Petition Against Software Patents

  • Author:
  • Send To:
    The United States Government
  • Sponsored By:
    All Software users and developers
  • More Info at:
We, the undersigned, are voters involved in the IT industry who believe that software patents will stifle innovation in the software industry and restrict computer users unfairly.

We have seen that many software patents covering well-known algorithms and techniques hinder the software industry in the United States of America and around the world. The Patent Office has shown that it does not understand software and cannot follow developments in the field, and frequently issues patents on well-known techniques and on simple ideas that programmers consider obvious. The causes of this are inherent in the nature of the software field and cannot be corrected.

Due to the incremental nature of software development, where developers add to the work of those that went before, patents covering software techniques are an obstacle to progress in software. Programmers, in the course of doing their job, search for solutions to the problem at hand and are only impeded by software patents which threaten them or their employers with litigation. The ultimate impact of software patents is to slow innovation, rather than to promote it and therefore contradicts the stated purpose of the patent laws.

Never before has an industry where copyright was widely established had patents imposed on it. Software patents increase the cost of doing business in the software industry, which will make it difficult for smaller companies and individual developers to operate.

Patents in most fields in practice usually affect only factories, patents that apply to software tie the hands of every computer user. Only a tremendous public benefit could justify this imposition, but the actual effect of software patents is harmful.

For the good of the software industry and computer users both, we call for a Federal law to exclude software implementations running on general purpose computer hardware from the coverage of any patent.

Please see the following links for more information:

NOTE: This petition is limited to the US voters in order to have the maximum effect in the United States. If software patents are a problem in your country you are free to use the text of this petition to start a petition for your country.