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LinuxPR: EuroLinux Congratulates British Telecom for Demonstrating the Absurdity of Software Patents

Jun 22, 2000, 16:41 (1 Talkback[s])

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"The Eurolinux Alliance of European commercial software publishers and non-profit associations has published an open letter and congratulates British Telecom for providing the world with a brilliant proof of the absurdity of software patents. British Telecom, which owns a US patent on Web hyperlinks (US4873662, "Information handling system and terminal apparatus therefor") has apparently decided to sue all Internet Service Providers in the United States for infringement on their patent. To ensure that similar absurd disputes do not happen in Europe in the near future, and to save software innovation in Europe, EuroLinux urges all businesses and citizens in Europe to sign its Campaign for a Software Patent Free Europe which already collected 6000 signatures in 5 days."

"BT's move gives a brilliant overview of the great dangers of Software Patents in the information society:

  1. Software patents create tremendous juridical uncertainty, thus blocking innovation
  2. Software patents create monopolies on Internet standards, thus blocking competition"
"BT's move also shows the absurdity of the software patent system as it stands in the US. BT was granted its patent nearly 15 years ago for a software concept which may have seemed new and inventive at the time. But such a patent, by being so abstract and general, has actually given BT the right to strangle the development of the World Wide Web and a lot of related technologies, which owe nothing to the inventive effort of BT. Even BT themselves took more than 10 years to discover that the scope of their own patent included Hyperlinks on the Web."

Press Release