The Electronic Frontier Foundation has done some great things when it comes to defending our rights in the digital realm over its 22-year long existence. Now, the company is inserting itself as an interested third party in the patent wars that have only been growing more and more out of control. The organization is compiling petition signatures into a whitepaper to present to Congress.
Large companies are spending billions of dollars buying patents to stockpile and reap the royalties from their use. Litigation involving many of the largest companies like Microsoft, Apple, Motorola, Google, Samsung, and others threaten to stop innovation, keep startups from being able to afford entering the playing field, and making consumers suffer with the result of delays, workarounds, and poor alternatives from international disputes.
Through the website defendinnovation.org, the EFF is requesting signatures for those that want to join the petition that the patent system is in dire need of reform. On the site, the EFF also proposes 7 tenants for a fixed system.
- A patent covering software should be shorter: no more than five years from the application date.
- If the patent is invalid or there’s no infringement, the trolls should have to pay the legal fees.
- Patent applicants should be required to provide an example of running software code for each claim in the patent.
- Infringers should avoid liability if they independently arrive at the patented invention.
- Patents and licenses should be public right away. Patent owners should be required to keep their public records up-to-date.
- The law should limit damanges so that a patent owner can’t collect millions if the patent represented only a tiny fraction of a defendant’s product.
- Congress should commission a study and hold hearings to examine whether software patents actually benefit our economy at all.
Along with the signatures from Internet Users, the EFF wants to talk to developers, engineers, inventors, lawyers, academics, and companies that know and rely on patents.
Visit http://defendinnovation.org to learn more.