Software Patents, the FTA, and the End of All Things
Patents are statutory monopolies granted to the owner of a new invention and lasting for up to 20 years. Although patents have existed for centuries, they have only more recently become applicable to computer software. This has introduced the risk of some fundamental standards of computing and the Internet becoming encumbered, and has begun to stifle the free development of open source software. Fresh concerns have widely arisen in Australia in light of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement. This presentation will look at why software patents seem to be so readily granted over what developers would never consider as "new inventions", and what can be done about it. The implications of the Free Trade Agreement will also be addressed.
Jeremy Mark Malcolm
Jeremy is an Information Technology lawyer with a successful niche practice in Internet-related law, and is involved at board level in a number of relevant organisations such as the Society of Linux Professionals of WA, the Internet Society of Australia, the Western Australian Internet Association, the Australian Public Access Network Association (as WA Region Coordinator), the WA Society for Computers and the Law (as President) and previously Electronic Frontiers Australia. Since 1998 he has been the Manager of Terminus Network Services which specialises in the use of open source software in networked environments and in the development of online systems and he is a Debian Developer. At the last two LCAs his papers were selected as the best in their stream.