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Giving good presentations about software patents

These are suggestions to help you prepare for giving a presentation.

Things to mention

There are hundreds of things you could mention but the following are some of the bigger issues:


  • Listen to other people's presentations: List of recordings and transcripts
  • Prepare many arguments. If you focus too much on one or two arguments, you may be surprised by an audience that doesn't care about those particular issues, or you could get caught up in discussions about possible solutions to this/these problem(s). For example, if you're in a foreign country and an audience member says that local antitrust law will fix the problem, it's very unlikely that they're right but it can be hard to argue against when you're not well read on their local antitrust law. (See: Why abolish software patents)


  • Don't frame the topic in terms of promoting innovation. Promoting innovation is worthwhile, all things being equal, but it is just one aspect. Promoting software development is also important; probably more so. Preserving freedom, reducing barriers to market entry, encouraging competition, encouraging compatibility... all these things have to be taken into account. (See: More than innovation)
  • Don't use the term "intellectual property". This term includes trademarks, copyrights, non-software patents, and many other laws. Some are good, some are bad, but these laws do not form a "set" that people should either be "for" or "against".

Don't lead people to non-solutions

  • Don't use silly patents as examples. This wrongly implies that the problem could be solved by increasing patent quality, possibly by increasing funding of the patent office to give examiners more time. (See: Raising standards is not our goal)
  • Don't focus too much on trolls. Trolls cause problems, but this aspect already gets a lot of media attention and the victims are usually rich enough to afford their own campaigns. Problems that are at least equally big include patents on standards, patents which prevent developers from writing compatible software, and patents on key features which users expect to find. (See: More than trolls)

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