09 June 2009

A Different Point of View on Software Patents

One of the fears that I and others have voiced is that the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) - an attempt to set up a unified European judicial system for patent litigation - might be an attempt to get software patents in through back door. Often, though, these concerns are dismissed by supporters of software patents as unwarranted. But here's someone who disagrees:

The industry-based driving force behind the EPLA comes from the pro-software patent group as a way of ensuring that their software or potential software patents are fully enforceable across Europe. The EPO is fully supportive of the EPLA, and some national governments and patent registries have voiced their support.

More whining from the anti-software patent lot? Well, not actually. These words were written by Alison Crofts, who:

provides specialist IP advice and expertise in both litigation and commercial matters. This includes advising on: the creation, protection and exploitation of IP rights, including trade secrets, confidentiality issues, technology transfer agreements and licensing; the enforcement and defence of IP rights, including the conduct of litigation and arbitration proceedings; and IP aspects of joint ventures, co-ownership and transactions. Alison has an engineering background and has particular experience in the semiconductor, oil and gas, hi-tech and telecoms engineering industries.

In other words, she's likely to be for rather than against software patents. Don't say we didn't tell you.... (Via FFII.)

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PL Hayes said...

“The industry-based driving force behind the EPLA comes from the pro-software patent group as a way of ensuring that their software or potential software patents are fully enforceable across Europe.”

Ah yes! All those software patents which the EPO claims it hasn't granted and won't grant. If you follow the FFII news feed, Glyn, you may have seen this already:


Industry and patent attorney propaganda and lobbying is one thing but for the EPO to - again - publish such gross distortions of patent system economics and of its own practices as this is unforgivable. The EPO has such an enormous impact on Europe's overall economic and social welfare and on the lives of its individual citizens that we just cannot go on tolerating it being run by a bunch of deceitful and incompetent clowns. The situation as it stands is just as bad as if we had health policy being run by the Society of Homeopaths or science and education policy being run by the Discovery Institute.

Glyn Moody said...

Thanks for the link.

Yes, truly outrageous (great comparisons...)

Anonymous said...

The arguments against software patents have a fundamental flaw. As any electrical engineer knows, solutions to problems implemented in software can also be realized in hardware, i.e., electronic circuits. The main reason for choosing a software solution is the ease in implementing changes, the main reason for choosing a hardware solution is speed of processing. Therefore, a time critical solution is more likely to be implemented in hardware. While a solution that requires the ability to add features easily will be implemented in software. As a result, to be intellectually consistent those people against software patents also have to be against patents for electronic circuits. For more information on patents and innovation see www.hallingblog.com.

Glyn Moody said...

Thanks. Not a flaw, and not a problem at all: I'm against patents for circuits too. In fact I'm against *all* patents. For why, see: