Software patents are, as of Spring 2010, unavailable and invalid within the European Union but over recent years various lobbies have been trying to have them introduced.
Here at MWE we are totally opposed to software patents. In fact we hold a very dim view of patents in general since they have, in our opinion, long since ceased to serve the valuable purpose of encouraging innovation that they were intended to serve and, instead, have become another tool by which those that have large amounts of influence and money can unfairly dominate markets, suppress innovation, and generally screw things up.
Patents might, once upon a time, have been a great idea; perhaps when the pace of change was slower, when innovation was individual, and when social and commercial interactions were far more simple and more local.
Today commerce is truly global and technological innovations are no longer the work of solitary inventors or small teams isolated from the world but instead are the result of a massive sharing of ideas and experiences and huge degree of collaboration that crosses national boundaries, cultures and lifetimes and certainly isn't constrained within anything as petty or superficial as a corporation.
Even a little business such as this one has clients and suppliers in other countries and even quite small projects will likely involve half-a-dozen organizations on at least two continents. In fact we have collaborated on at least one project that had participants in 20 or more countries located in every continent of the world.
The work that we, in this business, produce is our own work only in as much as we put in the effort to bring ideas together and combine them into a particular solution for a particular problem, but for all of our creativity and inventiveness it is most unlikely that any idea we had was ever truly original. Even those things that we worked out for ourselves have likely been worked out by other people, unknown to us, several times before.
The reality of contemporary commerce and technology is that innovation is the outflow of many people collaborating on projects, sharing ideas and discussing problems. In the fields of engineering, technology and computing, truly independent original innovation simply does not exist and has not existed for several decades. No matter how clever we might be, we are all still building upon and depending upon the ideas and cleverness of other people; those still at work, those retired and those already dead.
This interconnected and interdependent nature of innovation is the present reality; it is how things actually are, not merely the wishful and fuzzy thinking of some utopian minded social ideologist. In this present reality, the notion that any one organization or individual can suddenly claim that a particular idea, method, process or concept is their own and for them to seek to control the use and development of it and to have some exclusive claim to profit from it, is immoral, antisocial, offensive and obstructs further innovation.
In our contemporary interconnected world, patents, far from stimulating innovation have become an obstacle to it, and are now little more than an extremely expensive legal weapon used by large corporations to attack one another and to prevent small enterprises from participating in what those corporations perceive to be their own game.
It appears to us that, for the most part, patents benefit a few large transnational corporations, their shareholders and their lawyers. However patents are are no longer good for innovation, no longer beneficial to society and are certainly not good for small and medium-sized businesses since such business simply cannot afford the time or the money needed to check whether an idea they have thought of has already been patented by somebody else. Even if they successfully obtain a patent, it is unlikely they can afford to persue infringers.
In light of the above, MW Enterprises is opposed to the idea that software or concepts or business methods or processes should be patentable. Indeed we believe that the whole body of UK, European and global patent law needs to be reduced and patents made considerably harder to obtain and to keep.
If you also understand that patents on software, methods, processes and concepts are dangerous for your business and livelihood, you could register your opposition by signing the following petition: