Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Petition to Eliminate Software Patents

The White House's website contains a We The People section, allowing common folks to petition the government via the web. The White House promises that it will respond to each petition that amasses a threshold number of e-signatures within a stated period of time. The present threshold is 5,000 e-signatures within 30 days of petition posting. There have been numerous petitions posted, but the one petition that has accumulated the most number of e-signatures in the shortest period of time (over 11,000 signatures in four days, so far) seeks to prevent the issuance of any further software patents in the U.S., and to cancel the software patents that have issued. Here is the text of the petition:

We petition the Obama administration to: 
Direct the Patent Office to Cease Issuing Software Patents 
The patent office's original interpretation of software as language and therefor patentable is much closer to reality and more productive for innovation than it's current practice of issuing software patents with no understanding of the patents being issued. 
Under the patent office's current activity, patents have been come a way to stifle innovation and prevent competition rather than supporting innovation and competitive markets. They've become a tool of antitrust employed by large companies against small ones. 
To return sanity to the software industry - one of the few industries still going strong in America - direct the patent office to cease issuing software patents and to void all previously issued software patents.

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