Sunday, July 27, 2008

Patent Office Meeting in Mumbai on 7th August: Please attend if you can

This is a call for FOSS developers in Mumbai who are interested in the software patents issue. The Patent office has called for a stakeholders meeting on the Draft Patent Manual.

On behalf of Red Hat, I have submitted our comments on the manual.

In 2005, I was involved in the Patent Amendment Act 2005 and on behalf of Red Hat, we had made representations to policy makers on why software patents are bad for the Indian software industry. At that time, Lawrence Liang and Prashanth Iyengar of the Alternative Law Forum had done a fantastic job of putting together a position paper on this issue virtually overnight. Happily, our lobbying was successful and software was kept out of the Amendment. What makes me hopping mad is that the Draft Manual seeks to bring in through the backdoor, something that was explicitly rejected by the Indian parliament. To say the very least, this is a very dubious practice.

Interestingly, Infosys and TCS are in favor of software patents. Those who followed the OOXML fight on this blog would know that both these organizations had voted in favor of Microsoft's OOXML proposal. If there are articulate FOSS developers in the Mumbai LUG, I would request them to be present at the 7th August 2008 meeting and explain to the group why software patents are against the interest of the developer community.