FSF in Round Two Against Software Patents

Feb 24, 2009

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is persisting in its worldwide battle against software patents with comprehensive background information and has hired lobbyist Ciaran O'Riordan to fight the next round.

Round one is now over and FSF is entering round two "in re Bilski" that we covered in November 2008, in which a U.S. court of appeals handed down a ruling redefining software patenting. By many expert and FOSS activist opinions, the ruling is ground-breaking for new legislation that can challenge software patents, at least in the U.S.

The FSF wants to provide the material assembled in its defense to worldwide patent activists and has issued an EndSoftwarePatents.org website to give it a well structured and organized platform. The foundation has now hired lobbyist Ciaran O'Riordan to be head of the project. Having been employed by FSF Europe, the native Irishman brings years of anti-patent activist experience. O'Riordan sees the software activists as well-armed: "We have the arguments and the studies to show how software patents harm competition, choice, innovation, SMEs, standards, and entrepreneurs." His recent experience has led him to one conclusion: "We've seen how inefficient, slow, and costly the patent system is -- how incompatible it is with software development timelines."

EndSoftwarePatents.org is positioned to gather multilateral ammunition against patents, among it business management attitudes and assessments as well as legal considerations.The available E.U. documents as well as the U.S. ones in the Bilski case should provide the initial support, with the team working globally to make it "easily reusable." O'Riordan explains the task at hand: "There's a mountain of information, but a bottleneck is that much of it is contained in electronic archives... in news stories, and unmaintained websites. By organizing this information and delivering it into the hands of activists and lawmakers, we can form an immense tool to help existing and future campaigns around the world."

The FSF is financing the EndSoftwarePatents.org project through donations. The website already contains resources for lawyers, with the motto "The fight is not yet over."

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