Thefirsttest

TEST *+-_-+* THIS IS ONLY A TEST *+-_-+* THIS IS ONLY A TEST

Senator the Hon Kim Carr
Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
4 Treasury Place
East Melbourne
MELBOURNE 3022

Dear Senator Carr,

As a member of the software industry, I urge the Australian Government to abolish software patents in the upcoming review of patent legislation.

Patents are not needed for innovation in the software industry

The software industry has an extensive history of innovating without the use of patents. Specific examples of innovative software developed without patents include:

  • Apache web server (runs approx. 54% of all websites[1])
  • Firefox web browser (used by approx. 31% of website users[2]) and
  • GNU/Linux operating system (widely used in universities, industry and in 91% of the top 500 super-computers in the world[3])

Patents actively discourage innovation in the software industry

Small developers are discouraged from innovating because it is not viable to search software patents nor defend themselves against patent lawsuits.

The government’s 2009 /Venturous Australia/ report found that:

in new areas of patenting such as software and business methods, there is strong evidence that existing intellectual property arrangements are hampering innovation.[4]

UEAPME is a union which represents small to medium enterprises that employ approx. 55 million people in Europe. They state:

UEAPME is opposed to the introduction of an EU software patent, which would reinforce monopolisation in the software sector, damage interoperability and act as a barrier to innovation by SMEs. Small firms simply do not have the resources to engage in the costly and time-consuming process of patent application. This would enable dominant large firms in the sector to secure vast numbers of patents and result in crippling litigation costs, which would put small firms out of business.[5]

UK Lord Justice Jacob states:

If the encouragement of patenting and of patent litigation as industries in themselves were a purpose of the patent system, then the case for construing [exclusions] narrowly (and indeed for removing them) is made. But not otherwise.[6]

A twenty-year monopoly is too long in the software industry

Patents are intended benefit society by trading off a short-term monopoly for the inventor in return for the long-term benefit to society of disclosing details of the invention. For many industries, twenty years is considered short-term. However, due to the rapid evolution of the software industry, withholding a technique for twenty years renders it essentially useless to the industry and to society.

The software industry has not been well-represented in the recent review

In 2009, the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) held a public consultation during their Review of Patentable Subject Matter[7]. The Microsoft Corporation were the only software industry respondent. It is therefore clear that the software industry cannot be well-represented in the findings of the review. I was not aware of this public consultation, so was unable to make a submission.

As a member of the software industry, it is clear to me that software patents cause more harm than good. I therefore urge the Australian Government to abolish software patents.

Sincerely,

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