[Fsfe-ie] Re: U.S. Office Joins an Effort to Improve Software Patents, by John Markoff, NY Times, 10 Jan 2006

teresahackett at eircom.net teresahackett at eircom.net
Wed Jan 11 12:37:22 CET 2006

I agree that it's interesting from the policy viewpoint. In 2003, the 
USPTO opposed a meeting between WIPO and NGOs to discuss free software, 
amongst other "open collaborative models". So whether this latest is a 
change of position or tactic, it would seem unlikely that they could now 
oppose an international meeting such as was planned.



Joseph Kiniry wrote:
> Hi Ciaran,
> On 10 Jan, 2006, at 12:15, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
>> Joseph Kiniry <kiniry at acm.org> writes:
>>> Has anyone tracked these proposed software projects?
>> This is the first I've heard of them.
>> They're probably not worth too much attention though.  They say  they're
>> trying to help free software, but they're avoiding our main problem  
>> (that
>> patents could block us from writing useful free software  replacements 
>> for
>> popular proprietary software), and they're addressing the problem  
>> that hits
>> Microsoft and the big proprietary companies as much as it hits us  
>> (patent
>> thickets and trolls/zombies living off litigation based on patents  
>> bought
>> from less-litigious companies).
>> I'm not saying that initiatives like this are not backed by good  
>> intentions,
>> but there's not much that people in the USA can actually do to  
>> prevent the
>> harm that software patents do to free software (and software  freedom in
>> general).
> I was interested mainly because of the whole "see, the PTO *is*  
> responding to the complaints of the FLOSS community!" angle which,  
> while is partly true, for the reasons you and Shane have highlighted  
> and others, is certainly not wholly true.  OTOH, maybe this is just a  
> first step on the road of true reform that might happen within our  
> lifetime.
> Joe
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