[LINK] Fwd: Open letter on abolishing software patents ...

Stephen Wilson swilson at lockstep.com.au
Wed Jul 28 18:15:33 AEST 2010


Isn't the real issue the low threshold for inventiveness?  That's what 
appalls most people when they see the classic business process patents.  
I woudl agree that easy patents are a problem.

The main Australian references for your argument are the Cutler Report 
and the still unfinished review of patentable subject matter by the 
Advisory Council on Intellectual Property.  As far as I can tell, the 
ACIP options paper presents both sides of the debate., and obviously has 
reached no conclusion as yet.

As for Cutler, yes he cites the view that software patents harm 
innovation, but when it comes to recommendations, he only cares to 
address inventiveness and not software patents per se:

"Patent law should be reviewed to ensure that the inventive steps 
required to qualify for patents are considerable, and that the resulting 
patents are well defined, so as to minimise litigation and maximise the 
scope for subsequent innovators" (Recc 7.2).

Finally, you point out that only one software company engaged with the 
ACIP review.

So in Australia, software patents don't seem to actually be a big problem. 

And I repeat what I think is a critical question: How would you propose 
differentiating between programmed logic and wired logic when doing away 
with software patents?  I don't think it can be done. 



Ben Sturmfels wrote:
> Stephen,
> As to what problem we're trying to solve, we believe software patents
> are harmful to business and the community.
> Details and references are here:
> http://apps.softwarefreedom.com.au/patents/
> Regards,
> Ben
> On Wed, 2010-07-28 at 14:55 +1000, Stephen Wilson wrote:
>> I don't agree with the campaign against "software patents".  
>> Fundamentally, programmed logic is equivalent to wired logic.  If you 
>> take a computer-plus-program that does something and put it in a black 
>> box with connextions to the outside world, it's not possible to tell 
>> from the outside whether the device internally is software driven or 
>> electronic (or clockwork for that matter). 
>> So just what is a "software" patent?  What's to stop an inventor taking 
>> their code and burning it into a gate array or custom chip?  And what 
>> problem are they actually trying to solve by way of a ban?
>> Cheers,
>> Stephen Wilson
>> Lockstep Group
>> www.lockstep.com.au <http://www.lockstep.com.au>
>> Lockstep Consulting provides independent specialist advice and analysis
>> on digital identity and privacy.  Lockstep Technologies develops unique
>> new smart ID solutions that enhance privacy and prevent identity theft.
>> Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au wrote:
>>> Subject: Open letter on abolishing software patents: Thanks for signing!
>>> Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 04:07:12 -0000
>>> From: Ben Sturmfels <ben at softwarefreedom.com.au>
>>> Dear Roger,
>>> Thanks for signing the letter on abolishing software patents in
>>> Australia.
>>> Could you do us one more favour? Explain to a colleague that you're
>>> concerned about software patents and encourage them to sign the
>>> letter. Every voice counts.
>>> http://apps.softwarefreedom.com.au/patents/

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