Public Patent Foundation and Software Freedom Law Center to Co-Sponsor Conference on Software Patents

Representatives from Academia, Industry, and the Nonprofit Sector will Meet

in Boston to Discuss Patent Policy

Oct 17, 2006, 01:00 ET from Software Freedom Law Center

    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.
     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
 software patents."
     Mr. Ravicher and Mr. Fontana are both registered patent attorneys.
     For more information on the conference, which will be open to the
 public, see
     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
     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