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"Crustless peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, a way to move sideways on a swing, a technique for exercising cats using a laser pointer — these are among the inventions patented in the United States over the years. Now Congress is trying to cut down on poor-quality or downright ridiculous patents, and at the same time adapt the patent system to a high-tech era in which computers and other electronic devices may contain thousands of patentable parts.

Rather than the patent system being the incentive for "so much of our innovation, it has become a constraint on innovation," said Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., author of a sweeping patent reform bill that passed the House Judiciary Committee on July 18." -- Read more

I have created a petition at the Number 10 website essentially proposing that GPL v3 software in the UK be granted immunity from patent infringement - therefore requiring an alteration of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act.
The petition will run until 10 November 2007 and can be signed by persons who hold British citizenships, or by persons residing in the UK.

Look at the petition

Here are a few paragraphs of justification:

The Free Software Foundation Europe are calling our attention to a proposed new directive which will criminalise "aiding, abetting, or inciting" infringement of copyright, trademarks, and patents". From the FSFE's webpage on the matter, they list changes and amendments which they think should be applied to this directive as to protect our freedoms:

* Exclude patents completely
* Limit the criminal sanctions for copyright infringement to clear cases of large-scale fraud
* Limit the criminal sanctions for trademark infringement to those which cause health or safety risks

The patent industry is growing powerful by changing the rules, so that more and more areas can be patented. It happened in the US, and it's happening here in Europe. Software, genes, ways of doing business. Maybe it doesn't matter that many things - from mobile phones and MP3 players to breast-cancer tests and essential medicines - cost more, because of patents. Maybe it doesn't matter that laws aren't made by parliaments anymore, but by unelected officials who look after their own vested interests.

Help the FFII make a difference, sign their petition at!

Note: if you're one of those who want to get rid of patents completely, please consider that less, less harmful patents are at least a step in the right direction.

Thanks to Fluendo, Linux and Solaris users on a variety of processor architectures can now purchase playback support for patent-encumbered audio and video formats. Similar support from free alternatives, whether they rely on copying Windows DLLs or use original code, all violate existing patent law. The mere existence of Fluendo's plugins needles a bevy of critics, but Fluendo is prepared to answer them all. And in an ironic twist, sales of these decoders for non-free formats are funding the development of free alternatives. [url=]Read more..