Subject: Re: Examples needed against Soft Patents
From: Claus Agerskov <>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 11:02:40 +0100 (CET)

 Mon, 20 Dec 2004 11:02:40 +0100 (CET)
On Sat, 18 Dec 2004, Bernard Lang wrote:

> 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?

Though I am not a specialist or have a degree I will give my words too:

If I was a software patentholder I would wait until EU has decided for 
or against software patents before I sue companies because it could be 
used as an argument against software patents.

And if I wait and EU votes for software patents then there will be more 
companies to sue. 

But this is not the case only for free software but the whole software 

The patentholder of the MP3 patent is the only software patentholder I 
know who actually threatning free software projects in their initial 

But most software patentholders will first take contact when there is a 
profitable company to sue - when the company will loose more by turning 
down the software than by paying the patent fees.

But why is MP3 not a true software patent? As I see it it is only data 
in, compressing data, data out. No need for hardware here - so only 
software is needed.  

The most enjoyable greetings
Claus Agerskov       Electromagnetic Systems  Phone:    +45 45 88 14 44
Networkadministrator      ěrsted * DTU        Fax:      +45 45 93 16 34       ěrsted Plads 348      Web:
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