FW: European parliament rejects software patents

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FW: European parliament rejects software patents

Walton Sumner
Here's a message I received from another mailing list. I'm curious what the
Revolution team's take is on this. I can not tell if the parliament's
proposal was to stop patenting software logic, or software products in
general (as some clearly desire), or if there is a difference, how you make
the distinction.

Would this shackle or unshackle software giants? How do you think it affects
Rev's future?

As a USA consumer intermittently relying on commercial European software
innovation (XMLSpy, Revolution), I'd be disappointed to see it end, or even
to see quality deteriorate.

--Walt Sumner


------- Forwarded Message
....

No software patents in Europe, FSFE requests EPO review instrument

*After years of struggle, the European Parliament finally rejected the
software patent directive with 648 of 680 votes: A strong signal against
patents on software logic, a sign of lost faith in the European Union
and a clear request for the European Patent Office (EPO) to change its
policy: the EPO must stop issuing software patents today

http://mail.fsfeurope.org/pipermail/press-release/2005q3/000109.html
_______________________________________________
os-wg mailing list
....

------ End of Forwarded Message


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Re: FW: European parliament rejects software patents

Mark Schonewille
Walton,

The question the EP had to deal with was: are we going to
replace the current set of agreements on national copyrights by
a more clearly formulated European Direction on national
copyrights? Apparently, it has been decided to keep everything
as it is, for now.

In the US, software is considered a "technology". This means
that it can be patented. In Europe, only intellectual property
such as algorithms and file formats can be patented, because
they are considered technology. Everything else is considered
the result of an author's work, using the available technology.

In Europe, everything a software developer makes is copyrighted,
immediately. As long as you keep working on it, it stays your
piece of art. Only if you stop working on it, you may loose your
copyrights in about 5 years. If you are not sure that you will
update your software product regularly, you may want to register
it. If you register it, you get official copyrights, protected
by law, rather than a patent.

Losing your copyright does not necessarily mean that people can
use it freely. It only means that it is not protected by law. If
you don't register your product within 5 years, people using
your product may not recognize your authorship. You are still
the author, however, and you can always take up your own work
and exploit it.

*All claims in the quoted message are completely wrong and I
consider the message a hoax. There isn't even a "European Patent
Office"!*

If the EP had passed the Direction on software patents,
everything could have been patented. Every single button that
you use would represent a concept, which could be patented by
the inventors of this concept. Windows, scroll bars, arrays,
sockets, list fields... everything would have become patentable
and you would have to pay for it.

This was not the purpose of this Direction, but the result of a
mere flaw in the formulation of the Direction. If the
formulation is changed during the next few years, we may get a
good and clear Direction. The main advantage of this is that
both European and American developers understand what they may
have to do to protect their work. The Direction that may pass EP
next time, will probably not allow for patenting every single
concept used in an interface.

I think the EP made a wise decision (as expected, in this case).
Additionally, this decision is much more a sign of faith in
current EU institutions than a sign of lost faith in the EU as a
whole.

I don't expect the Revolution team to have a "take" on this.
Nothing will change, all copyrights Runtime Revolution holds are
well-protected, as are yours and mine. Only if the EP had passed
the guideline, I would have started worrying.

For more information, read the Editor notes on this website:
<http://www.patent.gov.uk/media/pressrelease/2005/0607a.htm>

Best regards,

Mark


Walton Sumner wrote:

> Here's a message I received from another mailing list. I'm curious what the
> Revolution team's take is on this. I can not tell if the parliament's
> proposal was to stop patenting software logic, or software products in
> general (as some clearly desire), or if there is a difference, how you make
> the distinction.
>
> Would this shackle or unshackle software giants? How do you think it affects
> Rev's future?
>
> As a USA consumer intermittently relying on commercial European software
> innovation (XMLSpy, Revolution), I'd be disappointed to see it end, or even
> to see quality deteriorate.
>
> --Walt Sumner
>
>
> ------- Forwarded Message
> ....
>
> No software patents in Europe, FSFE requests EPO review instrument
>
> *After years of struggle, the European Parliament finally rejected the
> software patent directive with 648 of 680 votes: A strong signal against
> patents on software logic, a sign of lost faith in the European Union
> and a clear request for the European Patent Office (EPO) to change its
> policy: the EPO must stop issuing software patents today
>
> http://mail.fsfeurope.org/pipermail/press-release/2005q3/000109.html
> _______________________________________________
> os-wg mailing list
> ....
>
> ------ End of Forwarded Message

--

eHUG coordinator
mailto:[hidden email]
http://www.ehug.info
http://home.wanadoo.nl/mark.sch
http://www.economy-x-talk.com

Please inform me about vacancies in the field of
general economics at your institute. I am also looking
for new freelance programming projects.

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[OT] Re: European parliament rejects software patents

Dan Shafer
This opens a very real can of worms and probably isn't a conversation  
we should have here. Having acknowledged that, let me add my two cents.

First, my background. I have a law degree. I specialized in  
intellectual property law. I've written, prosecuted and defended  
several software patents without taking the Bar exam. I've decided  
not to become a practicing attorney.

<rave>
Second, I have become unalterably opposed to software patents.  
Copyright provides adequate protection for what programmers do for  
the most part. A unique algorithm (process) should be eligible for  
patent protection, but nothing else. I have NEVER seen a software  
patent application that didn't fail -- in my mind and with my  
background in programming -- the test of non-obviousness that is at  
the heart of patent protection in the U.S. The U.S. Patent &  
Trademark Office (PTO) has for years taken the position that it will  
largely grant all but the most outlandish software patent  
applications and let the courts sort things out. But at the end of it  
all, I just see patent as the wrong way to protect software  
innovation. It hurts everyone and helps nobody.
</rave>

Dan

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Re: European parliament rejects software patents

Eric Chatonet
In reply to this post by Mark Schonewille
Hi all,

As an European software developer, I struggled against this patents  
directive project at the European Parliament.
If it had been adopted, this would have meant that major companies  
(Microsoft, Nokia, Sony, etc.) which *have the money* would have  
crippled all smaller software companies and all independent  
developers and then creation and *real* innovation.
It would not be worrying.
It would be tragic.
Fortunately this project was rejected by more than 95% of the  
deputies against the Direction opinion :-)

Best Regards from Paris,

Eric Chatonet.
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