Overall your assumption that this study is inevitably going to be pro-corporate is not justified.
Perhaps - I admit to having the occcasional knee-jerk reaction. I don't think it entirely unjustified, though - goverments on both sides of the Atlantic have a habit of caving in to corporate interests, and to assume that this is their default position until proven otherwise remains an economical approach.
However, I'm not without specific reasons in this case. They can quote ESR all they want, but in the summary of the analysis, the following lessons are drawn from the experience of the United States (please pardon the lengthy quote):
1. On the one hand there is abounding evidence that the profitability and growth of independent and SME software developers in the States has often been to a significant extent dependent on possession of patent rights. (For how patents help, see above.)
2. On the other hand, there is deep concern
2.1 that patents are being granted on trivial, indeed old, ideas and that consideration of such patents let alone attacking such patents is a major burden, particularly on SME and independent software developers
2.2 that patents may strengthen the market position of the big players; and
2.3 that the computer program related industries are examples of industries where incremental innovation occurs and that there are serious concerns whether, in such industries, patents are welfare enhancing.
Our conclusions are that:
factor 1 is clearly important: the patentability of computer program related inventions has helped the growth of computer program related industries in the States, in particular the growth of SMEs and independent software developers into sizeable indeed major companies; and
overall it is not clear on the evidence that factor 1 is outweighed by factors 2.1 to 2.3.
Does that strike anyone else as slanted? This all but comes out in favor of the "one-click shopping" patent, which I think most of us will agree is covered by items 2.1-2.3.
Mind you, I'm not an anti-patent-law zealot, nor even necessarily against software patents, but I am in favor of reforms making bad ones harder to get and good ones easier to defend.
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily
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