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Summary:

Software patent opponents tried to pull the direct democracy lever at the White House but struck out earlier this week. Now they are reassem…

White House
photo: Flickr / dcJohn

Software patent opponents tried to pull the direct democracy lever at the White House but struck out earlier this week. Now they are reassembling for another push.

Software patents rankle many in the development community who believe they enrich lawyers at the expense of innovation. In September, the critics decided to test-drive the Obama administration’s new “We the People” initiative which provides an official response to petitions that garner enough signatures.

On Monday, the White House gave a thumbs down to a petition demanding that the patent office stop issuing software patent. The response touted the virtues of the new America Invents Act but largely skated over the specific issue of software patents (Ars Technica provides an excellent account of the reasons for the rejection).

The software patent opponents appear to be a resilient lot and, as reported by patent guru Dennis Crouch, have already launched a new petition that blasts the initial response and calls on the government to try again:

The Obama Administration’s response to a previous petition shamefully attempted to absolve the President of responsibility and placate us with the toothless America Invents Act .. The President must use his full power and influence to fight harmful forces from entrenched incumbents and non-producing entities…

The petitioners may have their work cut out for them the second around. Due to the popularity of the petition program, the White House in October raised the number of signatures required for a response from 5,000 to 25,000. So far the software opponents have about 700 signatures with 27 days left to obtain the rest.

The petition is just one arena where the ever-contentious patent debate is taking place. Another one to watch is the Supreme Court which in December will again consider the scope of patentable subject matter in a medical case called Prometheus Laboratories. The Court ruled on the same issue in 2010 in a case called Bilski but its decision has been widely panned for failing to clarify what can and can’t be patented.

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  1. Ben Ford Ford Friday, November 4, 2011

    “Software patents rankle many in the development community…”

    Sure, just like land property rights rankled the giant railroads in the 1800’s. Property rights are always inconvenient for huge corporations who prefer public domain -except for their property!

    They should have called the bill the America STOPS Inventing Act or ASIA, because that’s where it is sending all our jobs.

    “This is not a patent reform bill” Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) complained, despite other democrats praising the overhaul. “This is a big corporation patent giveaway that tramples on the right of small inventors.”

    “patent reform”

    Senator Cantwell is right. Just because they call it “reform” doesn’t mean it is. The agents of banks, huge multinationals, and China are at it again trying to brain wash and bankrupt America.

    The patent bill is nothing less than another monumental federal giveaway for banks, huge multinationals, and China and an off shoring job killing nightmare for America. Even the leading patent expert in China has stated the bill will help them steal our inventions. Who are the supporters of this bill working for??

    Patent reform is a fraud on America. This bill will not do what they claim it will. What it will do is help large multinational corporations maintain their monopolies by robbing and killing their small entity and startup competitors (so it will do exactly what the large multinationals paid for) and with them the jobs they would have created. The bill will make it harder and more expensive for small firms to get and enforce their patents. Without patents we cant get funded. Yet small entities create the lion’s share of new jobs. According to recent studies by the Kauffman Foundation and economists at the U.S. Census Bureau, “startups aren’t everything when it comes to job growth. They’re the only thing.” This bill is a wholesale slaughter of US jobs. Those wishing to help fight this bill should contact us as below.

    Small entities and inventors have been given far too little voice on this bill when one considers that they rely far more heavily on the patent system than do large firms who can control their markets by their size alone. The smaller the firm, the more they rely on patents -especially startups and individual inventors. Congress tinkering with patent law while gagging inventors is like a surgeon operating before examining the patient.

    Please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html for a different/opposing view on patent reform.
    http://docs.piausa.org/

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