[openip] Re: "rights" and "freedoms"

Ross N. Williams ross at rocksoft.com
Tue Oct 19 09:43:44 UTC 1999

At 9:29 AM +0200 19/10/99, Robert M. Muench wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Richard Stallman [mailto:rms at gnu.org]
>> Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 8:44 PM
>> To: jread at semiotek.com
>> Cc: anicolao at mud.cgl.uwaterloo.ca; ghost at aladdin.com;
>> jread at semiotek.com; weigel+ at pitt.edu; cowan at locke.ccil.org;
>> Ken.Coar at Golux.Com; jamil.khatib at pemail.net;
>openip at egroups.com;
>> gnu at gnu.org; graham at collector.hscs.wmin.ac.uk; fsb at crynwr.com;
>> pleb at cse.unsw.edu.au; license-discuss at opensource.org;
>khatib at ieee.org
>> Subject: [openip] Re: "rights" and "freedoms"
>> The US Patent Office is incompetent in all fields, and issues
>> trivial patents habitually.
>> If the Patent Office did a good job, perhaps patents would
>> be beneficial overall in many fields.  But I am convinced
>> that patents in software are inherently harmful, and would
>> be harmful even if the Patent Office handled them "well".
>As I have some knowledge with all these patent stuff, the only
>possible way to go for us 'free fighters' is to beat them with
>their own weapons. Each patent has a 3 month public period were
>everyone can file an objection to a published patent. It should
>be trivial to show prior art to the PTO and argue about the
>triviality of the filed patent.
>So why not make a patent-tracking-and-objection group, which just
>does this job? I'm sure it would help a lot of people and do much
>more for the community than any other project. Richard, may be
>the FSF is the right place for such a watch-dog group.

Answer: Because there is one US software patent issued, on average,
every 20 minutes, and it would take several days of work to find
prior art for each one and prepare a submission.

(One per 20 minutes is about 25,000 per year which I think is
 about the current rate. Anyone can correct me if I'm wrong, but
 even if it was just one patent issued a day, it would still be


Dr Ross N. Williams (ross at rocksoft.com), +61 8 8232-6262 (fax-6264).
Director, Rocksoft Pty Ltd, Adelaide, Australia: http://www.rocksoft.com/ 
Protect your files with Veracity data integrity: http://www.veracity.com/

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