Subject: Re: [Freesw]
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 11:23:17 +0200

On Thu, May 10, 2001 at 01:15:15PM -0700, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> on Wed, May 09, 2001 at 09:34:37PM +0200, PILCH Hartmut ( wrote:
> > > Yes ...
> > >
> > >    one of the dumbest initiatives of the Hindsight Institute ... and
> > > apparently endorsed by some prominent members of the community too.
> > 
> > I don't think that the Foresight showed their press release to ESR, Lessig
> > and the others.  This is a quick shot, designed to exploit them for PR
> > purposes and throw them away later.
> I've asked each of the parties quoted whether or not their statements
> were used with permission, and in the spirit in which they were
> intended.  The responses of Larry Rosen and Jeff Bates are affirmative.

I wish they would better explain their support.

Stallman is often criticized for being a Guru ... (which is more the
doing of his followers than his own) ... but he does spend time
explaining his positions.

Considering that the issue of software patenting is a major one,
my questionning of the Foresight Institute initiative.
  This list usually has opinions.

and some of the supporters of this initiative do read this list...

I still consider that this initiative on SWPAT is totally stupid and
harmful to free software, to innovation and to the economy.
 ... but hopefully ineffective.

  I am surprised that it has been supported so quickly ... and that I
(nor any of my SWPAT fighting colleagues) did not hear of any debate
on the issue, while I do spend much time on the software patenting

  But it does seem that other people are at least dubious (cf Salon) :
Mark Lemley, a law professor at Berkeley and an intellectual property
expert, Greg Aharonian, publisher of a patent newsletter and a
consultant who regularly busts bogus patents (and who supports
software patenting), ...

... and (as far as I know) the Eurolinux group who organized the
anti-swpat petition (70 000 signatures) and wrote numerous documents
and reports on this issue.

 Bernard Lang

some URLs:

> on Wed, May 09, 2001 at 07:17:16PM +0200, Bernard Lang ( wrote:
> > On Wed, May 09, 2001 at 09:53:46AM +0200, Carlo Daffara wrote:
> > > An interesting twist on protection against bad patents:
> > >
> > 
> > Yes ...
> > 
> >    one of the dumbest initiatives of the Hindsight Institute ... and
> > apparently endorsed by some prominent members of the community too.
> > 
> > 
> >   The good thing about it is that one has to pay to use it ... 20
> > bucks is still a lot.  So it will probably be ignored.

my mistake ... Foresight is wasting its money on it ... they probably
get too much.

> >   SWPAT are inherently bad economically (I do not know of any study
> > with positive conclusions).  Why waste time helping them.  It is much
> > more useful to maximize insecurity for patent requesters by making
> > prior art search difficult.  Increasing the cost for patent holders
> > actually improves the economic effectiveness of the patent system
> > (discouraging weak patents).
> > 
> >   And it is totally misleading regarding the way patents works.
> > People will use this database to get the good ideas and patent around
> > them.  Just imagine a new claim and you get a patent on an old idea.
> > 
> >    I wish free software "leaders" had carefully discussed the issue
> > publicly, and with more experienced patent specialists, before
> > endorsing it.


        Todays News
   New Weapon in Fight Against Bogus Patents 

          Top Open Source Leaders Endorse '' Initiative

                  Billions at Stake in Internet Patent Wars

    ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- During the 1850's Gold Rush, the

    Surprisingly, given the often-fractious nature of the open source
movement, has been endorsed by many of its top leaders
(affiliations listed for identification purposes only):
    "Bravo to Foresight and for making it easy to do defensive
disclosures for open source," declared Brian Behlendorf, leader of the open
source Apache Project and co-founder and chief technology officer at
    Added Jeff "Hemos" Bates, co-founder of the open source community site, "Doing a defensive disclosure at enables the patent
office to see that patent applications on [already-existing open source] ideas
should be denied."
    And as Lawrence Rosen, executive director of the Open Source Initiative,
put it: " will prevent third parties from unfairly claiming patent
rights they don't deserve."
    Even the renowned professor Lawrence Lessig of the Stanford Law School has
lent his support to the service.  "In a perfect world, would have little use," Professor Lessig noted.  "But we live in
a lawyer's world, and will be crucial to keeping the innovation
commons alive."
    As open source leader Eric Raymond put it: " stops bogus
patents before they start!" 

and in Salon:

By creating a central, legally strong database that's cheap enough to
be accessible to all, the two sides have given independent programmers
the chance to "write a patent claim without getting a patent," says
Bruce Perens

It's a case of the people taking back the courts, says Robin Gross, a
staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

         Non aux Brevets Logiciels  -  No to Software Patents
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