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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Research questions

From: Tom Chance
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Research questions
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 10:53:04 +0100
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On Tuesday 27 Jul 2004 10:42, P.L.Hayes wrote:
> On Tuesday 27 July 2004 08:38, Ian Lynch wrote:
> > I thin kyou need some concrete examples where these patents have been
> > enforced to the detriment of some group of people otherwise it will be
> > seen as just paranoia and hysteria.
> >
> > Equally they won't be convinced unless you show them actual cases where
> > such patents have been enforced to the detrimnet of an average computer
> > user.
> Enforcement isn't necessary though is it? - The mere threat is enough and
> quite frankly I don't give a damn whether someone decides to enforce their
> 'rights' to exclude others from using software ideas or not. The mere fact
> that they can is an outrage but I suppose that won't make the news until
> it's too late - if then.

In the FFII meeting in Brussels last April, several people from software 
companies testified that software patents already damage their businesses. 
The picture they gave suggested that increasingly you have to file defensive 
patents just in case people do threaten you with theirs, so you can settle 
out of court. The cost of a case was estimated at over £1m! A patent case 
would sink many SMEs (small and medium enterprises), and so the mere threat 
of a patent case is enough.

Of course it hasn't effected free software much yet, but I suspect that's just 
because nobody has yet taken a major project to court. I'm sure if someone 
did, a lot of free software developers would rethink their attitude towards 
software patents.

If you want more on this, I'm sure the FFII have transcripts and details of 
the testimonies from April.


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