Eurolinux Alliance Congratulates British Telecom on Exposing Absurdity of Software Patents

The Eurolinux Alliance has published an open letter congratulating British Telecom for providing a proof of the absurdity of software patents.

BT, which owns a US patent on Web hyperlinks, is suing all Internet Service Providers in the United States for infringement. The Eurolinux Alliance urges businesses and citizens in Europe to sign its Campaign for a Software Patent Free Europe, which has already collected 6000 signatures in 5 days. The European Patent Law currently prohibits granting patents on pure programs, but thousands of Internet software patents are waiting at the European Patent Office for a change in the law that would make them fully enforceable in Europe within 6 months. The EuroLinux Alliance warns that most European Web startup companies may become infringers for patents on software techniques such as publishing a database on the Web, one-click (Amazon), affiliate programs (Amazon), HTML Style Sheets (Microsoft), P3P privacy (Intermind), WAP (GeoWorks), Web-page Downloading (Sony), Embedded Hypermedia, Error Handling (MCI), Web Advertising (Double Click, Inc.), Selling Airline Tickets (Priceline), Web User Tracking (Across Sites Infonautics), E-commerce Tracking, Shopping Cart, E-commerce Sales, etc. Jean-Paul Smets, speaking for the Eurolinux Alliance, calls on businesses and citizens to take control of the European Patent System out of the hands of patent experts and back into the hands of the general interest.