That anti-patent pamphlet I mentioned
Xavi Drudis Ferran
xdrudis at tinet.org
Mon Dec 9 00:14:21 UTC 2002
El Sun, Dec 08, 2002 at 01:50:20AM +0100, Niall Douglas deia:
> ... is at
You keep saying something happened in 1991 that enabled software patents.
I have no reason to believe so (although I would like any event I missed
in 1991). In 1991 there was a copyright directive, in some way meaning
from then on we have copright for software, I think. But nothing particular
Patents on computer programs as such are forbidden by Article 52 of the European Patent
convention signed in Munich 1973 (and possibly modified later, but not this point).
The EPO guidelines of 1978 clearly explained it, and patents on software didn't issue.
Then sometime mid 1980 (1986?) the first software patents started to issue, and
gradually it became more commonplace. Nowadays, you can get an (theoretically invalid)
patent for any software, if you write the patent application carefully (there's
a book by Beresford called "Patenting Software under the European Patent Convention").
The guidelines of 2001 basically say it doesn't matter if it's software or not
(but those are very obscure guidelines if you ask me). This is against the EPC,
which is a higher rule, but it's what they're doing
In particular I would replace
"Early in 2003, Software Patents are likely to become enforced within the EU, overturning their special treatment in effect since 1991. "
"Early in 2003, Software Patents are likely to become enforced within the EU,
despite being banned since 1973 and those issuing from the mid-1980s being of dubiious
"Currently with massive financial backing, the lobby to overturn the 1991 ban is winning"
"Currently with massive financial backing, the lobby to overturn the 1973 might win"
European Patent Convention
On 1978 EPO Guidelines
2001 EPO Guidelines
You also say US companies hold almost all EPO swpats. I'm afraid I misguided you
in my previous mails. US companies hold 30 or 40 % of all EPO sofware patents,
Japanese comapnies hold another 30 or 40 %, and the rest of the would some other 30%
Check the details at
When you say
For more information, please consult http://swpat.ffii.org/ which contains proofs of all the figures, ideas and concepts used in this pamphlet.
It is almost true. I don't think it says much about Russell and Wiener philosophy.
When you imply any software patent can be overturned with prior art, I'd be more
careful. not all of them possibly can. On the one hand it is not enough to know
everyobdy and his dog was doing it before the patent, it must be published (any
many patented "inventions" are so silly they can't get published in any serious
place). And besides, really innovative software patents are also a problem (think
of RSA, for instance).
for the (insert law number and title here) it is the number COM(2002)92 Final
and the title is Directive on "computer-implemented inventions"
<Need more things they can do here>
- Sign (as a company) the Call for Action at
(there is no automated way to sign them, just email me or Hartmut Pilch)
and get associations, politicians, parties, labor unions, consumer groups etc. to sign it.
- Tell MEPs you want the specifc ammendments at
so as not to get confused in the sea of word games al legal jargon
Or also, ask for a benchmark on any directive based on examples in the
horror gallery (this is already in the call for action)
- read a little about it all (http://swpat.ffii.org, already linked)
- Spread the word to other companies
- If in Spain, write to OEPM and government
If not, well, write to your MPs and government (the patent office
may be hopeless, but a cc: won't hurt).
- link to http://petition.eurolinux.org
- volunteer to help (or doante to) organisations fighting software patents
- join mailing lists on the subject, like
Btw. I think you can only write to your MEP in the UK, since in many
other states the electoral district is the whole state, so you
don't have a MEP but many. But this text goes to a UK audience, doesn't it?
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