Prison for patent infringements
What makes Nokia, BSA, Microsoft, medical companies and FFII band together? Suggestion by the EU commission that patent infringements would become criminal offenses, and punishable by jail. Not even the MPAA is too excited about this proposed law: "This proposed law doesn't add anything for us."
However, the jerkheads at the European Commission seem to be intent on pushing it forward. I can't really see anyone from lobbying something stupid like this: For any corporation, patent lawyers are already an expensive resource. In the IT world, everyone knows that everyone is infringing on everyone's patents already (because they are too many and too vague), and at the moment patents are pretty much a risk management exercise: is it worth it for the corporation?
Should employees suddenly become personally liable for patent infringements, I would find it very difficult to continue to be an engineer and innovate. If employees suddenly start to quit because they fear possible legal problems for doing their regular, everyday job, any product-making corporation in the world is in deep trouble. I could go to jail for something I believe in - but to go to jail for your employer? No thanks. I'd rather start a pizza joint in Philadelphia. The effects might even be worse for universities and smaller companies, which concentrate solely on research.
We Finns have a saying: "mopo pääsi käsistä", which can roughly be translated as "while doing a wheelie, my sub-50 cc engine motorcycle escaped from my direct control." I think this is what is happening here: the goonies at the EC seem to have bought the intellectual property thing with the line, hook and sinker, and are now rampaging through the IPR scenery like horny bulls: screwing everything, thinking that IPR needs to be protected at all costs.
Someone, stop them, before it gets too late. I don't particularly want to move to Philadelphia...
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