Source files of fsfe.org, pdfreaders.org, freeyourandroid.org, ilovefs.org, drm.info, and test.fsfe.org. Contribute: https://fsfe.org/contribute/web/ https://fsfe.org
You can not select more than 25 topics Topics must start with a letter or number, can include dashes ('-') and can be up to 35 characters long.
 
 
 
 
 
 

178 lines
5.9 KiB

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1" ?>
<html>
<head>
<title>Software patents will destroy the foundations of IBM's future - August 2nd, 2004</title>
</head>
<body>
<center><h1>Software Patents in Europe</h1>
[<a href="/projects/swpat/swpat.html">Introduction</a> | <a
href="/projects/swpat/background.html">Background</a> | <a
href="/projects/swpat/status.html">Status</a> | <a
href="/projects/swpat/documents.html">Further Reading</a> ]
</center>
<center> Open Letter
[<a href="/projects/swpat/letter-20040510.html">2004-05-10</a>]
[<a href="/projects/swpat/letter-20040531.html">2004-05-31</a>]
[<a href="/projects/swpat/letter-20040607.html">2004-07-06</a>]
[2004-08-02]
[<a href="/projects/swpat/letter-20040906.html">2004-09-06</a>]
[<a href="/projects/swpat/letter-20041004.html">2004-10-04</a>]
[<a href="/projects/swpat/letter-20041101.html">2004-11-01</a>]
[<a href="/projects/swpat/letter-20041206.html">2004-12-06</a>]
[<a href="/projects/swpat/letter-20050103.html">2005-01-03</a>]
</center>
<h2>Software patents will destroy the foundations of IBM's future</h2>
<h3>August 2nd, 2004</h3>
<p>Dear Dr. Wladawsky-Berger,</p>
<p>
I had the chance to meet you as chancellor of the Italian chapter of the
Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) at IBM's workshop in Milano on the
22nd of June. Let me introduce the president of FSFE, Georg Greve to
you.
</p>
<p>
At present, the European Union is discussing plans for software patent
legislation. In fact we already have 30,000 software patents. We are
aware that IBM, as the world's largest holder of software patents, is
strongly lobbying for their formal introduction throughout all EU member
states.
</p>
<p>
Asking for legalisation of guns may indeed seem like the logical step
when you are in possession of the greatest arsenal.
</p>
<p>
We know that your legal departments tell you software patents are
necessary to protect your investment in innovation. That is a very
understandable advice since they are the legal department. If they
gave you any other advice, you might spend your money on more
research, more products, more business and less lawyers.
</p>
<p>
IBM often states that it holds its software patents mainly for
defensive reasons; to protect itself and its customers against attacks
through software patents. So IBM squanders its money on an arms race that
only exists because IBM mistakenly asked for introduction of software
patents before.
</p>
<p>
Everyone should understand well enough by now that an arms race is
hardly ever productive. It leads to unsustainable growth of ballast
beyond any useful proportions until all but one participant in that race
have lost. You may think that IBM would be the one surviving that arms
race, and you may be right.
</p>
<p>
However as a result of participation in that arms race, IBM is slowly
being deformed. It spends more and more energy on an arms race that is
increasingly being questioned. Instances such as the FTC<a name="ref1"
href="#fn1"><sup>1</sup></a> in the United States or the MIT<a name="ref2"
href="#fn2"><sup>2</sup></a> are raising doubts about the sustainability of
this model.
</p>
<p>
So while IBM is transforming in reaction to the arms race, upon its
sudden end, IBM will find itself having become a grotesquely deformed
giant with a suddenly useless weapon where all its energies go into
sustaining that deformation. That giant may find itself facing hundreds
of fresh, young and hungry companies entering the market with truly
innovative products.
</p>
<p>
Three years ago, you described in San Francisco the importance of
freedom in science: Scientists publish their thoughts and others add
their ideas - this way knowledge is built up for the benefit of all of
society, and the economy. You also came to the conclusion that Free Software
is of similar importance to information technology as mathematics is to
physics<a name="ref3" href="#fn3"><sup>3</sup></a>.
</p>
<p>
Software patents do not only force IBM into deformation and wasting huge
amounts of resources on otherwise useless legal growth, they also harm
Free Software -- the basis of your long term plans around the on-demand
strategy.
</p>
<p>
So when looking again at the size of your guns it seems that you will
never want to fire them, as retaliation is likely to destroy the
foundations of your future and obtaining these guns cost you your
innovative potential. By advocating software patents, you not only enter
into a race that will be to the detriment of all of economy -- including
IBM. You also cut at the very basis of your long-term strategies.
</p>
<p>
In your own interest, please support our work against software
patents in Europe. We are ready to discuss how.
</p>
<p>With kind regards,</p>
<table width="100%">
<tr>
<td>
<div align="left">
<a href="/about/maffulli/">Stefano Maffulli</a><br />
Italian chapter<br />
Free Software Foundation Europe<br />
<a href="http://www.fsfeurope.org">www.fsfeurope.org</a>
</div>
</td>
<td>&#160;
</td>
<td>
<div align="left">
<a href="/about/greve/">Georg Greve</a><br />
President<br />
Free Software Foundation Europe<br />
<a href="http://www.fsfeurope.org">www.fsfeurope.org</a>
</div>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
<hr />
<dl>
<dt>
<a name="fn1" href="#ref1"><sup>1</sup></a>
<a href="http://swpat.ffii.org/papers/ftc02/index.en.html">http://swpat.ffii.org/papers/ftc02/index.en.html</a>
</dt>
<dt>
<a name="fn2" href="#ref2"><sup>2</sup></a>
<a href="http://www.researchoninnovation.org/swpat.pdf">http://www.researchoninnovation.org/swpat.pdf</a>
</dt>
<dt>
<a name="fn3" href="#ref3"><sup>3</sup></a>
<a href="http://www.golem.de/0108/15366.html">http://www.golem.de/0108/15366.html</a>
</dt>
</dl>
</body>
<timestamp>$Date$ $Author$</timestamp>
</html>
<!--
Local Variables: ***
mode: xml ***
End: ***
-->