James Gleick on patent absurdity

Posted 12 Mar 2000 at 01:46 UTC by advogato Share This

In tomorrow's New York Times, James Gleick has written a very nice piece on how the patent situation is getting out of hand.

Since my copy of Netscape mangles the formatting pretty badly, I took the liberty of stripping out the tables and style sheets and putting a stripped down version on the web.

It looks like a great article, almost certain to become a major document in the debate over patents.

European Software Patents, posted 13 Mar 2000 at 08:39 UTC by caolan » (Master)

One nuget of information that I think should be propogated around is that I believed and it is a common belief that the EU does not have software patents. Indeed I have been quite quietly smug about the whole thing. But this is not longer true. It appears that the European Patent Office does not issue patents not because they believe that "software is inherently unpatentable", but because originally they believed that they did not have the equipment of skills to judge their quality!

IBM (all hail the mighty patent machine) lodged a software patent with the EPO last year and had it turned down (as per their plan one would assume) and then lodged an objection and while the patent was still refused the appeal ruled that the exclusion of software from patents is not valid under all circumstances

Which all means that companies are falling over themselves to get software patents out in the EU as well, left the good times roll

EPO Appeal search engine, search on software
IBM Appeal (PDF)

.au software patents, posted 14 Mar 2000 at 03:35 UTC by djm » (Master)

I discovered (to my suprise and dismay) that Australia too allows software patents. I am told that the laws are considerably stricter than the USA's.

The most insane aspect of the US patent system is that normal individuals (i.e not trained IP lawyers) cannot perform patent searches. This reeks of "leaving the wolf to guard the chickens".

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