Software Patents – 48 Days Left

There are now only 48 days left before EU Directive COD/2002/0047 which incorporates software patentability gets its second reading in the European Parliament. is keeping a record of how our MEPs are planning to vote at and Ciarán O’Riordan has duplicated that list with references on the IFSO’s wiki at – it’s time anyone who has yet to e-mail their local MEPs got off their arse and did it.

If they are voting against sotware patentability, thank them for their support. If they are voting in favour of software patentability then politely exppress your concerns and implore them to reconsider. If they are undecided then also exppress your concerns and ask them to apprise you (and pass that information onto me also please) of their eventual decision.

The reason that I emphasise local MEP is that your MEPs are required to answer all correspondence that they receive.

Justin Mason published an excellent quote on his weblog ( ) which I think is worthy of repetition here:

Mr. Justice Bradley, discussing US patent law in 1882:

The design of the patent laws is to reward those who make some substantial discovery or invention, which adds to our knowledge and makes a step in advance in the useful arts. Such inventors are worthy of all favour. It was never the object of those laws to grant a monopoly for every trifling device, every shadow of a shade of an idea, which would naturally and spontaneously occur to any skilled mechanic or operator in the ordinary progress of manufactures.

Such an indiscriminate creation of exclusive privileges tends rather to obstruct than to stimulate invention. It creates a class of speculative schemers who make it their business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and gather its foam in the form of patented monopolies, which enable them to lay a heavy tax upon the industry of the country, without contributing anything to the real advancement of the arts. It embarrasses the honest pursuit of business with fears and apprehensions of concealed liens and unknown liabilities to lawsuits and vexatious accountings for profits made in good faith.