January 24, 2005

Software patents, another reprieve.

2004-12-21 Software Patents Withdrawn from the Agenda of the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries at Poland's Request. First thing I would like to know is why where they on the agenda in the first place, are there many Haddock out in the north sea frantically coding away and hoping that once they get their patent through to kickstart the European economy with their radical discoveries? Of course not, for one thing the Common Fisheries Policy means that there arn't that many Haddock in the North sea anymore, and for another saltwater isn't known as the best enviroment for complex electronics. It was probbaly there simply as they felt it was the best place to slip this bit of law through without anyone noticing, luckily they didn't count on the observance of the Poles.

Now I don't personally think that software patents are in themselves bad, RSA for example was a genuine leap in the state of the art and deserved it's patent, however most of the stuff that is being granted under the software patent rules should simply be laughted out of the office. They are mostly bogus, either trivial, already done (often by someone else), or taking something that everyone does in the physical world and adding the phrase "with a computer". Most are owned by US companies, often who have no intension of building anything but simply want them to blackmail other companies with the prospect of lawsuits. Even if they know that they should lose the threat itself is normally enough because of the amount that it would cost to in lawyers fees. Software patents are having a chilling effect on software innovation in the US, an would have more so in the EU. Deliberatly sabataging a growing industry is the last thing that the EU economy needs right now.


Post a Comment

<< Home