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Briefing Note on the Impact of Software Patents on the Software Industry in

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| In other industries, research continues up to a point where further research
| costs too much to be feasible. At this stage, the industry's output
| merelyconsists of replacing parts that have worn out.
| However, in the software sector, a computer program that is fully debugged
| will perform its function forever without requiring maintenance or
| modification. “What this means is that unlike socks that wear out, and
| breakfast cereal that is eaten, a particular software product can be sold to
| a particular customer at most once. If it is to be sold to that customer
| again, it must be enhanced with new features and functionality.” This
| inevitably means that even if the industry were to approach maturity, any
| software company that does not produce new and innovative products will
| simply run out of customers! Thus, the industry will remain innovative
| whether or not software patents exist.



Intellectual Property Regime Stifles Science and Innovation, Nobel Laureates

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| Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede
| the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent
| thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued
| for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure
| to encourage innovation, he said.
| Another problem is that the social returns from innovation do not accord with
| the private returns associated with the patent system, Stiglitz said. The
| marginal benefit from innovation is that an idea may become available sooner
| than it might have. But the person who secures the patent on it wins a
| long-term monopoly, creating a gap between private and social returns.


Infy, TCS lock horns with Red Hat over IT patent

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| IT majors like Infosys Technologies Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
| are opposing the open-source community’s demand that the government drop a
| clause in the draft patent examination manual as it gives scope for software
| patenting under the Indian Patent Act of 2003.
| The IT majors made their opposition clear at a meeting in Delhi, called by
| the government’s department of industrial policy & promotion on Thursday. The
| dispute has been sparked by the draft manual that will guide patent examiners
| in their interpretation of the Indian Patent (Amendment) Act for software.
| Section 3(K) of the Act clearly says: “A mathematical or business method or a
| computer programme per se or algorithms are not patentable.”


Stakeholders Meeting on the Draft Patent Manual

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| Yesterday, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry hosted a "Stakeholders
| Meeting on the Draft Patent Manual." Around 70 people attended this meeting.
| The audience was a mix of lawyers, industry associations like CII, FICCI etc,
| civil society organizations and industry.
| [...]
| At this point, the discussion became pretty heated and the chair of the
| meeting decided to call for a separate meeting on software patents. I'll keep
| you updated.


Microsoft India MD joins HP

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| In a major setback to IT giant Microsoft, its India Managing Director(MD)
| Neelam Dhawan has decided to call it quits and will join Hewlett-Packard
| (HP).


What's up with Microsoft India?

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| The CVP, MD and all her direct reports made this company a miserable place to
| work for! They created a feudal fiefdom for themselves.


Microsoft influencing partner NGOs to support OOXML in India

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| Microsoft is encouraging its business partners to promote its Office Open XML
| specification (OOXML) to the Indian Bureau of Standards (BIS) and Ministry of
| IT. This move has incensed supporters of the rival OpenDocument Format (ODF)
| who fear that the "soft" Indian state may not be able to stand up to
| Microsoft pressure tactics.


Finally, My open letter on OOXML happenings in India

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| 3. My personal anguish.
| My first anguish is the way the name of my colleagues and my Institution,
| along with names of several others on the committee LITD 15, have been
| maligned and tarnished by Microsoft. My second anguish is that Microsoft
| persisted in its attempt to pressurize Indian leadership to change the Indian
| stand, in spite of the fact that a due process established by the Government
| had completed its job, recommending no change in the Indian vote. These two
| things, amongst others, have caused me to lose my peace of mind and my sleep
| over last two months. I share my thoughts (which sometimes have been rather
| wild), and my anguish in this section.
| [...]
| To illustrate how someone could react to this mudslinging by Microsoft, I
| have written a hypothetical complaint titled ‘Microsoft is looting the nation
| in alliance with Indian IT giants'. While constructing this hypothetical
| complaint, I have used what I call the ‘Microsoft patented mud-slinging
| algorithm’. I have included it as a stand alone appendix (Annexure A) to this
| letter. The purpose is to demonstrate that such complaints and counter
| complaints would lead all of us to disaster. This hypothetical counter
| complaint shows Microsoft as working at national and International forums to
| maintain and enhance its monopoly in global markets, and as attempting to
| ensure its monopoly strangle-hold on Indian desktop Market. It also paints
| INFOSYS, TCS, WIPRO and NASSCOM as willfully helping Microsoft in this evil
| design, and thus acting grossly against Indian National interests. The last
| one has hit me very hard emotionally, even though the construction was done
| by myself and it is purely hypothetical. The significant contributions made
| by these organizations to the Indian IT story are well known. The past and
| present leaders of these organizations are icons of modern India. I have the
| privilege of knowing them closely and being counted amongst their friends. I
| am sure that a large number of my countrymen will react very strongly if
| anyone was to really engage in such slander against them. I will be one
| personally eager to counter any such foolish attempts to malign these great
| names. These people and their Institutions are and must be treated with
| genuine respect.
| [...]
| If no citation from the new standard (as on 20th March 2008) is available
| from these members, should the nation now conclude that these 4 organizations
| deliberately acted against Indian national interests? If there is any
| evidence of support now found to have been given by any one of these 4
| organizations to the efforts of Microsoft to pressurize the Indian Government
| to change our vote, should the nation now conclude that there indeed is
| a ‘secret alliance with Microsoft to loot the country’?
| Hard questions friends, with no easy answers.
| In conclusion, I will reiterate that my anguish, caused by Microsoft by
| slandering Individuals and organizations represented on committee LITD 15 of
| BIS, runs very very deep.

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