Friday24 March 2023

The Electronic Fontier Foundation Wants to Scrap the Software Patent System

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eff-introWe have to say that with all of the non-profit organizations out there one of our favorite is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They have been at the forefront of the battle for user data security, privacy and have fought many battles against the rather abusive (and redundant) copyright system. Now they are doing something very proactive instead of the more typical defense against the increasingly preposterous machine that makes up the corporate world.

By now we are sure you are wondering what we are talking about. Well ok, ok I will tell you. As many of you have noted companies like to try and extract massive damages and penalties for even the smallest infraction of what they have patented. This has become the weapon of choice for competing in the technological space where companies literally try to patent EVERY piece of their products including software components and graphical interfaces.

In only the past few months we have seen companies like Apple, Google, and Oracle attempt to get Bans on each other’s products and in the case of Oracle to get Millions of dollars for nine lines of code. The abuses are piling up and even the judges that normally just rubber stamp the requests are starting to take note and require a little more evidence of harm before they grant a ban or massive damages.

The EFF (yes we are not getting to the point) is trying to present this information to congress and other law makers so that they will actually take a serious look at the current software patent system. They feel that the entire system is broken and needs more than just “reform”. As most of us know reform usually takes the form of a few cosmetic changes on the surface and new laws which end up allowing more abuse.

The EFF has put up a new website called that lists out the problems with the system as well as proposals for fixing the issues. One of my favorites is making patent trolls liable for ALL court costs if their patents are found invalid or that the defendant did not infringe on them. This is very similar to some frivolous litigation laws that were put in place for inmates (who were suing for everything from the temperature of rice to having a bone in their chicken…).

Having stiff penalties for abusing the patent system would be a good start as it might make more companies weigh the possible consequences of their actions. But the EFF did not stop at fines for Trolls. As you can see in the image below they have quite a few suggestions that they would like taken seriously by congress. We have said for quite some time that the current system of patents and copyrights is broken and possible needs to be scrapped and re-built from the ground up. It has become a tool to stifle competition rather than a system to protect innovators. The daily abuses from companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Samsung and others has become absurd and the amount of time and money these battle waste is of epic proportions now.
The EFF has the right idea and is getting some great support behind this proposal, but they needs a lot more help if they are to overcome the massive lobby system that the IP holders have. We do hope that they are able to get someone to listen; otherwise we have a feeling that the IP protection laws will only get worse and continue to hurt the consumer more than anyone.


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Last modified on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 11:37

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