The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – an international organization that advocates digital rights – has launched a campaign against software patents and software trolls. There seems to be more and more people who are calling for a reform with the American patents system, just like Judge Richard A. Posner.
In a post on its blog, the organization says that the campaign centers on seven proposals that they think will “address some of the greatest abuses of the current software patent system, including making sure that folks who independently arrived at an invention can’t be held liable for infringing on a software patent.”
The main contention of the organization is that the current patents system in the U.S. is flawed and it stifles innovation rather than safeguard it. “People who have been following the software patent space know just how flawed the current system is and how, instead of promoting new inventions, software patents are being turned against everyday inventors,” the organizations says.
With the launch of the new campaign, the EFF introduced defendinnovation.org, the website which will be the main portal for this new campaign. On the site, the EFF lists the seven proposals of the campaign.
“The patent system is in crisis, and it endangers the future of software development in the United States. Let’s create a system that defends innovation, instead of hindering it.
– A patent covering software should be shorter: no more than five years from the application date.
– If the patent is invalid or there’s no infringement, the trolls should have to pay the legal fees.
– Patent applicants should be required to provide an example of running software code for each claim in the patent.
– Infringers should avoid liability if they independently arrive at the patented invention.
– Patents and licenses should be public right away. Patent owners should be required to keep their public records up-to-date.
– The law should limit damages so that a patent owner can’t collect millions if the patent represented only a tiny fraction of a defendant’s product.
– Congress should commission a study and hold hearings to examine whether software patents actually benefit our economy at all.”
The EFF is urging people to join their cause. They recognize, however, that there may be differing opinions as to how the patents system will be overhauled in relation to software patents.
“Regardless of whether you think software patents should be abolished altogether or just reformed, the first step is recognizing that a one-size-fits-all patents system doesn’t make sense and that we need to treat software patents differently from other types of patents. Without that, no effort – whether reform or abolition – can be successful,” the organization says. It also stressed that it welcomed discussion about the issue.
What do you think of this campaign by the EFF? Tell us in the comments below.