Social Contract

A software patent regime poses high transaction costs on software businesses which to a large extent are a source of income to patent professionals or patent trolls. Patent professionals lobby for broad patent regimes, regardless whether it is beneficial or not for your economic field. They are the experts who closely and influence monitor patent policy. They are the people who brought patents to your the software field. They do not pay the prize or take the risk. They like patent litigation. Patent Offices want unlimited patentability and they want to govern patent policy independend from the legislator. Their responses to increasing criticism are meaningless patent reform proposals to stabilise the current unbalanced system.

Software developers did not ask for a patent regime. Patents are inappropriate incentive tools for our dynamic markets. No developer reads patents to 'get good ideas'. If we wanted a conceptual software protection system we would chose another candidate which adheres to the following demands: cheap, fast, narrow claims. Patent law is everything but cheap, fast and narrow. We do not want and we do not need patents as protection against software competition.

It is common knowledge that the current US patent system is fundamentally broken. From a developer's perspective our view is: If it is broken, we have to fix it. However, the political economy of patent policy makes a broken system profitable for some. We have to fight parasite policy and give business and developers a say.

Our social contract model is a suggestion for a self-committment

Please spent one third of the amount you are forced to spent on the broken patent system on lobbying for substancial patent reform. It is not up to FFII to define what you spent your money or time on, but it it is difficult to counterbalance patent professionals with no ressources. A broken patent system creates costs and you as a stakeholder have to pay the prize. Our lesson from the European debate is that committed lobbying can be very efficient to improve things. In fact, we became the most influential player in EU patent policy with almost no ressources. To be effective more ressources are required. Slow progress can be expected without ressources from affected stakeholders. We have been sitting at the fence of the Us debate for a while.

We understand that there is a free rider problem. You will always have to pay the patent troll. It is your decision to improve your business environment in your own interests.

Patent reform lobbying

Are we begging for money?

No. Although our work depends on your support there are many ways to make a difference. In the EU debate FFII invited great CEOs of Small and Medium Enterprises who attended our Brussels conference series and talked to their Members of Parlament. Other large stakeholders created their own SME astroturf campaigns who fought on the other side. Finally the economic majority won.

If you do not want innovators to get represented by patent attorneys, companies represented by astroturfs, expertise provided by hired guns, your involvement is required.

We know that the US patent system can get fixed. But it is time for you to act.

Social Contract (last edited 2009-08-15 22:44:59 by localhost)

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