Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FOSS developer's campaign against software patents moves ahead

Melbourne developer Ben Sturmfels is sure of one thing: his campaign to end them in their entirety will succeed in the long run.

He began with the collection of signatures last year to submit to federal parliament. In February, Sturmfels' petition was accepted by the government's Petitions Committee, in three batches. "Collecting 1000 signatures on paper is a hard task and a huge one in terms of the amount of paper needed," he said with a grin.

He argues that patents are not necessary to encourage innovation in their industry, that the term of a patent (20 years) is too long, and that the cost involved (in avoiding infringing patents, and defending against patent lawsuits) is not viable, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Apple gets U.S. ban on HTC Android phones sales... for now | ZDNet

Apple gets U.S. ban on HTC Android phones sales... for now | ZDNet: This particular junk patent covers clicking a phone number on a phone list and your smartphone automatically dialing that number!

British Telecom joins patent attack on Google Android

BT joins patent attack on Google Android - Telegraph:
"In a broad complaint, BT claims that Google Maps, Google Music, Google Search, Android Market, location-based advertising and the Google social network all infringe its intellectual property. [...] “BT brings this action to recover the just compensation it is owed and to prevent Google from continuing to benefit from BT's inventions without authorization,” the court papers say."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

That patents comment, The Gameshelf

Andrew Plotkin's "The Gameshelf" blog has a posting about the difference between having an idea and having a fully expressed idea as well as a number of other musings.
"The basis of our patent system is ensuring that innovators get paid." I came back with "That's the goal, not the basis", which was probably overcondensed. I was trying to point out that goals are not results. If the existing system isn't doing its job, the system is broken. In theory, you can't patent a naked idea; you have to put it in some kind of physical form. In practice, the boundaries between "idea" and "invention" have gotten very fuzzy; the physical form of software (or process, or a procedure) is irrelevant. Okay, that makes my quote fuzzy as well. The question, as several tweeters have pointed out, is obviousness -- or, the difference between the easy part and the hard part.
Full posting

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

US heavies NZ on software patents

Paul Matthews wrote this opinion piece for The National Business Review:
A pending international trade treaty could override a recent New Zealand law change that excluded software from patent protection. All the political parties supported the controversial change.

But the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) could see the US pro-patent view override our local law makers.