24 September 2008

Stop Software Patents Today - and Every Day

Today is World Day against Software Patents, apparently:

Three years ago the European Parliament stopped the attempt to make software patents enforcable in Europe. An unprecedented community effort made it possible with a relative low awareness about the dangers among larger software companies. Since then litigation and patent traps have become a serious problem for the market and users of software. We need to reduce patent risks which impede innovation and investment.

On a worldwide scale Patent Offices continue to grant these rights and did not adapt their practice. They are facing a patent crisis caused by lowering standards and fail to cope with their examination backlog. In a patent office the main creativity shown is directed towards interpretation of their own legal base. Even without political support the patent community expands what can be made patentable through practice and case law. Though they face a groundswell of interest in stopping software patents their typical excuse is: "We don't grant software patents, we don't really know what software patents are." or "Why exclude software?" or "We just execute the law.". Additionally they lobby the legislator. It is upon democratic forces to bring bureaucracies back under control which live well off with their software patent regimes. It is indispensible that the software community remains organised and responsive.

We want to overcome the software patent crisis. We raise awareness about their devastating effects on the emerging information and knowlege society where software predominates and we make our constructive reform proposals heard. But without your support there would be no way to succeed. Rather the ongoing threads would aggravate.

Of course, *every* day should be a Stop Software Patents Day....

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