Subject: Examples needed against Soft Patents
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2004 10:43:18 +0100


3 or 4 years ago, free software was considered by most as irrelevant
for business.  This is no longer the case ... and may explain why this
list has become much less active.

Now it is so relevant that the people who want software patents put
forward as a major argument (at least in Europe) that it is compatible
with free software.  For the very good reason that governments are
using a lot of free software, and they are the ones who decide about
software patentability.

I am just coming out of a difficult meeting, where I was alone to
defend the position that free software is incompatible with software
patents.  The people I was opposed to are major pro-patent lobbyists
at national level ... i.e. the kind of people who make the arguments
presented to government officials.

I have my own understanding of the issues, and wrote about it (I will
be disseminating a paper on this, but the current version is only in
French) ... but still, I would like to hear advice, and get data.

- I am taker of a summary of arguments
  2/3 lines for each argument

  But the type of arguments I need is mostly factual ... not trends or
  reasonning which they dismiss as paranoia ...

- I definitely need a detailed commented list of free projects,
  everywhere, that have been stopped because of patents.

  ...  especially because of pure software patents
   (some people may argue that it is not the case for MP3)

  Can you give me the coordinates of such lists hopefully with details
  about what happened in each case.

- One major argument that was used against me is :

  there have been software patents in the USA and Japan for 20 years
  (their number ... it is actually more like 10 years, I think)
  but free software is still doing well in both countries.

   How do you answer that?

Any help would be most helpful.

This is an important request ... please take it seriously.

Of course I know about more general arguments regarding software
patents, for example regarding innovation or SMEs.
  But the issue is specifically SwPat vs Free Software



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