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Campaign against software patents

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| A global petition designed to raise awareness of software patents has been
| launched September 24 as part of the World Day against Software Patents.
| Currently in draft format, the petition includes information about how
| software patents can affect business, research and development.


Software Patents: A Time for Change?

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| Over the years, nearly all limits to patentable subject matter in the U.S.
| have been removed by the specialized patent court without input from
| Congress, empirical evidence to justify its decisions, or consideration of
| values and principles outside of the patent system. Problems related to
| software patents have sparked calls for patent reform here in the U.S. and
| have driven efforts to reject legislation authorizing US-style software
| patents in Europe.


EFF Challenges Bogus Patent on Internet Music Files

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| The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is challenging a bogus patent on
| Internet music files that could stifle new innovations in online music
| distribution. Seer Systems was awarded this illegitimate patent for a system
| and method for joining different musical data types together in a file,
| distributing them over the Internet, and then playing that file.



Critic of Software Patents Wins Nobel Prize in Economics

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| doom writes "You've probably already heard that the Nobel Prize
| for Economics was given to three gents who were working on advances
| in mechanism design theory. What you may not have heard is what one
| of those recipients was using that theory to study: 'One recent
| subject of Professor Maskin's wide-ranging research has been on the
| value of software patents. He determined that software was a market
| where innovations tended to be sequential, in that they were built
| closely on the work of predecessors, and innovators could take many
| different paths to the same goal. In such markets, he said, patents
| might serve as a wall that inhibited innovation rather than
| stimulating progress.' Here's one of Maskin's papers on the
| subject: Sequential Innovation, Patents, limitation (pdf).


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.

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