FSFE Newsletter

Alex Hudson home at alexhudson.com
Tue Jan 8 12:35:17 UTC 2008

On Tue, 2008-01-08 at 12:17 +0000, Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:07:41PM +0000, Alex Hudson wrote:
> > On Tue, 2008-01-08 at 12:02 +0000, Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> > > Now it makes sense. Still: => recognising validity of Microsoft's
> > > software patents. => foot, meet bullet
> > 
> > You would prefer they pretend those patents weren't issued?
> No, they should demand EPO to ungrant them.

Honestly, I think that would be completely pointless politicking for
absolutely no gain. There are some battles not worth fighting, and
attempting to bust a few patents down in a negotiation process for much
more important information is one of them.

Let's imagine that by some chance the EC agreed that the patents should
be invalidated, and bypassed the usual legal process for whatever
bizarre and dangerous reason. What good does that do us? It doesn't
invalidate all the other software patents that have been granted in
Europe. The EC isn't going to set any kind of precedent in patents with
some anti-trust agreement. No-one is going to be able to defend
themselves by pointing to that decision and saying, "Look, patents on
software must be invalid!". There would be no benefits outside those few
patents being busted.

And it wouldn't benefit Samba either - they're still not in the position
where they can make use of the patented process, because it's still
going to be patented in the US and other places.

Software patents aren't going to be defeated one-by-one by knocking them
out some way; the legal situation needs clarity so that the patents are
recognisably unenforcable. Right now that arguably isn't the case.



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