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Letter To Abolish Software Patents In Australia

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the five-hundred-nerds-can't-be-wrong dept.

Patents 166

Ben Sturmfels writes "Over 500 members of the Australian software industry have have signed an open letter urging their government to abolish software patents. Signatories include free software luminaries Andrew Tridgell and Jonathan Oxer. In 2008 the Australian government began a Review of Patentable Subject Matter. While we missed the 2009 public consultation period, we hope to influence the government's response to the Review, due in February 2011. The letter will be presented to Minister Kim Carr in early August."

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I don't understand this.. (2, Interesting)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134668)

I don't know the Australian rationale but I wonder when Americans discuss the need for patents and copyrights. Why do content creators want to abolish patents? America is rich today because of patents and copyrights. If every second guy could rip off a great idea, we'd have nothing left to offer. We cannot compete on prices. The innovation and creativity of Americans is what has made US powerful. Why would you want to create a law that will affect your livelihood in the future? The rest of the world is just waiting for something like this to happen. I don't get it.

Re:I don't understand this.. (4, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134702)

I don't know the Australian rationale but I wonder when Americans discuss the need for patents and copyrights. Why do content creators want to abolish patents? America is rich today because of patents and copyrights. If every second guy could rip off a great idea, we'd have nothing left to offer. We cannot compete on prices. The innovation and creativity of Americans is what has made US powerful...

That's funny. I always though one of the reasons that America was rich today was because when they were developing, they did not respect patents and copyrights, specifically foreign copyrights, such as books from Europe. They just copied and reproduced the content they wanted at will. Oh, and slaves. You can get rich pretty easily when you don't have to pay for the stuff you need/want.

I think that's not true (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33134872)

The reason America is rich today is because,
1) It had virgin land to grow into
2) Then it had texas oil to sell
3) Then it had the worlds currency, growth in $ assets was all really money printed in the US.
4) Then under Bush it was fake insurance assets, CDRs and CDS etc. It tried to create bogus asset classes to soak up the growth in the money from the excessive borrowing needed to balance the trade deficit with Bush's unfunded spending.

It currently has none of these, Euro is a properly run currency (Greece is insignificant in the Euro). It uses more oil than it produces and it's land is all allocated, and those fake assets are sitting in the Federal reserve waiting to hit the $.

Their big hope is copyrights patents and so on, fake assets constructed from artificial monopolies. But all they're doing is making themselves less and less competitive. One mans monopoly is another competitive burden. It could only work if the monopoly was enforced everywhere with equal zeel, and nobody complained when companies like Apple pretend to invent stuff they didn't invent.

Australia is bowing to pressure here because their economy is so tied to the USA one, but EVERYONE needs to do this to prop up the US and many do not have the incentive that Australia has.

Re:I think that's not true (0, Offtopic)

SudoGhost (1779150) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135092)

You're right! America never prospered until Bush came into office! And whenever people think of oil, they think TEXAS, not that other place (somewhere in the Middle East, I forget, it's not important...or is the Middle East a county in Texas?). The reason America is "rich" is not because "it had the world's currency." I think you have it the other way around. America is "the world's currency" (whatever that means) because America is "rich"

Re:I think that's not true (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135982)

hah, america is the poorest country in the world, just be happy noone has called in their debts yet.

Talk about reading what you want... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33136252)

Talk about reading what you want and missing what you don't want.

Here, I'll point out:

1) It had virgin land to grow into

This was when the US was being colonised. Before Shrub. By Shrub's time, all the land was owned.

2) Then it had texas oil to sell

This was when the US was building up its oil production. Before Shrub. By Shrub's time, peak oil in the US had passed.

3) Then it had the worlds currency, growth in $ assets was all really money printed in the US.

This was the handing over of the world currency (then in Pound Sterling) to the US, after WW2. Before Shrub. He didn't even have to get daddy to put him in safety to avoid THAT war. Later ones, yes, but not WW2.

Re:I don't understand this.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135150)

One can argue that slavery actually slowed down the development of the South, and made it too weak to wage a war with the North. Slavery,although immoral, can benefit a country, but only to a certain extent, since it's greatest weakness is that it cannot generate a great consumer market, which is essential to capitalism.

Since the rise of capitalism, when compared to contemporary capitalist societies, the ones that used slavery were not only economic, but also technologically and militarily inferior.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0, Offtopic)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135272)

re generate a great consumer market, yes Ford got that too, sell to workers and export to world, real products with an endless supply of raw materials, cheap energy, paid labor.
Cheap oil via client states in need of US protection helped too.
Now its just mercs and bankers feeding back into the political system that keeps the wars going as the M3 presses run.

Re:I don't understand this.. (-1, Offtopic)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135204)

If you think the US industrial economy was based on slavery, there's no reason to believe you have any understanding of history. In the period of the struggle against slavery it was the Northern industrial states who took the side for freedom. Slavery was supported in the regressive states of the south. Slavery never contributed much to Americas industrial success.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135400)

The US economy is heavily dependant on exploiting undeveloped countries in this very day. To say that slavery never contributed to US economy, while in the same time your own corporations suck the very life out of countries with questionable humanitarian values doesn't do you must justice.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0, Offtopic)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135770)

>Slavery never contributed much to Americas industrial success.

That is only true in the narrowest possible reading of the concept. Those industries relied on farming to supply food for their workers for example. If that food was mostly imported - workers would have had a much higher cost of living, meaning they HAD to be paid more (because dead workers aren't productive), which would have slowed down industry growth. Among the most profitable of slavery-run farms were the cotton farmers, cotton isn't sold to the public- it's sold as a source material for the textile industry. If the cotton farms were PAYING their workers, their costs would have been higher - the cotton more expensive and one of America's most successful early industries would have been a GREAT deal smaller.

Even so you made a strawman attack - the disrespect for copyright and patents were the GP's point and did indeed have a massive positive impact on America's wealth and you ignored that to focus only on the point about slavery (an example given and not even part of the GP's main point) - and what's worse your strawman attack was rather pathetic as your argument is easily debunked with just 5 seconds of logic.

Re:I don't understand this.. (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135376)

Not at all. America is rich because while there was liberty for individuals to develop its vast resources in a much more efficient way than any kind of government planning ever could, there was also for the most part the rule of law. As for slavery, that's really not worth discussing. There was slavery for thousands of years in Africa so why isn't it rich? Slave owning, agricultural south was also much poorer than non slave owning capitalist, industrialized north.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0, Offtopic)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135690)

To translate that into a simple English: US thrives because it had given the opportunity to plunder the lands that were not plundered and after the WW1 most of the world was in debt to US.
Do you really think that the British empire was rich due to something else other than plundering the rest of the world? US is not much different in that respect.

Re:I don't understand this.. (2, Insightful)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135902)

Yeap, that's about it. Local access to cheap energy to power R&D/production/war. Then sail off and take things that you do not have in your own area. Every country in Europe has had it’s renaissance at some point. It's a CIV game with no save point.

Re:I don't understand this.. (2, Informative)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135816)

> There was slavery for thousands of years in Africa so why isn't it rich?

It WAS rich at the time -at least those who owned the slaves were. It's not rich NOW because every inch of it's wealth was stolen by Europe under the guise of bringing "God and civilization to the barbarians" through a system of mass exploitation and annexation you may have heard of before, it was called colonization.

Ever seen Apocalypse Now? Go read the original book: Heart of Darkness, and while you're at it pick up a copy of "Things fall appart" by Chinua Achebe and then speak of how poor Africa was BEFORE Europe showed up. Hint: it wasn't.

Colonization didn't end all that long ago - the last African country to gain independence was Eritrea and that was only in 1999. The vast majority were independent before the 80's of course -and left as rogue states without much governance at all, ripped apart by years of wars against illegitimate occupation forces (yeah I know that wasn't how the occupiers describe it - the people who chased them out must have been very happy with their "benefactors" to do so right ?) and left in the hands of warlords and dictators who happily continued the patterns of exploitation they learned from their colonial masters - bad cycle stars and is almost impossible to break.

These days indeed the country that makes by far the most money out of exploiting Africa's potential for wealth is the U.S.A. The 4th largest oil reserves in the world belong to Nigeria - yet it's also got the second most worthless currency in the world - all the oil fields are owned by British and American companies... who is surprised ? The largest mining company in Sub-Saharan-Africa is even CALLED Anglo-American corporation.
Your own farmers get PAID to destroy crops rather than compete fairly with African farmers (where the climate would probably mean we could outfarm you a thousand times over... yet we starve while you burn crops)...

Sorry - you are just plain wrong.

Re:I don't understand this.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135984)

You don't have to sleep with your slaves. The United States are build on distributing stolen land as manna and mental reform of immigrants which were stripped of their cultural heritage.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135414)

So. Let me get this straight. Your story is, America got rich because it copied some books from England back in the 1800s? You're serious, right?

Then the RIAA is mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135758)

Then the RIAA is mad, since they assert that a massive proportion of worldwide GDP is lost to piracy, and this is taken as true enough to enact secrecy in lawmaking (ACTA).

And, yes, this is part of the truth. Another part was Hollywood was built on patent infringement. It was in Hollywood because by the time Edison got a writ against a movie infringing and got the police involved, the movie was made, sold and the maker disbanded. So the ENTIRETY of Hollywood is built on IP infringement.

Alternatively, go argue with RIAA about how much isn't lost from copyright infringement.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135778)

So. Let me get this straight. Your story is, America got rich because it copied some books from England back in the 1800s? You're serious, right?

Copying books meant the US had cheap, widely available education. It isn't the only factor, but would you seriously suggest that the ability to copy books and machinery designs legally would not enrich a nation? Ignoring foreign IP rights will benefit any country so long as it is a net importer of IP.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135526)

And you forget the most important, taking the land of others by killing them off. It's easy becoming a rich landowner if you don't need to work your ass off to purchase every square foot first and/or respect former uses of said land.

random thought (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134724)

Maybe there's a link in the summary that goes somewhere where all these questions and more are answered.. just an idea, not sure I could patent it.

Re:random thought (0)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134878)

3 or 4 examples don't account for the other thousands of copyright applications and works making a lot of money. Just because they posted it, doesn't mean it's true. It means that's their opinion. Try to remember how the internet works.

Re:random thought (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135154)

What the hell does copyright have to do with it? Patents and copyrights are very, VERY different things.

Re:I don't understand this.. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33134732)

That's because software patents really break the patent system. Maybe you just want to watch the FSFs Patent Absurdity [patentabsurdity.com] movie. I'm tired to explain everything again here, and the movie makes the point pretty clear.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135112)

Wow.. that was a horrible documentary. Was there some patent preventing them from putting music in it? The minute long "read this slide in silence" between the generic interview snippets was horrible. You can tell that it could be a good film if they got someone with film school experience to follow at least the basic elements of documentary grammar.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135182)

Just because the film isn't the sort of fancy hollywood-style you may be used to doesn't make it's message any less true, does it?

And I always thought marketing wasn't affecting the /. crowd that much... stupid me.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135192)

Aesthetics are universal. If just delivering the message was the goal, why not just write it down?

I watched it through to the end, that's more than most people would have done.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135354)

Aesthetics are universal.

Yes. But Aesthetics are also subjective. Personally, I found the movie to be more pleasant to watch than many other, sometimes (IMHO) overloaded documentaries. Then again, I am probably not a good example of an average person.

If just delivering the message was the goal, why not just write it down?

A movie reaches a broader audience. Many people would be to lazy to read an article about the subject, but they would be willing to watch a short movie about it. Moreover, a movie can explain complicated things in a much simpler way for laymen.

I am currently at a University, and I can guarantee you, if I gave an 4-page written article about the absurdity of patents to ~150 students, maybe 50 of them would actually read the first sentence, and about 5 would read the whole article, and those would be the ones which already heard something about it from other sources. But if I would show them a ~30min movie, even if it's aesthetically not perfect, probably more than 100 students would watch it, and 30 more would still catch up some parts of it.

I watched it through to the end, that's more than most people would have done.

You are probably right. But even if you had only watched the first ~5-10min of the movie, you would still get some valuable insights.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33136022)

tbh i would have prefered it written down, at least i could skim the boring bits. the first 30 seconds were BRUTAL. and i really really fucking hate software patents.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135244)

No, it's copyright which prevents them from putting music in it. The fees for music to a short film like this easily amount to thousands of dollars.

Re:I don't understand this.. (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135260)

There's a thing called creative commons.. in fact, the film itself is under a creative commons license.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135284)

True, maybe they could have found some fitting free music if they had tried harder.

Re:I don't understand this.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33134742)

There are lots of ways to protect ideas aside from copyright and especially patents (such as trade secrets, and natural monopolies). Having patent lawyers is not always a justifiable cost, but necessary to defend against other companies patent lawyers but in some cases all sides might benefit from laws preventing patents in their areas (especially smaller companies). This might not hold true for all areas/industries though.

Re:I don't understand this.. (4, Insightful)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134770)

Because it prevents new cultural creations as it makes them totally dependent on the patent holders willingness to provide their particular patent. Effectively it creates blocks on economic activity, as people are not going to provide their patents for others who will disrupt their business models, or alternatively it imposes a patent troll tax on doing business (this depends on if the patent holder is an entrenched market player, or a leech). Given the economic costs, and the high rate of change of software, it is better for the economy as a whole (but not current individual patent holders) for the abolition of software patents.

It will be interesting to see if the Australian government leans towards the U.S. model (with the U.S./Australian Free Trade Agreement) or New Zealand no-software patents model (with the Closer Economic Relations agreements between the countries). I suspect that mainly hinges on who wins the upcoming Australian election.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33134918)

I suspect that mainly hinges on who wins the upcoming Australian election.

What makes you suspect this?

There seems to be little, is any, differentiation in policy from either potential government. Being an issue with little public cachet any change in the next two-and-a-half weeks doesn't seem probable at this juncture.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135022)

It's actually the potential senate composition- The Greens could well wind up holding the balance of power, in which case the next government less likely to propose pro-multinational corporation legislation (and software patents definitely favour corporations who have lawyers more than small local software artisans).
Now, I think it more likely that either new government will harmonise with the U.S., but a Labour government dependent on the Greens in the Senate would be more likely to reconsider and go the New Zealand route. In general, the more interests a government has to address, the more likely it is to favour the entire country rather than one sector.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33136096)

meh, like either government could give a flying fuck either way. they only burn they can possibly feel is from corps wanting the usual barrier to entry for the up and comers. do the greens actually care about this stuff?

Doesn't matter (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135230)

500 letters has about the same political influence as two fancy lunches - money wins!

Re:I don't understand this.. (4, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135554)

Effectively it creates blocks on economic activity

One famous example are toll roads. During the roman empire there were no toll roads and commerce flourished within the empire. After its collapse and the feudal states, every little road or bridge had a toll booth. It stopped commerce as long distance transportation of goods was simply too expensive. There's one good example of that in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle: the most powerful king of Europe (Louis XIV) could purchase excellent wood for shipbuilding... but he couldn't afford to pay the tolls to carry it from the forests to the shipyards.

The "free trade" agreement is no longer popular (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136034)

The "free trade" agreement is no longer popular with the business groups that were pushing hard for it because they've woken up that even after five years they haven't been able to sell their stuff in the USA due to there being many protected markets while they are being left open to US competition that has less of a tax burden than it used to.
Even if changes to IP laws threaten to break the agreement there is almost nobody that will care at this point, no matter which side wins the election.

Re:I don't understand this.. (5, Informative)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134816)

The US became the dominant world force in copyright when it had significantly weaker copyright laws than basically all of Europe. We still lack things like 'moral rights' and have some of the most expansive fair use rights in the world (at least before the DMCA, anyway). As for software, there are several issues. The first is that the functional element and the written element are virtually the same. Variable names, outputs strings, and source code comments are about the only non-functional elements. If you had a specific patent claim held to the same degree of scrutiny as say a pharmaceutical, it would have hundreds of claims for even an elementary program or portion thereof. However, most patents are very broad, and thus prevent alternatives that function in a largely different way, but are similar enough to fall into the patent. Another issue is that compatibility is incredibly important in software, and patents get in the way of compatibility. You can have software that is technically superior to your competitor, but if your competitor's product is already in widespread usage and your product isn't compatible, you will probably lose. A final issue is that the field of software has a lot of problems with competition, and software patents give an even bigger advantage to billion dollar companies over startups. Also, you seem to not understand the nature of copyright and patent laws in the US. The constitution clause that allows for patents states that

The Congress shall have Power To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Not only do patents and copyright exist for the benefit of the public, they are simply a means to the end, not an ends to themselves. If we can conclude that some other incentive already in place does the job well enough, we could just end our patent and copyright systems. International treaties make it a bit more complicated than that, but it's not as if the US has a problem with acting unilaterally. As for why Australia would want to do that, they generally don't really have large, established firms, so Australian software companies (and users) are going to be on the losing end of the system with software patents in place.

Re:I don't understand this.. (4, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134848)

The innovation and creativity of Americans is what has made US powerful. Why would you want to create a law that will affect your livelihood in the future?

Because of the business ethos of those who were made rich and powerful with American innovation and creativity. Much of which came from public sources such as American universities and the NASA program which are now under funded so those same businessmen can get taxpayer money to pay for their mistakes.

They aren't thinking beyond the next quarter, screw the future if there is profit to be made now.

Re:I don't understand this.. (2)

nonguru (1777998) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134864)

My understanding is that it relates to the area of sw patents in particular, not an entire system. But on that subject, I'm sure every other slashdotter here can relate a story on how the patent system can be, and is, abused based on legal (mis)interpretations of prior art or discovery, or simple incompetence of the Patent Office (often due to an overload of spurious patents). True innovation is sometimes NOT rewarded. And copyright in terms of length is a joke - 80 years post-death of the artist. Do you get it now?

Re:I don't understand this.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33134910)

But if narrow patents and 15-year copyright helped the USA become an economic power, surely broader patents and longer copyright terms will help even more, no? You have to argue why the relationship is not linear.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135262)

How do you know they helped the US at all? Maybe they just did less damage than the stronger patent/copyright laws in other countries?

Re:I don't understand this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135498)

But if narrow patents and 15-year copyright helped the USA become an economic power, surely broader patents and longer copyright terms will help even more, no? You have to argue why the relationship is not linear.

IP laws (like copyright and patents) don't take into account amortization effects. In fact something like copyright is pretty much exclusively opposite of any natural economic state (which is why Enforcement is such a big issue with the IP-rights people).

So while technology like computers or cars have a useful practical life of about 2 to 5 years, patents on that (relatively) old technology last for 20 years (in America), protected long after the technology has been antiquated, and copyrights last long after the creator (and his children) have died of old age (in many cases). In fact, copyrights can go UP in price through artificially lowering the supply (like movie studios often only sell limited edition versions of old classic movies every few years to keep the price artificially high, this could not be achieved without copyright laws). In the end, it is the legal entities of corporations that benefit the most from the legal system of IP laws. Laws were of course created for and by the rich and powerful to protect their status quo. It's a fool who believes that the average citizen benefits from (IP) Law.

Re:I don't understand this.. (4, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134966)

It's about balance. Patent protection provides an incentive to produce something new, but makes it a lot harder to improve an existing invention since you need to patent holders approval to actually produce the improved invention.

Looking at the evidence, it seems very few companies make money licencing patented software, and usuallly simply use their patents protectively, using a patent sharing agreement which effectively bars small players from the market. Without patents it seems quite clear that innovation in software would not be harmed since there is still an incentive to innovate since the short time to market of software still gives the innovator a competitive edge.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135562)

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I thought that if you improved on a patent, you could get a patent on the improvement. Is this not the case anymore?

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135954)

>Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I thought that if you improved on a patent, you could get a patent on the improvement. Is this not the case anymore?

Generally speaking yes, but in the case of software patents it's not. This is because of how radically different software is compared to physical inventions. Effectively EVERY use of a patented algorithm is ipso facto an improvement, if you recognize them then all the patents are worthless.
More-over you will usually find the best improvements to an algorithm isn't always IN the algorithm but in the code that you surround it with. You get a fast sorting algorithm - if you stick it in a program with better memory management and smarter pre-fetching it will still sort a file faster than one in which the surrounding code is slower. That's why performance measurement of algorythms are done using an arithmetic that deliberately excludes outside factors. Big O-notation doesn't care at what speed the data can be read, only how many steps the algorythm has to execute on each piece before producing a result.

So unless you can reduce the number of steps - you haven't made an improvement as patent law would see it, but if you write a faster pre-fetch algorythm your program IS an improvement over your competitors. Much like a better gearing system would make a faster car but doesn't count as an improvement over your competitors patent on a certain design of tire.

Mechanical inventions are such that this is not an major hindrance... software on the other hand is not like that.

In most cases you can get a patent on a specific way to design a certain mechanical part, but if somebody designs a different one your patent doesn't cover it. You may have a patent on your tire design but it doesn't stop every other car manufacturer from having tires on their cars (or force them to buy tires from you).
In software patents - that is literally what it means, most software patents are so broadly written that ANY algorithm producing the same results from the same inputs would be considered infringing. If somebody has a software patent that's a feature that NO OTHER PROGRAM CAN EVER HAVE - no matter how it does it.
In fact because software patents never come with source disclosure requirements, there is no way to even MEASURE if something is in fact an IMPROVEMENT. The two algorythm do the same thing- you cannot say "but my way does it more effeciently and is therefor a new patentable innovation". Instead the law says "same results from same described inputs = infringement".... wham you lose.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136652)

>Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I thought that if you improved on a patent, you could get a patent on the improvement. Is this not the case anymore?

Generally speaking yes, but in the case of software patents it's not.

Huh. That's odd. See, I write and prosecute patent applications on software every day, and the vast majority are improvements rather than pioneering in a field. And they get allowed and issued constantly. I'm not going to say that you don't know what you're talking about, but your statement isn't supported by the evidence.

So unless you can reduce the number of steps - you haven't made an improvement as patent law would see it, but if you write a faster pre-fetch algorythm your program IS an improvement over your competitors. Much like a better gearing system would make a faster car but doesn't count as an improvement over your competitors patent on a certain design of tire.

Yes, you've made an improvement, and you patent your faster pre-fetch algorithm. Similarly, you patent your new transmission.

In most cases you can get a patent on a specific way to design a certain mechanical part, but if somebody designs a different one your patent doesn't cover it. You may have a patent on your tire design but it doesn't stop every other car manufacturer from having tires on their cars (or force them to buy tires from you).

... if they use a different design for tires... If you make a faster pre-fetch algorithm like you said, then that doesn't stop everyone else from using older, slower pre-fetch algorithms - just yours.

In fact because software patents never come with source disclosure requirements, there is no way to even MEASURE if something is in fact an IMPROVEMENT.

They don't require source code because if the code is in C, people like you would implement the exact same program in C+ and claim that you're not infringing. However, all patents require disclosure sufficient that one of ordinary skill in the art could implement the claimed invention. For software, this usually means a flow chart. And if you can't follow a flow chart, then you really shouldn't be complaining.

The two algorythm do the same thing- you cannot say "but my way does it more effeciently and is therefor a new patentable innovation". Instead the law says "same results from same described inputs = infringement".... wham you lose.

No, it doesn't. Read the flow charts. That's the claimed method. You can get the same result, and if you do it a different way, you're not infringing. And this isn't unique to software - as you noted, people can patent tires, but it doesn't stop people from achieving the same result, a rolling car, with the same inputs, a body and some rubber.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136164)

Yes, you're correct (As far as I know). The problem is that if you improve on something you still usually need to licence the original patent upon which you have improved unless your improvements make it a completely different invention.

Re:I don't understand this.. (2, Interesting)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135002)

Why do content creators want to abolish patents?

Because for content creation, copyright should be more than enough already? What, the free and the brave started to feel the pinch of fear?
(and yes, software is a copyrightable content, as - by itself - it doesn't transform the machine it's running on, much less transform it in a useful way).

We cannot compete on prices.

  1. Then invent some other means to compete. For example: a head-start is usually enough to get ahead of the competitions.
    Also, there exists something like trade secrets - if staying rich is what you want, this should be enough for you, just don't be a hypocrite to say "I'll publish my discovery for the benefit of the human race advancement"
  2. And what about me that find rewards in writing open-source and don't give a ... of prices. Why your right to feel happy of being rich would trump mine - for creating something useful used by many. Assuming that I discover something that parts of this humanity might benefit, implementing it in open-source will give everybody an easy access to use the discovery immediately.
    (if this sounds too commie/pinky to you, here's my opinion: I DO NOT GIVE A DAMN on what you call it - as a content creator it is my right to do as I please with my content - the content didn't kill anyone)

Re:I don't understand this.. (2, Informative)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135086)

Isn't ripping other people off how much software development works anyway? How many media players are there that look and feel like iTunes for instance? When IE8 came out it just looked like a sleazy commercial version of Firefox. How many people are there who got rich on the ideas of others? Bill Gates is a prime example.

Re:I don't understand this.. (3, Insightful)

Mick R (932337) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135180)

With patents on software abolished. there is still protection for software developers. It's called copyright. Patents were only ever intended to cover PHYSICAL developments, not written works. A better situation is where code can be reused so long as you credit the original source. The current system of patents prevents anyone from further developing software beyond the original patent holder's capabilities, effectively stifling innovation. Innovation comes in small steps, building on the work of others. It's how science has worked since the beginning. Patents on intellectual (imaginary?) property forces innovation to either stop dead or to operate in quantum leaps. The latter happens very rarely, while incremental innovation can be continuous. Software patents don't protect livelihoods, they strangle them in favour of large patent trolls.

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136690)

With patents on software abolished. there is still protection for software developers. It's called copyright. Patents were only ever intended to cover PHYSICAL developments, not written works.

Not so. The statute says "process", and processes are not themselves "PHYSICAL", although they may interact with physical things.

A better situation is where code can be reused so long as you credit the original source. The current system of patents prevents anyone from further developing software beyond the original patent holder's capabilities, effectively stifling innovation. Innovation comes in small steps, building on the work of others. It's how science has worked since the beginning. Patents on intellectual (imaginary?) property forces innovation to either stop dead or to operate in quantum leaps. The latter happens very rarely, while incremental innovation can be continuous.

And that's just not true. You absolutely can patent improvements. You may have to license or cross-license with the original patent holder, but this applies in every industry, not just software. If I invent and patent a stool and you come up with a brilliant idea of attaching a back to it to make a chair, you can get a patent on your chair, even though you can't make it without licensing my stool. That's fine - I can't make chairs without licensing your patent, so it encourages us to cross-license.

Simply put Politics, and Software (5, Insightful)

realxmp (518717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135274)

Firstly you need to understand that there is a limit to how far the rest of the world will protect US Copyrights and Patents and that limit is "until there's nothing in it for them". At the moment the US's only big incentive is access to their markets and free trade agreements, this doesn't always work. You can already see the effects of this in Africa where the Pharma industry has had to make big concessions to stop African governments simply ignoring their patents, you can't trade if you're dead. A more interesting example is Asia where you have rampant piracy. The reason why the US has to turn a blind eye here is simply that they NEED Asia for cheap goods for their own economy. You need to be reasonable about IP or it really will become imaginary, this game only works as long as everyone follows the rules. If it gets too biased in your favour, then they simply won't play.

Secondly you need to look at why software patents are different. There are two big problems that software patents create here because of how different they are to normally patentable innovations. One of the big problems is because of the sheer speed of progress and time to market compared to pharma and physical inventions. Pharma innovations normally have a considerable time to market because of the testing they need to undergo, as a reward they get a monopoly for a few short years, whilst competitors are encouraged to find the alternatives which usually exist. Physical inventions likewise have the advantage of a large number of alternative ways of doing things. The problem with software and algorithms in particular is that quite often there isn't an alternative that allows you to perform the same task and maintain compatibility etc. And this is leaving aside the problem of ill-trained examiners, patently obvious subject matter and the problems of patent pools.

Re:I don't understand this.. (2, Insightful)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135700)

I think you're confusing copyright and patents.

By having software patents and effectively an innovation tax on an innovation process that very much builds on what came before it actually makes development more expensive in countries with software patents than without.

The software patent situation in the USA has degraded to the point where companies exist to effectively tax those that innovate in software without doing any innovation themselves. It's uncompetitive compared to those countries without the software patent tax.

Re:I don't understand this.. (0, Offtopic)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136026)

Jeez, if there ever was an example of unfair moderation. My post has so many replies, and is still considered "Redundant".

Re:I don't understand this.. (1)

seaton carew (593626) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136604)

Uh huh.
If you check your history [wikipedia.org] , you'll find that America's economic power prior to independence (and right through to Edison's era) was *founded* on ignoring the copyrights & patents of other nations. Guess what? Americans may not have invented everything you think they did.
America was a developing nation once. Try sticking that fact into your neat economic hypothesis.

have have (1, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134678)

no editors.

brb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33134690)

brb

movin to Australia

Re:brb (2, Funny)

Lotana (842533) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134720)

Wait until this is actually approved and put into effect. My guess is that you will die of old age first.

Oxer? I hardly knew her. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33134708)

This is cool and all, but how is Jonathan Oxer in the same league as Andrew Tridgell?

I don't think putting a few hacks together like wiring a mailbox for gigabyte ethernet
and implanting an RFID chip in your arm can measure up to be on par with Tridge's accomplishments.

No offense to Jonathan or anything, he seems like a good guy, but c'mon.

Poor losers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33134718)

Software industry not doing too well in Australia?

Timing? (1)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134722)

Is this really the best timing for this? We're having an election in a few weeks time, and who knows whether we'll even have the same government after that?

Also, Victorians, remember to vote below the line and put Conroy last if you want to make a statement about the Internet Censorship Plan. Sites like http://www.belowtheline.org.au/ [belowtheline.org.au] will help you prepare your below the line vote with a minimum of work.

Re:Timing? (1, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134756)

If you're in QLD, vote for the Greens above the line: https://www.belowtheline.org.au/qld/group_r.html [belowtheline.org.au]

Here's why:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhd1I7adhzM [youtube.com]

I expect this will be the best year for the Greens in a long time.

Re:Timing? (2, Interesting)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134902)

Go for the Greens? I don't think so.. Not as long as they harbor people like this [news.com.au] ..

Re:Timing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135060)

Mate, the article is old-news (Oct 2009).
Just recently wrote to a Green candidate for senate in Vic [greens.org.au] , asking him to clarify the position on Internet filtering (and "communication record retention"). The relevant quote from his reply:

The Greens advocate for easier access to PC-based filters for those that want them. We will make more announcements on that in the near future

. If you don't believe me, write to your preferred candidate, be it Green or not, and ask for clarifications.

Re:Timing? (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136062)

Not recognition of the irony of linking to belowtheline.org while recommending voting above the line? Use the site to examine the parties, examine the preferences and exercise your right to direct your preferences as to your actual personal preference.

Also, that linked video hardly offers any argument other than "vote for the greens otherwise the right-wing religious wingnuts are going to get in." Give a coherent argument in favour of them, or even just listing Green policies [greens.org.au] if you want to influence votes.

Re:Timing? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135524)

If someone is short one percent or two, he will try risky things.

"Members"? (3, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134750)

"Over 500 members of the Australian software industry"? Unless the Australian Software Industry is some specific body, what we really have here is 500 random programmer nerds who "signed" an internet petition.

The names of 500 (in all likelihood) nobodies on a petition with the sweeping goal of abolishing software patents?

Dead before it starts.

Man, even the petition page looks amateurish. Sorry to be so negative, but there's no chance of success here.

Re:"Members"? (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134806)

Pfft, just wait until the Facebook page starts up.

Paganritual likes 'Abolishing Software Patents'.

A million random idiots clicking like to something they don't even understand will be enough to make things happen, surely.

(I also like 'bewbs')

Re:"Members"? (0)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134906)

What a coincidence. I like 'bewbs' too.

Re:"Members"? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135290)

Well, from reading the summary, it appears they forgot to participate in the 2009 'Public Consultation Period.' Whoops, I guess. Too busy hanging out on /.??

Re:"Members"? (4, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135332)

There are several problems with this letter. It suggests that only free software does not use patents, so it sets itself up for being labelled a typical anti-capitalist rant from long haired hippies who hate property in all its forms.

They should have noted that Microsoft Windows, Office, Excel, PowerPoint became world dominant without a single patent being filed. That there are clear economic studies that show that software patents cause innovation to stop (Bessen et al), that the original premise behind patents was to reduce competition, and that the only provable value in a patent (any patent) is the documentation of knowledge in return for that toxic temporary monopoly. The reason software patents fail so badly is that we don't need patents to explain how software technology works.

All patents are toxic to their industries but at least we can reconstruct steam engines using the patent archive. That cost 20 years of progress during the industrial revolution.

There is never going to be anyone who 100 years from now reconstructs how to build a multithreaded web server from the patent archive. This is the fraud, and that is the reason software patents must be killed.

Re:"Members"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135724)

hello? microsoft have a huge patent portfolio - e.g. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/mar06/03-065000PatentPR.mspx

in terms of the OS, think of the insidious fat, ntfs, samba, etc patent trolling they have carried out in recent years specifically aimed at manufacturers using linux. For example, here's a recent result http://jkontherun.com/2010/04/28/htc-licenses-microsoft-patents-for-android/

as for the office products, who could (i've tried in vain) forget clippy: http://technologizer.com/2009/01/02/microsoft-clippy-patents/

Re:"Members"? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136754)

They should have noted that Microsoft Windows, Office, Excel, PowerPoint became world dominant without a single patent being filed.

I see you haven't done a search for Microsoft [google.com] in the patent databases in some time. Or ever.

All patents are toxic to their industries but at least we can reconstruct steam engines using the patent archive. That cost 20 years of progress during the industrial revolution.

There is never going to be anyone who 100 years from now reconstructs how to build a multithreaded web server from the patent archive. This is the fraud, and that is the reason software patents must be killed.

Not so - a decent programmer can follow the flow charts in patent applications and construct multithreaded web servers. But that's irrelevant - the patent archive is not supposed to be the RFC. The patent system encourages public disclosure, but doesn't have to be the sole source of that public disclosure - we can reconstruct steam engines using all of the white papers, schematics, theses, diagrams, lecture materials, and other information that was published... and that information was only published because, with the patent disclosure, there was no reason to keep it a trade secret anymore.

Re:"Members"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135360)

The names of 500 (in all likelihood) nobodies on a petition with the sweeping goal of abolishing software patents?

All petitions start with no signatures. Your attitude would suggest that you will only be a part of something once it's popularity reaches critical mass. If you agree with the cause, then sign, if not, carry on with your day.

Nobody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135396)

Man, if Andrew Tridgell is a nobody -- what are you? A minusbody or what?

Re:"Members"? (4, Interesting)

Hairy1 (180056) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135640)

And yet in New Zealand we won despite starting with a similar grass roots movement, starting with the NZOSS, and finally encompassing a number of influential companies and computer organisations. We were calm, rational, and presented the a persuasive case that software patents damage the IT sector, and polls that clearly showed that patents were not supported by a large majority of the IT industry. Our strength isn't just in their numbers but in a compelling case that software patents are holding the industry to ransom. The Australian IT industry has every chance of creating change, but it could be a long hard road to success. There are organisations in Australia which will no doubt have this on their radar, and will be moving to provide more support for a software patent exclusion.

The following YouTube video was produced from the NZOSS submission to the New Zealand Government for their review into the Patent Bill.

NZOSS Patent Submission
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-3H0t-Jgdo [youtube.com]

Re:"Members"? (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135850)

It also doesn't help that they missed the public consolation deadline. That one sentence alone removes most of the credibility and makes me believe that this isn't a formal group but a ragtag collection of people that got together over the interwebs.

NZ was smart enough to do this... (3, Informative)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134762)

NZ was smart enough to do this... lets hope AU will, too!

Disclaimer: I'm an Aussie living in NZ.

In New Zealand the jury is actually still out (1)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135490)

Let's be realistic and let's hope the local activists will keep an eye on developments: the abolition of software patents is far from certain in New Zealand, as I explained on my blog in detail [blogspot.com] .

To sum up the NZ problem quickly, the announcement made by the minister in charge talked about "a way forward for software patents", which isn't the same as doing away with them entirely, and indeed, the minister's announcement as well as the New Zealand Parliament's decision talk about allowing patents on devices with "embedded software".

My blog article discusses in detail that a distinction between "software" and "devices with embedded software" is extremely difficult under substantive patent law (the part of patent law that defines the scope of patentable subject matter). For an example, is an operating system of a computer "embedded software"? What about smartphones? Unfortunately, the New Zealand Parliament accepted the notion of patents on "telephones" with "embedded software", and while a small part of the operating software of such telephones is really telephone-specific, the largest part is just an operating system like any other.

Even a patent on a device with "embedded software" can be infringed by software: at least in the form of a contributory (indirect) infringement, which from the perspective of the software developer and publisher concerned comes down to the same exclusionary effect as a direct infringement.

To put it very simple, the problem is that the New Zealand Parliament and the minister in charge didn't say that they would do away with all software that could be infringed (be it on a direct or indirect/contributory basis) by software. They only talked about patents on software vs. patents on devices with embedded software, and even the latter can in principle be infringed by standalone software as well. It's harder to draw the line when coming from the angle of patentable subject matter than when looking at it from the infringement point of view. There's no guarantee in the law that software developers, publishers, distributors and users can't be sued over patents...

Again, for details on where this could go in terms of what patents they might allow or not, it's a complicated matter and I tried to explain it on my blog [blogspot.com] .

Re:NZ was smart enough to do this... (1)

plierhead (570797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135878)

Yeah - hope so. We could create an antipodean enclave of innovation without the dead weight of patents hanging over our heads. The other response to your post notwithstanding, I wrote to Simon Power (the Minister in charge) and recieved a kind of encouraging response, so I hope that software patents will be no more in NZ. The really funny thing is, having got some hope that NZ would stop software patents, I put on my devil's advocate hat and tried to come up with ways in which I could shaft those overseas patent holders and exploit their IP in NZ. I drew a complete blank.

Re:NZ was smart enough to do this... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33136434)

"“New Zealanders who emigrate to Australia raise the IQ of both countries.” - Sir Robert Muldoon, NZ Prime Minister 1975-1984

Patently Obvious... (5, Interesting)

muphin (842524) | more than 4 years ago | (#33134776)

I actually own several IP's of several software technologies. The only reason I registered these was to secure my work (from someone stealing it then suing me, the creator), I am actually FOR the removal of software patents, this removal will stop the fear of being sued over something so trivial and encourage creativity and innovation, something the world is so desperate in need of.

I am so ashamed of countries that extend the copyrights far beyond whats reasonable just to ensure they can keep making money off it.
I Just signed the letter and will pass it on, I hope you do the same.

Re:Patently Obvious... (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135342)

I actually own several IP's of several software technologies.

Claiming to own "IP" is B.S. You're either trolling or failing, or drinking the kool-aid. Which is it? I'm assuming you've been granted some patents after reading further, but please write for your audience.

I'd wager than many folks on Slashdot would be able to say I own X patents (possibly giving #s) or perhaps can mention some files in projects they have copyright on, or maybe they registered some trademark. I've never really considered trade secrets to be IP rather than just secrets, but that's just my opinion. I don't buy in to the "Imaginary Property" argument, and maintain that the term is a buzzword that should have died years ago.

Re:Patently Obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135402)

I actually own several IP's of several software technologies.

Claiming to own "IP" is B.S.

Current laws allow one to own patents (which are a form of intellectual property). You're claiming that ./ posters cannot own patents.

Re:Patently Obvious... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135574)

Interesting approach, redefine the language and then attack the OP for using the standard definition, have you thought of patenting that idea?

Re:Patently Obvious... (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135760)

To be fair, the term "intellectual property" itself is an attempt to redefine the standard definition of the words "intellectual" and "property". The pity is it has been so successful.

But as much as I agree with BiggerIsBetter's position: dude - you've got to pick your battles. No point jumping down somebody's throat when they are on your side!

Re:Patently Obvious... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136138)

It's more a convenient piece of terminology to describe property like rights to intangible ideas.

Although it should be noted, this is just a metahor. Just because we call it "property" doesn't automatically make it so.

Re:Patently Obvious... (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136310)

Nor does it automatically grant the same rights - but that is the intention of those who crafted the term.

Re:Patently Obvious... (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136420)

Err.. I own the full IP for every piece of software I've ever written. What exactly do you think IP is?

Re:Patently Obvious... (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135406)

I am actually FOR the removal of software patents, this removal will stop the fear of being sued over something so trivial and encourage creativity and innovation, something the world is so desperate in need of.

Maybe in case of trivial innovation but in case of difficult and expensive innovation it will reward the copier and punish the innovator. It will also discourage the investors from investing into innovators and encourage them to wait until some poor fool puts in all the work, invents a new technology, and then simply reverse engineer it and mass produce it, leaving him in the dust. Patents are a complex issue and I'm not necessarily in favor of the system as it is but it is funny to read all the naive posts here from people who fail to see both sides of equation.

Re:Patently Obvious... (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135540)

Software patents have neither expensive nor difficult innovation. Most software is merely a brainfart being typed out by a programmer in a couple of days/weeks time. Most commercial software has a bunch of mathematicians, statisticians, process analysts or whatever field you want it to be in make up models which the programmer then types out in a specific fashion.

There is no software whatsoever that is truly expensive, innovative or special in one way or another. It's merely a representation or a mathematical model of how something in the physical world works. Now, you could make a piece of hardware that is covered by a patent that is really innovative or more controversial - a business model (although that's also in the realm of mathematical constructs). Controlling that hardware/business with software is in itself not so innovative (controlling motors, gears etc. has been done before). There is also nothing done in software that inherently hasn't been done in software or hardware before.

Has anyone ever... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33135214)

Found a problem, searched for a solution, found a patented solution, licenced it, and used the description in the patent to implement it?

Just wondering. I'm sure there must be someone.

Re:Has anyone ever... (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136792)

Found a problem, searched for a solution, found a patented solution, licenced it, and used the description in the patent to implement it? Just wondering. I'm sure there must be someone.

Constantly. However, (1) if you're getting a license, you'll get other descriptive materials too and can use them rather than just the description in the patent; and (2) the patent is not supposed to be the exclusive source for a description of the work. It's supposed to encourage public disclosure, because it eliminates the value of keeping something a trade secret... and it works wonderfully - most inventors publish their schematics, source code, white papers, theses, etc. There's no need to ignore all of that published information based on a false requirement that the patent description be your exclusive source.

Example of patent holder arrogance (1)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 4 years ago | (#33135508)

One thing is that big corporations lobby for software patents all the time; another is that patent holders often treat inadvertent infringers as "pirates", mislabel them as "copycats" etc.

I'm all for intellectual property, but I think those patent holders who enforce their rights against third parties who've committed no wrongdoing often use inappropriate language in describing the "infringers". I understand the patent holders don't say, "we don't know whether the patents we own will even survive reexamination", but they're not just assertive: they also offend those who made independent creations that someone else just happened to patent before.

IBM's statements concerning some mainframe-related technologies [blogspot.com] , including the Hercules open source mainframe emulator, are particularly obnoxious.

Fuck patents (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33136058)

Fuck patents all together, they are the biggest brake on technological evolution.

4th point shouldn't be barred (poor representation (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#33136092)

There seems to have been misunderstanding, leading to the fourth point in the letter wrongly being struck out. The claim was that Microsoft was the only software developer to reply. This claim is based on my analysis of the 36 submissions:

The point was struck out because there was a submission by Anthony Berglas, but I don't see any such submission. There is a submission for a different consultation (the "Options Paper") by Anthony Berglas, so I guess someone confused the two consultations. I've emailed the letter's author, so hopefully this will get looked into before the letter is sent.

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