EFF Starts Patent-Busting Project

Saturday, May 29 2004 @ 03:18 PM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

PubPat won't be all alone in the patent fight. EFF has announced that the Parker Family Foundation has donated $50,000 so that EFF can set up what they are calling EFF's Patent-Busting Project.

"We are concerned about the growing number of illegitimate software and Internet patents," said Glenn Parker, trustee of The Parker Family Foundation. "By investing in EFF, we know that we will be helping to protect the rights of individuals, nonprofits and others that have legitimate noncommercial uses of software and Internet technology."

They are seeking to attack overly broad or trivial patents which they believe are interfering with innovation with the result that technologies built on prior inventions "can be tied up in litigation for years".

"We seek to attack these types of patents," said Jason Schultz, EFF staff attorney and project leader. "By doing so, we hope to clear the way for the public to enjoy the benefits of these technologies and help build the case for stronger reform to the patent system. These patents strip our right to use publicly available knowledge, disrupt ongoing research and innovation, and threaten to shut down important community-based projects."

The patents will be challenged under a legal process called reexamination, which you will remember is the process that PubPat successfully used recently with regard to the cotransformation patent. PubPat also recently asked the United States Patent and Trademark Office to revoke Microsoft's patent on the FAT File System, submitting prior art and saying that the patent is causing significant public harm. Reexamination is the way third parties to advocate affirmatively for the invalidity of the patents.