European Free Software / US patent issue

Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet galactus at
Thu Jan 16 20:53:01 UTC 2003

Benja Fallenstein wrote:
> Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet wrote:
> >If there is a US patent, there may be a corresponding European
> >patent (strictly speaking, not a 'EU patent' - different treaty)
> >or aplication. You can go to and enter
> >the US patent number in the "number search" box. You'll then
> >be presented with any corresponding European patents or applications.
> >If there is a "B1" on that page, it's a patent. The "A1" and "A2"
> >are applications.
> Entering just the number (6262736) produced no results; entering 
> US6262736 found the US patent. Is it correct if I interpret as there not 
> being a European patent?

I'm sorry, I made a mistake. Espacenet does not work like that
unfortunately. :( There is an international application
corresponding to this US patent: WO9926160. This application could
have been a European application eventually, but the deadline
for that has passed. So the answer is still correct.

> >You may want to read more about patent law at the site in
> >my .sig. 
> Can't find a site in your .sig?
> [snip]
> >-- Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself 
> [snip]

I thought I had a two-line sig?

Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:


> >Non-commercial activities, including distribution, cannot
> >be an infringement in Europe (unlike the USA). 
> Wow, interesting. But I guess that wouldn't help, since we cannot be 
> Free Software if we cannot allow others to use our program commercially.

Right. But if someone else uses your work commercially, he'd
be infringing, not you. Still, it doesn't solve your problem
because your program couldnt be added to e.g. Debian.

Kind regards,

Arnoud Engelfriet

Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself

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