SpicyIP Tidbits: Global Coalition Against Software Patents


Guess the Mombattiwalas will have a field day. Here’s the excerpt from a post on Readerlist:

A global coalition of more than 80 software companies, associations and developers has declared the 24th of September to be the “World Day Against Software Patents”. Five years ago, on 24 September 2003, the European Parliament adopted amendments to limit the scope of patent law and thereby protect small software companies from the harmful effects of broad and trivial software patents. A global petition asking to effectively stop software patents worldwide will be launched on 24 September 2008, together with specific additional requests for certain regions such as Europe, the United States or India.
On 24 September 2008, the World Day Against Software Patents will provide volunteers with the opportunity to express the growing concerns of users, businesses and developers. The granting of software patents by patent offices around the world affects their freedom to innovate. The organizers expect 24h of activities across the globe. Volunteers will gather in front of patent offices to inform the general public of the problems underlying software patenting. A global petition demanding to effectively stop software patents worldwide will be launched on the same day. In some regions of the world such as Europe, the United States, or India, dedicated campaigns are being prepared by local supporters. The organizers intend to celebrate the World Day on an annual basis unless substantive clarifications are adopted in national laws that stop software patenting along with their effects on the digital economy.
Benjamin Henrion, initiator of the StopSoftwarePatents coalition effort, explains “The aim behind StopSoftwarePatents is to gather a worldwide coalition of businesses and civil society in order to get laws which clearly exempt software from patentable subject matter. This is the best solution for getting rid of ‘patent trolls’ and uncontrollable legal risks generated by software patents. The day the software industry forms a clear front against software patents will be the beginning of the endfor the ‘patent trolls‘.”

A few days back Swaraj had reported about the candle-light vigil in Bengalooru protesting against software patents. Thanks to Elvis Presley’s fans who started this fad, Dimple Kapadia & Co. can make a living by selling her scented candles only to these protesters for whom candle-light vigil seems to hold a lot of fascination. Guys, it’s not a candle-light dinner, go easy on it. This is a typical Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose kind of reaction. No doubt it’s a very pertinent issue, but let’s not get carried away.

This is no Jessica Lall or Rizwanur case we are talking about here. It’s a textbook policy debate. There’ s a certain way of doing these things; collect data, marshall arguments, present case studies, hold public debates, let all the parties involved talk on one platform and thrash out the issues involved. Publicity stunts will get us nowhere; in fact, it might end up hurting the cause of the Open Source movement.

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