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You are here: Home Blogs Community Strengthen free software by telling Congress to reject the STRONGER Patents Act

Strengthen free software by telling Congress to reject the STRONGER Patents Act

by Greg Farough Contributions Published on Jul 25, 2019 02:56 PM
Reforms to software idea patents do not make them any less unjust.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has long been opposed to the ways in which US and international patent law have been misused to allow for so-called "software patents." As these patents are not held over a particular piece of software, but rather any principle that can be used in its design, it is more accurate to describe them as software idea patents. Software idea patents are a grave threat to free software developers because they severely limit the scope of what they can or cannot implement, and also expose them to legal harassment from any group that has enough resources to enforce their unjust claim over a programming idea. Litigation on a software idea patent can spell financial ruin for developers and an abrupt end to any free software project. An upcoming bill in Congress would leave the free software community much more open to these kinds of attacks.

Despite its failure to pass in 2017, a bill with the appropriately Orwellian title of "Support Technology and Research of Our Nation's Growth and Economic Resilience" (STRONGER) Patents Act (S.2082) was reintroduced into Congress on July 10th, 2019. If passed, the Act would make software idea patents much more easily claimed and enforceable against developers in the free software community. Whatever its effects on other types of patents may be, the fact that it will prop up software idea patents is reason enough to reject it. As we have seen before, it is an attempt to patch a broken system. The proposed bill never bothers to question the validity of these patents as a category. To protect our community, it is our duty to inform Congress and legislators that the only remedy for the problem posed by software idea patents is to dismantle them entirely.

The FSF urges all of its supporters to contact their local congresspeople and advise them to vote against the STRONGER Patents Act. No matter where you are in the world, please stand firm in campaigning for the right of free software users and programmers to use, copy, and develop tools for user and community empowerment.

Take action!

If you're not in the US, let us know your country by updating your profile so we can send you more relevant info. In the meantime, please also help us spread the word to your contacts in the US.

Nervous? Try using the following script:


I live in CITY/STATE. I am calling to urge you to vote against the "STRONGER" Patents Act, and protect programmers and developers from the threat of software idea patents.

Thank you for your time.

Don't know who to call?

  • To call your congressperson directly, dial (202) 224-3121 and the switchboard will connect you.
  • Alternatively, you can find contact information for both your local senator and House representative online in the Senate and House directories.
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