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.
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
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.
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://discuss.patent.gov.uk/patentoffice.softpat is a good place to support the cause of free software :-)