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Re: [Australia-public-discuss] Write a letter to ACIP?

From: Ciaran O'Riordan
Subject: Re: [Australia-public-discuss] Write a letter to ACIP?
Date: Wed, 02 Jun 2010 06:34:56 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.2 (gnu/linux)

Sorry for my slow reaction times.

I think this is a good starting point.  I've added some references - it's
always good to show that these are also the opinions of renowned people in
the field, and it prevents us being countered by "Oh no it doesn't!".

Anthony's text is great, but if we want people to sign up to our letter, we
have to prevent a small number of points, to avoid including something that
people won't want to put their name to.

Ben Sturmfels <address@hidden> writes:
> ====
> Dear Minister,
> I understand that patent law is intended to benefit society by
> encouraging innovation. I believe though, that allowing software patents
> is in fact harmful to society:

This makes it sound like the Minister should be surprised by our opinion.  I
think we should present it as something reasonably obvious.  We could take a
positive approach by opening by endorsing the government's 2009 Venturous
Australia report which said:

  "in new areas of patenting such as software and business methods, there is
   strong evidence that existing intellectual property arrangements are
   hampering innovation."

> 1. The software industry has a long history of innovating without
> software patents. This shows that the expense of implementing the
> software patent system is unnecessary.

Examples: the world wide web, ...?  (Are GNU/Linux and Firefox well known 

I'd like to use Windows 95 as an example of software developed without
patents, but explaining this (and the contrast with MS later using patents
to entrench their position) would probably take too many words to explain.

> 2. Small developers are discouraged from innovating because it is not
> viable to search software patents nor defend themselves against patent
> lawsuits.

Here's a quote from a union representing SMEs that employ 55 million people
in Europe:

  "UEAPME is opposed to the introduction of an EU software patent, which
   would reinforce monopolisation in the software sector, damage
   interoperability and act as a barrier to innovation by SMEs. Small firms
   simply do not have the resources to engage in the costly and
   time-consuming process of patent application. This would enable dominant
   large firms in the sector to secure vast numbers of patents and result in
   crippling litigation costs, which would put small firms out of business.

> 3. Due to rapid evolution of the software industry, the 20 year lifetime
> of a software patent renders a technique essentially useless to society.
> 4. The primary benefactors of software patents are the legal industry
> and companies who's sole business model is to amass software patents and
> sue others (known as "software trolls"). These costs are borne by
> software developers and society.

For this, we could back it up with a quote from UK Lord Justice Jacob:

  "If the encouragement of patenting and of patent litigation as industries
   in themselves were a purpose of the patent system, then the case for
   construing [exclusions] narrowly (and indeed for removing them) is made
   out. But not otherwise.",_UK%29

> I therefore urge the Australian Government to abolish software patents.
> Sincerely,
> Name:
> Email:
> Occupation:
> ====

Here are some other good quotes from studies about swpats:

And there's always:

CiarĂ¡n O'Riordan, +32 487 64 17 54,

Please help build the software patents wiki:



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