Software Patents that have harmed Free Software

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Initial Announcement

Richard Stallman <>

Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000 10:00:08 -0700 (MST)

[Please repost this widely wherever appropriate]

We would like to collect information about cases where free software has been harmed by software patents-that is, cases where a free program has been withdrawn from use or interfered with, or where a feature was taken out or never written in the first place, because of the danger of a patent.

We hope to use this information to argue against the system of software patents, especially in Europe where the question has become a live political issue (see ).

If you know of such a case, please write to and tell us what happened.

Ideally we would like to know the name of the program, its developer's name and email address or other coordinates, what happened to the program, and the patent number. If you know those things, please include them in your report. But if you don't have all of that information, please write anyway and tell us whatever you know. For instance, if you can tell us how to contact the program's developer, we can probably get the rest of the information from the developer. If you can tell us just the program's name, we may be able to find the developer. We may write back to you to try to get more details; even leads for getting more details may be useful.

Please send your information to <> rather than to me personally, so that we can collect the responses efficiency.

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Updated: Last modified: Sun Feb 25 00:06:41 EST 2001