Sorry to go on and on about this. Here is a business case on why patents
are bad. This was sent to me by a friend who lives in France, down near
Lyons about an hour away by car. He gave it to me to publicise the
issues. It will be blogged by him in the near future. Use all or part of
it to promote the issues.
The guy is a software engineer, and a very god one at that.
The proposition that software patents foster innovation, reward research
& development and/or provide an inclusive framework where competition
can thrive and the consumer is guaranteed value is not only false but
there exists no solid evidence to support such claims.
The inventor(s) reap little reward as often their employment contracts
require them to release any and all claims of property from said
Take for example, the US Legal system, where currently the Utah based
SCO operation is taking IBM, Novell, and a plethora of other
organisations to court for infringing patents that they have yet to
prove ownership of. The legal cost is simply not justifiable.
It is valueless to assert that the encapsulation of ideas in software
can in any way be 'claimed' or 'owned'. The software artifacts
(packaging, manuals, cd with executable's and resources) should benefit
from legal protection as it costs considerable resources and effort to
produce and maintain software artifacts. The ideas, however, if proved
to be 'better', 'faster', or 'cheaper' in any way will be copied,
cloned, and stolen by competitors as with any other industry.
The value of a copy, or clone as compared to an original will be
determined by fair market competition and consumer value systems as with
other products and should not be subjected to monopoly. In software it
often costs as much to clone or copy an idea as it does to originate or
originally encapsulate idea. The 'inventor' has the benefit of time to
perfect the idea and produce better products due to increased
experience. The 'cloner' or 'copier' begins at an intellectual deficit.
Consumers are intelligent enough to discern whether or not a software
artifact is an original (brand name company), clone, or FOSS (Free open
source software) alternative and consumer choice should *not* be limited
through narrow-minded legislation which restricts and prevents small,
legitimate software producing organisations and professionals from
legally earning a living. Patenting 'ideas' directly and unjustly
restricts these *rights*.
This is exactly what the European Patenting Act is proposing. To be
proactive and victimise small legitimate business and independent
developers, innovators and inventors through restricting the ideas they
can use to produce products of some consumer value, irrespective of
whether the ideas used within those products are or are not unique.
Ideas, can't be stolen, because they can't be owned. Software
*artifacts* can be stolen, and can be given away freely. The code,
encapsulating the design / invention / ideas, can be licensed, sold, can
be given away under copyright or donated to the public domain. But the
ideas *must* remain available for unrestricted use.
In effect, those ideas *are* very much a commons as public investment
and resources have been directed via research grants, subsidies and
other projects to 'create' the brains which come up with them.
Restricting ownership is an unfair corporate TAX incentive which
engenders monopolisation thus stifling innovation.
Hypothesis: The only organisations or individuals who want Patent
legislation on ideas to succeed are organisations with patents in the US
and other narrow minded jurisdictions with patents ready to 'import',
and individuals who stand something to gain. This number is in the
minority. The majority of stakeholder interest in the patenting of ideas
is firmly against the notion and any implementation of it, be it in the
US, the EU or elsewhere.
EU politicians must take off the big-brand headphones and listen to
reasoned and reasonable demands for the patenting of ideas or software
to be denied, or at the very least severely limited to prevent monopoly
and cartel interests and unequal conditions for innovation and product
construction by independent and small business.
I really do have to wonder about the quality of the advice that Mary is
getting, who in what dept is pushing the Microsoft as the best answer.
How will you recover your business documents in 20 years?
Have you a plan? The next great lock in is called 'Trusted Computing'.
One final comment, why did shares in Microsoft increase in value the day
the EU judgement come out? If you are really cynical you might suppose
it is that the market sees the EU court decision as ineffective.
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