Patent reform

Though we do not oppose the concept of patents as such, we believe that there are several issues with the current system that needs to be addressed. The three main issues with patents in modern society are:

  1. Patents on non-inventions
  2. Patent trolling
  3. Patents on inventions resulting from publicly funded research

In order to resolve the first point, we are in favor, as is the case in EU patent law, of a list of “things” that could not be subject to patents – such as, among others, mathematical formula or biological information. Additionally we endorse the introduction of the so-called Stallman clause:

developing, distributing, or running a program on generally used computing hardware does not constitute patent infringement..

Patent trolling is an abuse of the legal and patent system and should be subject to sanctions such as criminal prosecution and ultimately voiding of one’s patent(s). Laws should be implemented to define patent trolling and to empower patent offices to enforce those laws and to give the authorities to impose sanctions.

A lot of inventions are the result of research that is funded with public means. This includes both research at public universities and private businesses. We propose that if the government provides a subsidy to a research program, it should also share in the royalties of any resulting patent and this revenue will be used to fund public education. Naturally the precise distribution will depend upon the portion that public funds contribute to said research.

Alternatively patents that are the results of subsidized research should available as open patents – i.e. free to be used by all. Of course, this will not apply to patents that are entirely funded by private means.