UK Patent Office Consultation on Software Patents

Posted 1 Nov 2000 at 15:39 UTC by alan Share This

So the argument about patents in Europe goes on. The UK patent office is now seeking comments on the proposal to break the UK patent system as badly as the US one. They are also seeking comments from people familiar with the US system and what breaks there.

I figure there may be interested UK people and also folks with far too much experience of the US system on advogato.

Consultation Page

Consultation Page URL typo corrected.., posted 1 Nov 2000 at 15:40 UTC by alan » (Master)

Recommendation ..., posted 9 Nov 2000 at 19:48 UTC by charlie » (Journeyer)

Guys, this is important. If we don't reply, we'll end up importing the worst aspects of the US patent system by default.

I sent in a lengthy response, generally negative about the application of patents to software. It ended with these points (after building the strongest case I could for not allowing software patents at all):

Two special suggestions:

  • If you must allow software patents, limit their duration drastically; anything longer than five years would be utterly inappropriate.
  • If you allow software patents, consider a blanket exemption clause for open source software that is licensed under terms compliant with the open source definition or some equally clear declaration of intent. This software contributes to the commons; applying patent rights to it will lead to a tragedy of the commons; rewarding innovation by way of patent rights is less useful to society than encouraging the development of a software commons that is available to all, and of the highest quality.

Any comments?

Problem..., posted 11 Nov 2000 at 23:49 UTC by gerv » (Master)

The length of patents is limited by world statute to a minimum of 20 years. Although the best solution might be to have short term patents, it sadly isn't an option :-(

news:// is a good place to support the cause of free software :-)


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