Monday, May 14, 2007

Software Idea Patents - this is why they are bad

Software Idea Patents "protect" nothing. Rather, they are a mechanism that large corporations can use to intimidate others, e.g :

Microsoft claims software like Linux violates its patents - May 28, 2007

Patents when used as a force for good are a way to make new original and non-obvious ideas public so that others can use them while allowing the originator to be rewarded.

In the above article we see that Microsoft will not even say what patents are at issue. Thus there is no way for people to understand what idea(s) they are being asked to license from Microsoft.

Microsoft is using software idea patents as an offensive weapon rather than a defense. The weapon can be used just as a publicity tool (i.e. FUD) or in court. Either way, only the big corporations can afford to wield this weapon. Small companies and creative individuals have no practical defense. If Microsoft gets away with this, others will follow and creativity among individuals and small companies will be suppressed.

Is this what the legislators intended? I hope not.

To my European representatives: Now you can see the harm that software idea patents cause please ensure that that statute law is not changed to permit them (in fact, please re-enforce statute law which prevents software idea patents) and please have the EPO reverse decisions which granted any apparent patent protection to software ideas.

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