatents.org> |
|| ||<lwn-AT-lwn.net> |
|| ||Please help, if you prefer software to patents |
|| ||Tue, 22 Jan 2013 18:00:36 -0500|
|| ||Article, Thread
Read and share this on the Web at <http://news.swpat.org>.
In 2012, a number of judges called attention to
the problem of software patents and we saw consistently critical press
coverage. Right now, we have so many ripe opportunities to expand our campaign, but not enough
resources to pursue them all.
Some specific pieces of good news were comments from [influential US
Judge, Richard Posner], the US Supreme Court's ["Mayo" ruling], the
[decision by the US CAFC] to review one of its own rulings which upheld
a software patent, and a [comment by the European Union's highest
court] about software functionality monopolies.
This might be the build-up to a big ruling like what we hoped *Bilski*
would bring, and changing software patent policy in the US would be a
big help to campaigns worldwide.
But what's also striking is that no one submitted a friend-of-the-court
brief in these cases arguing for an interpretation that would confirm
software patents as invalid and informing the court about the harm caused to the public's freedom,
as well as the [mountain
of studies] showing that software patents are a net loss for
innovation and the economy in the USA. That would have been
particularly useful in the *CLS Bank* case. We'll never get what we
want if we don't ask.
Software patents in the US were created by the CAFC (appeals court),
not by legislation, so the Supreme Court can fix this problem. Courts
like to avoid creating legal uncertainty and this usually makes them
reluctant to change, but in this case we can show them the evidence
that software patents are a source of legal uncertainty and that
reducing software patents can never increase overall uncertaintly.
With just volunteer effort we've done some good work in the
End Software Patents campaign in 2012. Ben Sturmfels of ESP Australia
continues to work effectively on the legislative process which could
exclude software from patentability in Australia. We've raised
awareness of a consultation about software patents by the Brazilian
patent office, and helped people get involved. The <http://en.swpat.org> wiki
now has more than 600 articles so that all campaigns against software
patents can benefit from the information we've gathered during years
of campaigning. We've also published articles, given presentations,
and assisted other campaigns.
But we could do more. There are opportunities to be grabbed. We could
get back to participating in court cases, and the campaign could be
restructured to get more people involved.
If you want to make a donation to help End Software Patents,
FSF's Web site has a special page for donations to the campaign:
We campaign to get rid of software patents altogether. Your donations
won't be used on slow, costly processes to invalidate a tiny number of
"stupid patents." We want video formats to be free, we want software
to be compatible, we want companies to compete by developing software
not by buying patents, and we want everyone, including individuals and
small businesses, to be allowed to write and distribute software,
without having to follow rules imposed by patent holders.
Our goal, with your help: End Software Patents.
Executive Director, End Software Patents
Follow us at https://status.fsf.org/fsf | Subscribe to our blogs via RSS at
Join us as an associate member at http://www.fsf.org/jf
Sent from the Free Software Foundation,
51 Franklin Street
Boston, MA 02110-1335
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