[Fsfe-ie] Re: Patent letter #3

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Thu Jan 22 15:45:50 CET 2004

Ben North writes:
> (Sorry I haven't been able to make recent Benshaws meetings.  I hope to
> come to the next one.)

good to have you back.

> * I would guess it's possible that the recipient might have heard the
>   competition, innovation, economic, free software arguments before, so
>   might it be a good idea to start off with the FTC report?

ok.  I'll do this and see how it looks.

>   divert resources from R&D, etc.".  It might even be worth including
>   their conclusions in full:  (I've cut'n'paste this from

I was thinking of including a print out of the 13 pages on software
patents, and highlighting any sections that we reference.  The report is
certainly a gold mine.

>   It strongly supports the view that the patent system does not do what
>   it's supposed to do when applied to software.

The report points out two causes of problems: The innability of the US
patent office, and the problems of owning software ideas.  We just have
to make clear that the second class of problems are what has to be

>  Not "probably wouldn't
>   do what it's supposed to do", but "DOES NOT...", in the experience of
>   the US panel.  The point "this is what happens, don't let Europe
>   repeat the US' mistakes" is a powerful one.

so we should be more assertive. ok.

> * Maybe move the paragraph
>       Software already has legal protection in the form of
>       copyright. Copyright law is a good fit because it costs nothing to
>       use, requires no processing time, and it doesn't restrict others
>       from independent development.
>   to before the detailed points?  Work it into the introductory
>   paragraphs somehow?

will do.
I positioned that paragraph kinda haphazardly.  It was an artefact from
a previous draft.

> * I've seen it pointed out by many pro-patent groups that there's a
>   correlation between R&D spending and patent portfolio size,

I think this is refuted by parts of the FTC report, so we can work it in
from there.

> I had a couple of comments about wording here and there, but I'll pay
> attention to the "no nitpicking" request :-)

I'll post a new draft tonight, and another on friday.  It should be
ready for nitpicking then.

Ciaran O'Riordan - http://www.compsoc.com/~coriordan/

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