Most recent full copy of Directive on patentability of computer implemented inventions

Xavi Drudis Ferran xdrudis at
Mon Aug 18 09:29:07 UTC 2003

El Fri, Aug 15, 2003 at 06:11:42PM +0100, Niall Douglas deia:
> On 14 Jan 2003 at 1:42, xdrudis at wrote:
> > I think I was assuming your proposals were more concrete or 
> > you had more familiarity with the directive than you had.
> > My mistake. I understand you're spending quite a lot of time 
> > in this, and of course reading the directive is your first
> > prioritu, but after that, I'd be thankful if you could read
> > 
> >
> > 
> > and maybe references, since some of the arguments pro-swpat MEPs put
> > forward are already discussed there.
> Actually, the final directive which I've read through twice now is 
> the last of my reading on the matter. I have read so many analyses 
> and drafts of amendments of the directive that it's been good to read 
> finally what the hell they've all been talking about.

I can understand, but then please understand I won't be able to 
explain things better by email that in that webpage, so I may drop 
some answers.
> The first thing which struck me is "why is this proposed legislation 
> so vague?". Vague legislation is automatically bad legislation. If I 
> had tried proposing a motion like that at student council at 
> university, it would have been struck down immediately as 
> unratifiable.

This is indeed a good argument. Youcan use it to ask for rejection 
(or maybe to justify FFII mini-counterproposal)
> You should read the FSF's words on the matter. I don't believe in the 
> crap about all knowledge should automatically be the free property of 
> all mankind - but I do believe it should become so after the creator 
> has been adequately rewarded for their hard work.

The endless copyright term extension is of course nonsensical and 
dangerous, agreed.
> They can only imprison a tiny fraction of those who "break the law". 
> If what you say works, then they would have stopped recreational drug 
> use decades ago. Since its use still increases, clearly you are the 
> one with wishful thinking.

I don't want to have to use my computer only in the toilet or some 
corner of the park. I dream of having a legal job as a software 
programmer until I retire. In the case of drugs, they have not only 
ilegalised, they have convinced most people that they are harmful 
and depravated. That's what happens with laws, specially laws on virtual 
things. An old adage when "legisla, que algo queda" (legislate, that 
something will ever remain).

Btw, maybe I don't read the news, but do you see near the day that 
so many people taking illegal drugs get to change the law and allow
its consumption?.
> The first highly important one is the requirement for a working 
> example of the patented software in source form (as suggested by the 
> two committees lower down). We must push for that beyond all other 
> amendments.

I agree it's useful but it's not my main pririty. IT would require 
an implementation to be made before patenting, but it wouldn't
stop software patents (unless you want to restrict the scope to the 
given implementation, and then that's again expensive short copyright
by any other name).
> The second highly important one is the amendment (also suggested 
> lower down) which leaves open for radical changes if evidence of 
> abuse is presented after three years. Immediately after ratification 
> the FSF Europe should open a registrar on the web where the public 
> can enter abuses of the software patent system. Or even better, 
> another directive amendment could mandate the EU to do this for us.

I don't trust: 
- the Commission ability to recognize problems (having seen their 
ability to recognize concerns from interested parties)
- the possibility of much difference in 3 years, when many patents 
take 5 years to grant. 
- any real possibility for a change after so many patents have been 
granted under a law which allows that grants. 

> The third highly important amendment is needing to set what precisely 
> involves an inventive step. I would make it high ie; "a substantial 
> advance over the status quo". I would also have the directive mandate 
> the setting up of an independent board of software experts to 
> validate this substantial advance over the status quo as the EPO 
> itself clearly doesn't bother. This would save substantial litigation 
> costs to EU SME's, thus saving the EU economy hundreds of millions of 
> euro (and only costing very little for the independent board in 
> comparison).

Undefined, ambigous...

> Since the scope of the directive prevents altering EPO rules, one is 
> prevented from being more radical. We need the EPO to be incorporated 
> into the EU structure because it is not accountable as it stands and 
> that seems silly to me. Since that seems politically unacceptable, 
> the independent board looks a good idea to me - first steps in 
> replacing the EPO.

One can be correct quite more usefully without any radical departure
from the EPC (without any departure at all, in fact). 

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