question about software patents (sandisk/sisvel)

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at
Wed Sep 6 11:50:49 UTC 2006

"Hanno Böck" <ml at> writes:
> - Is this one of the "epa gives sw-patents although they're not allowed"-case? 

Probably.  What we achieved in July 2005 did not change the EPO's practice.

We didn't really "win", we just scared them off.  Now the software patents
problem is coming back in a different form this Winter:

> Then, why don't companies like sandisk take legal actions against the patent?

Court cases are expensive and uncertain.

Sometime there are business reasons - may Company A wants to be allowed to
use the patented technology, but they don't want everyone to be allowed to
use the patented technology (so they would rather license the patent than
get it destroyed).

Maybe Company A doesn't want to get Company B's patent thrown out because,
if it is, some of Company A's patents could be thrown out by the same

Trying to guess the motives of companies is hard and usually not worthwhile.

> I never got a really competent answer on why the mp3-patent seems to be valid 
> in europe

The patent exists because the EPO is breaking the rules.  If the patent goes
to court, the judge might say it is valid or might say it is not valid.

Some people treat it as valid because they cannot afford to contest it in
court, or because they cannot afford to take the risk that it might be

"IPRED2" is another relevent directive.  It threatens to greatly increase
the potential cost of infringing a patent, thus increasing the cost of the
risk, thus making more people obey software patents.

Ciarán O'Riordan __________________ \ _________ \  GPLv3 and other work supported by \   Fellowship:

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