That anti-patent pamphlet I mentioned

Simo Sorce simo.sorce at
Sun Dec 15 15:44:23 UTC 2002

HI all, sorry for commenting only now, but I have only now time to read
this interesting thread.

I will gather some claims form mister Arnoud, that made me think.

On Wed, 2002-12-11 at 13:06, Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet wrote:
I don't know that. Manipulating EM signals seems like using forces
> of nature in a controllable manner.

Yes you get the right point, "seem" is exactly the right word here,
and what most patent attorneys do is exactly that, they make wording
such that something "seem" something else.

The problem is that with the MPEG (or any other) signal compression
system you do NOT manipulate EM signals, you manipulate digital
information on you computer and than build a resulting signal.
The signal fed into an DAC and convected to a membrane or a monitor
will result into a manipulation of forces.
Note that "the signal" is not something you can patent!

And this kind of manipulation is really well known.

On Wed, 2002-12-11 at 13:06, Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet wrote:
> You're citing overturned law. This view on patentability has been
> abandoned by the German Supreme Court.

This is another big problem with legal people (I'm not referring
to you), they think they are the only one entitled to play with
the law, and that's wrong.
If any Court following the letter of the law start to rule against
the spirit of the law, then there's a problem.
It means lawyers have found a way to circumvent the law, and politics
must come in place and correct this behavior. Correct the behavior
does not mean that the law must follow common practice, the law must
be modified to follow the spirit of the previous one by fixing the
holes that make it possible to circumvent the law.

What you are saying instead is that the law must be modified to make
the holes the rule, that's a very dangerous way to think, and,
unfortunately, it's getting more and more common today.

Of course if the general feeling is that the spirit of the law is wrong
than the law have to be changed completely.

Are you saying the spirit of the law is wrong? I think not! I think past
law makers had been very wise and predicted that economical interest would
have tried to erode common sense for the sake of profit, only they didn't
had technical meanings to write a good law because software were not so
common and was not well known.

On Wed, 2002-12-11 at 13:22, Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet wrote: 
> Encouraging competition and stimulate rip-offs, yes. If a patent
> cannot protect you against differing implementations of your
> invention, it is of little use.

You are saying that the steam engine patent should cover the diesel motor.
You are not fair, you try to fool us in false arguments but you intents
are clear here, you want to simply patent ideas and that's clear in the
following statement.

> Other laws are already available to
> protect against people making copies of your device. The whole idea
> behind patent law is to give you protection for your technical idea.

Idea! Here you finally come to your real intents, you want to twist the
patent system to patent ideas! And that is exactly what we oppose.
Patenting ideas as such is absurd to me, and dangerous for a civilization.
Saying an idea has a father is right, saying an idea has an owner is very
very wrong.

Patent should be made to promote innovation for the growth of the society,
not to foster control of few individuals over others, or to promote the
grow of individual companies.
We are in a capitalistic economy, companies must compete, it is just wrong
to extend the field of patentability to fields where promoting innovation
for the growth of society is not needed, and is the negation of a
capitalistic economy, as patents are monopolies the worst enemies of
a capitalistic economy based on democracy.

On Wed, 2002-12-11 at 13:32, Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet wrote:
> The fact that the German Federal Court of Justice has explicitly
> abandoned this interpretation in more recent decisions shows that the
> subject is still open for debate. Is it not possible for people, even
> Supreme Court justices, to change their views on what is patentable?

Of course it is possible as it was possible (and right for me) to change
idea on slavery, it is also possible to change idea and be convinced that
democracy is not good and dispotism is more efficient (or any other excuse),
what I want to say is that changing mind is not wrong per se, the problem
is not in changing idea, it is in twisting the law to accomodate your ideas.
You should change the law or respect it's spirit.

The problem is: are these new views in line with the view of the most?
NO, because most people does not even know exactly what patents are,
asking them to understand software patents in this situation is just
absurd, and that include politicians like the ones currently make
decisions in the EU parliament.

Are people informed correctly so that they can make a decision?
NO, they are not informed, they are under a mis-information campaign
of powerful pro-swpat companies, to the detriment of the society
for the sake of profit of the big bullies.

So while _industrial_ patents seem to be a viable thing for our society,
software patents (or patents on ideas as that they are), are not.
Not saying that a 20 (twenty) years of monopoly over an idea in software
can lead to any result except promotion of innovation.

TRIPS demands patents in all fields of technology. Excluding
> software-based implementations from patent protection violates TRIPS.

TRIPS has already made damages to our societies in the form of the DMCA
and the coming EUCD, we should simply drop them in my opinion.
They are a way for powerful companies to twist other states local laws
for their own interest and has nothing to do with harmonization.
Companies likes "unharmonized" laws as well when they make them easier
to make profits (like bank secrecy in Switzerland).
Any non hypocritical person will recognize that harmonizing local law
to a treaty made by a non-elective organization is not democratic and
should be heartedly rejected by people (if they only were informed ...)

> This question is impossible to answer, since we haven't defined what
> a technical effect is. I can quote you patents with potential
> software embodiments that achieve effects such as a faster working of
> the machine, a higher accuracy of fuel usage in a car engine, a
> better measuring of data, reduced storage capacity for a signal to be
> recorded and so on. Are such effects "technical"? In my opinion yes,
> but what about you?

Should we patent a therapeutic practice because it makes people healthy
and have the technical effect of lessening medical costs of older
Besides examples, can you explain why you use the term "technical effect"?
What is it exactly opposed to? And why if something has a technical
effect then it is patentable on your opinion?

On Fri, 2002-12-13 at 14:43, Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet wrote:
> Xavi Drudis Ferran wrote:
> > El Wed, Dec 11, 2002 at 01:06:56PM +0100, Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet deia:
> > > I don't know that. Manipulating EM signals seems like using forces
> > > of nature in a controllable manner. 
> > 
> > It depends. If the manipulation is ADC + multiplying by two in an FPU + DAC, 
> > I say it isn't, we already know how to build circuits for that, 
> > and we know what happens to a signal multiplied by two. 
> But surely I am still using forces of nature in a controllable
> manner, even if my use is entirely known???

Why a patent on *nothing* new or inventive should be granted? What's the
gain for the society?
Even my arm punching Xavi's nose use forces of nature in a controllable
manner, should I patent nose punching by arm?

> If you discover a new quartz crystal that will changed phase of
> > signal by 10% then it's probably patentable. 
> Ok, but if I program a DSP chip to realize the same phase change
> it is not patentable? Why? What is the difference in effect
> produced by these two things?

Why the effect should make any difference?

The problem is, do we have something new with your use of the software?
No, it's all known art, you only made it because at some point you needed
it not because you invented something new. You took pieces of known
knowledge and put them together to make the thing you needed. And if you
needed it you can see that you already had incentives to make such thing,
why patents should cover you?


Simo Sorce - simo.sorce at
Xsec s.r.l.
via Durando 10 Ed. G - 20158 - Milano
tel. +39 02 2399 7130 - fax: +39 02 700 442 399
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