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Software patents illegal...

By Jaqui ·
interesting article..,39020651,39270929,00.htm

and I just had to send the European Government this:

I wish to inform you that I actually agree with your decision, that software patents are not to be issued or respected.

A patent on software is identicle to a Patent on a cook book.
Both are a collection of words used to give directions in accomplishing a specific task.
Since a cook book is not patentable anywhere in the world, software is not patentable, under the existing laws, anywhere in the world.

I salute you for having both the intelligence and courage to set the correct path and walk it, something that other government bodies fail miserably at doing.



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First post! Woot!

by nighthawk808 In reply to Software patents illegal. ...

Oops... thought I was on Slashdot for a second.

But seriously, if you'd have shown me that before you sent it, I would have signed it too.

The "actually agree" was a nice touch.

Post edited to add last sentence.

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by Jaqui In reply to First post! Woot!

since the patent lobby groups will slam them for it, my comment, as a software developer in support of them killing software patents, can only let them know that not everyone in software development is for software patents.

and the article has a link to their site where you can send your own feedback.

editing to add:

I saw the article mentioned on slashdot myself, and I posted the same comment there. }:)

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It's a step in the right direction.

by apotheon In reply to Software patents illegal. ...

In comparison with previous position statements from the European Commission, this is an improvement. It is not, however, perfect. This actually still allows for software patents to be requested and granted: it just allows a sufficiently filthy-rich litigant to overturn the patent in court. A potential side effect of this method of "invalidating" patents might be the effective shutting-out of economically less powerful parties from using patented software while larger organizations will have free reign.

Think about it for a moment: a corporation that holds a software patent might leave other large organizations to their own devices, with all the free license they need to make use of the patented technology. The patent-holding corporation need only threaten litigation for individuals and organizations small enough to be substantially financially harmed by the court proceedings regardless of whether they win or lose. This allows for a protection racket to arise, wherein back-room deals serve to provide for easy use of patented software technologies for huge corporations and required licensing for any bit player on the market.

This, of course, would effectively screw open source software projects.

In that light, this new position of the EC makes perfect sense. The large corporations both want to be able to patent their software and want to be able to use others' technologies without having to pay for them, and they all want the little guys to be shut out of the market. Now, they've found a way to do it: allow software patents to be overturned if sufficient money is available to pursue the matter in court, but otherwise allow patents to be registered and approved, providing a means by which they can be enforced by threat of litigation. It's enforcement by attrition.

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That sounds like what we have today in the US.

by nighthawk808 In reply to It's a step in the right ...

The game of cross-licensing "house" (I'll show you my patents if you show me yours) that you bring up sounds a lot like business as usual here.

Your reservations are understandable and well-founded, but I'll take a half-step forward over two steps back. Perhaps, once they realize what a charlie foxtrot the whole system is, they'll go back to the drawing board.

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Oops, I did it again.

by apotheon In reply to That sounds like what we ...
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Lionel Hutz called...

by nighthawk808 In reply to Oops, I did it again.

He's willing to take the copyright case of Apotheon v. Apotheon for a quite reasonable retainer fee.

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No thanks.

by apotheon In reply to Lionel Hutz called...

I'm well past the braces-and-retainers stage. Ahem.

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I agree on the principle...

I like your analogy of the cookbook. I also think that software patents are rediculous. I also agree that the USPO is most possibly violating the law when it issues them, but I am no lawyer.

However, I must be very careful with your phrase " patents are not to be issued or respected." It is the word "respected" which is potentially problematic for me. If by "respected" you mean as an attitude, I agree. I look down on them too. If you mean "obeyed" then I must disagree. Until a court verifies that software patents are illegal, then I have a fiduciary responsibility to my employer and my clients to not do anything which can land them in legal trouble. I also have a responsibility to myself to do the same, even on private/personal projects, as I do not have the financial resources nor the emotional wherewithal to go through a court battle.

I can totally understand and agree with the idea of fighting this principle, and I support the fight, but I cannot support it through violating the current patents. If I felt very strongly about it, I would have to leave my employer and work exclusively for myself, as it would be wrong for me to put my employer or customer at risk over my personal beliefs.


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by apotheon In reply to I agree on the principle. ...

I love the way you put that, and agree with every word of it.

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USPO within the Law, as settled by the US Supreme Court.

by deepsand In reply to I agree on the principle. ...

One upon a time, there was no protection available for software; eventually, it was determined that such was in fact entitled to copyright protection, just as, to use Jaqui's example, a cookbook would.

The startling change determined that, while software was not a process or machine, it controlled such, and was of no value without said process or machine, and that it was therefore worthy of patent protection.

Now, using such argument, one could submit that a cookbook was also patentable, as it both controlled a process, and it was of no value without the use of machines, the cook and the stove. And, while I doubt that anyone of sound mind would accept such a conclusion, the fact remains that the Courts did.

Many have labored long and hard to reverse such specious rulings, to no avail. With the aid of those in Europe who have vehemently opposed adopting the official US point of view on this matter, we may yet see a reversal within our lifetimes.

For more info., see


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