NEW YORK, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT)
and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) today announced that they are
co- sponsoring a conference to discuss the impact of software patents on
software development, innovation and competition. The conference, entitled
"Software Patents: A Time for Change?", will be hosted at Boston University
on November 17.
In addition to PUBPAT and SFLC, the conference is being co-organized by
the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, Boston University Law School,
the Computer & Communications Industry Association, the MIT Sloan School of
Management, and Research on Innovation.
Speakers at the conference will include representatives from each of
the organizers in addition to eBay, Red Hat, the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, and the World Wide Web Consortium.
CURRENT STATE OF PATENT LAW
In the past few decades, the specialized patent court of appeals in the
United States has removed virtually all limits to patentable subject matter
and, as a result, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has awarded hundreds
of thousands of software patents. Initially, there was little empirical
evidence to gauge what the effect of allowing patents to cover software
would be. Since then, many have analyzed the effect of patents on the
development of software. The conference being co-sponsored by PUBPAT and
SFLC will provide an opportunity to consider this growing body of research
and its implications for software patent policy.
"Over time, it has become increasingly clear that software patents
actually hinder -- rather than promote -- innovation," said Dan Ravicher,
Executive Director of PUBPAT. "A reevaluation of the consequences of
software patents here in America is long overdue," continued Mr. Ravicher,
who will give opening remarks at the conference.
"Software patents have a chilling effect on the collaborative
development model of free and open source software," said Richard Fontana,
SFLC Counsel, who will participate on a roundtable at the conference to
consider options for patent reform. "Ironically, the social benefits that
patents supposedly provide -- enriching public knowledge through
disclosure, discouraging duplicative research, and facilitating new
technological solutions -- are intrinsic to FOSS but are endangered by
Mr. Ravicher and Mr. Fontana are both registered patent attorneys.
For more information on the conference, which will be open to the
public, see http://www.researchoninnovation.org/swconf/home.htm
About the Software Freedom Law Center
The Software Freedom Law Center -- chaired by Eben Moglen, one of the
world's leading experts on copyright law as applied to software -- provides
legal representation and other law-related services to protect and advance
Free and Open Source Software. The Law Center is dedicated to assisting
non- profit open source developers and projects. For criteria on
eligibility and to apply for assistance, please contact the Law Center
directly or visit the Web at http://www.softwarefreedom.org.
About the Public Patent Foundation
The Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") is a not-for-profit legal
services organization working to protect the public from the harms caused
by the patent system, particularly the harms caused by undeserved patents
and unsound patent policy. PUBPAT provides the general public and those
specific persons or businesses otherwise deprived of access to the system
governing patents, with representation, advocacy, and education. To be kept
informed of PUBPAT News, subscribe to the PUBPAT News List by visiting
SOURCE Software Freedom Law Center