End Software Patents🇮🇳

End Software Patents (India) is a coalition of organizations in India that are dedicated to protecting the freedom to write software and innovate freely without encumbrances in India. Read what our supporters have to say about software patents.

What's End Software Patents

Software is an applied form of math and logic that are not considered patentable subject matter in most jurisdictions. This is because unfettered use of math and logic are essential for human progress. Software is protected by copyrights and trade secrets, which are better suited to protecting abstract ideas like software. Researchers like Bessen and Meurer, authors of the book, Patent Failure , have pointed out that patents do not serve as a vehicle for protecting software because it is hard to draw boundaries around abstract ideas. This lack of boundaries results in the fact that software is the most litigated category of patents.

Software patents are also diametrically opposite to the four freedoms of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS):

  1. The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose.
  2. The freedom to study how the program works and change it so that it does your computing as you wish.
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others.
  4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others – giving the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes.

While FOSS creates public goods that benefit everyone, software patents are state sanctioned monopolies that benefit a narrow elite, and hinder developer freedoms in the process. The Indian government, industry and startups have benefited immensely from the public goods of FOSS. Therefore, we believe that allowing software patents in India would hinder key government initiatives like Digital India, Startup India and Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Latest Report

Software Freedom Law Center’s India Chapter (SFLC.in), supported by FOSS United Foundation, did an empirical study on the software patent activity at the Indian Patent Office (IPO). The study found that despite Section 3(k) of the Indian Patents Act saying that, “mathematics, business methods, computer programmes per se and algorithms” are not patentable subject matter, the number of software patents granted has been increasing year over year. While most of these patents have been granted to foreign corporations, the number of Indian companies getting patents has also been increasing from a very low base. The full report can be downloaded from this link.

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SFLC Report on Software Patents in India

Panel Discussion

In this panel discussion titled, “Can FOSS and software patents co-exist, Venkatesh Hariharan, Public Policy Director of FOSS united speaks to Ciaran O’Riordan, Senior Policy Advisor of Open Forum Europe and Rahul Kulkarni, Chief Technologist of Samagra.

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We collaborate with Free Software Foundation’s End Software Patents initiative.