That anti-patent pamphlet I mentioned

Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet galactus at
Mon Dec 9 16:45:17 UTC 2002

Xavi Drudis Ferran wrote:
> 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

The guidelines you cite are based on a decision by the highest
entity within the EPO, the Technical Board of Appeal. They are
there to interpret the EPC. And if they say that something is
patentable, how can it be against the EPC? They *are* the
interpreter of the EPC.

> "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 enforceability."

This is wrong, as there are many EPC patents that have been
successfully used against software products. Furthermore the
EPC isn't the EU, it's a totally different treaty.

> 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).

RSA and the MPEG families of patents are examples of "software
patents" that make a lot of money. And why would big firms with
lots of lawyers and money pay large amounts of royalties ($2.50
per device for MPEG, for example) if the patents could easily
be declared invalid?

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to start the debate on whether
software patents are good or bad. But if you want your message
to come across, you should get the facts straight and try to
be as objective as possible. If you start with lots of loaded
messages, your opponents can appear reasonable by simply pointing
out counterexamples and offering rational-sounding arguments.

Kind regards,

Arnoud Engelfriet

Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:

More information about the Discussion mailing list