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EU Patents Software The Courts

EU Central Court Could Validate Software Patents 77

Posted by timothy
from the we-have-come-seeking-rent dept.
protoshell writes "'Software patents in Europe could be validated with a central patent court,' warns Richard Stallman in an article published in the Guardian. After the rejection of the software patent directive in 2005, large companies have shifted their lobbying towards the validation of software patents in Europe through a central patent court, which is foreseen with the Unitary Patent project. Even if the European Patent Convention literally excludes software from patents, the European Patent Office and the German courts interpret the exclusion narrowly, which makes software patents valid in the end."
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EU Central Court Could Validate Software Patents

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  • Pathetic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    the European Patent Office and the German courts interpret the exclusion narrowly, which makes software patents valid in the end.

    Pathetic...so it's narrowly interpretable whenever they chose so, but broadly interpretable when they chose so too?

    Fuk dis shit.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Ya know, as much as I disagree with RMS on ....well everything actually, this is the ONE subject he and I agree on. software patents are nothing but a credit default swap Ponzi scheme bullshit that needs to DIAF yesterday. just because some multicorps bribed enough of the right people to get them passed here in the USA I had hoped the rest of the world wouldn't have been so easily bribed, I was wrong.

      In the end I really don't think it is gonna matter much. Want to see the future of the EU and the USA? it is

    • by rmstar (114746)

      IIUC, this is not exactly correct. You can patent software in conjunction with a technical process that is not purely data processing. I.e. a specific server app: no patent. A specific way of controlling a washing machine: patent, together with the contraption to excert control. This has been cemented in a recent final ruling by the german high court that handed a Siemens a nice painful defeat as they tried to patent software.

      I wonder if the mp3 patents would be up for overturning under this new view.

      I am a

  • by F69631 (2421974) on Monday August 22, 2011 @05:10PM (#37172420)

    As a citizen of the EU, I know that EU has a lot of flaws. The economic policies, the subsidies, etc... However, so far both the legislative branches and the courts have been simply awesome when it comes to not giving in to the lobbying of multinational companies. The courts have been handing fines for anti-competitive practices, privacy violations, etc. left and right (and yes, for european companies too) and the legislators have destroyed software patents, 3-strikes copyright laws, etc. at every occasion. When we do get horrible laws, they're generally based on "think of the children" or "terrorism".

    So yeah... The software patents could be validated but frankly, I'm rather optimistic about this.

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)

      When we do get horrible laws, they're generally based on "think of the children" or "terrorism".

      Unfortunately, only that last part sounds familiar.

    • Even if the European Patent Convention literally excludes software from patents, the European Patent Office and the German courts interpret the exclusion narrowly, which makes software patents valid in the end.

      What does that mean, exactly?

      ... and the legislators have destroyed software patents ...

      Sounds like they've been attempting to destroy software patents, without as much real success as we might like.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Sounds like they've been attempting to destroy software patents, without as much real success as we might like.

        The EU's goal is to make the legislature a meaningless figurehead that just rubberstamps the output of the underlying bureaucracy; kind of like the Queen in the UK.

    • by manu0601 (2221348)

      As a citizen of the EU, I know that EU has a lot of flaws. The economic policies, the subsidies, etc... However, so far both the legislative branches and the courts have been simply awesome when it comes to not giving in to the lobbying of multinational companies (...) I'm rather optimistic about this.

      This is because you never heard about the Laval and Viking cases [europa.eu], where the European Justice Court interpreted UE directive written by the parliament so wrongly that it reversed what UE parliement meant.

      US is not a democracy. Sometimes it produces good things, sometimes it does not, and we have no control at all on this

    • And yet the issue is back. Do you know why? Because the lobbyists only have to win once and they will keep trying until they do.

      The United States used to break up monopolies, pass environmental protection laws, establish consumer safety standards, workplace safety standards, etc. Corporations have now cornered the electoral market. 90% of the population will consider voting for one of two candidates, both of whom depend on large corporations to get elected.

      I would be willing to bet the lobbyists i
      • by jopsen (885607)

        The United States used to break up monopolies, pass environmental protection laws, establish consumer safety standards, workplace safety standards, etc. Corporations have now cornered the electoral market. 90% of the population will consider voting for one of two candidates, both of whom depend on large corporations to get elected.

        I don't think many EU citizens can tell you the name of the "president of the EU". In fact I wouldn't be surprised if most people can't tell you who is representing them in the EU parliament. Europe is still comprised of many small sovereign nations, and this is where all the interesting politics takes place, e.g. the stuff people care about healthcare, daycare, old-people-care, military deployments, educational support, etc...

        That said, don't think I'm not afraid of cooperate lobbyists.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      Add to that the fact that the respect for any legislation decreases the further south you get in Europe. Tax Authorities are treated with disrespect in the mediterranean countries and fear in northern Europe.

      • by daem0n1x (748565)

        Tax Authorities are treated with disrespect in the mediterranean countries

        Only by the rich. The common people fear them. With the little guy, they manage to get every little penny they're entitled to, and throw you in jail if you fuck up. With the big guy, they tend to look elsewhere. That's one of the reasons southern Europe countries are so fucked up, the middle class supports the entire economy by itself.

    • by zoobab (201383)

      The courts you are talking about are mostly the ones from the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

      The plan is to remove patentable subject matter from the hands of the ECJ, transferring that to a specialized patent court, similar to the CAFC.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Yep, under the authoritarian Brown government in the UK it was always the European courts that I, as a British citizen living in the UK, had to rely on to protect my freedoms and liberties from my own government.

      They may not be perfect but the EU judicial and legislative branches certainly seem to be a much better choice than their respective British, French, German, American, or Australian counterparts to live under. It's really only the Canadians that seem to do a much better job and even that seems somew

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If Richard Stallman says so ...

    I mean seriously ...? The line separating this "news" from pure FUD is a very thin one ...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Abolish patents. Trust me, history has shown that without them, the world is a better place.

    See this for reference:
    http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/againstfinal.htm

  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Monday August 22, 2011 @05:51PM (#37172804) Homepage Journal
    ... in the same way that software patents are valid in the US. Here, software per se is unpatentable, but if claimed as being performed by a specific computer, then it's patent eligible*. That's essentially what the Bilski decision was. Same thing in Europe: software per se is unpatentable, but a machine performing software is currently patentable.

    *note: this does not mean "performed by a specific computer" is not obvious. This is purely about whether a class of subject matter is potentially patentable. Yes, performing software on a computer is obvious, but if the software is new and non-obvious, then the claim as a whole can be patentable.

    Disclaimer: I am a US patent attorney. I've gotten many patents issued on software performed by a computing device, as well as software embodied in articles of manufacture, both here and in Europe. That said, I'm not your attorney, and this isn't legal advice, and is purely for the purposes of (my own) amusement.

    • by Kristian T. (3958)

      It's true that the European Patent Office has been granting US-style software patent for many years - but it's also the case that noone has dared to enforce such a patent via the European courts. This is probably bacause the EPO has been employing a very "creative" interpretation to justify it's practice - and is far from certain that it would hold up. That's one of the reasons that the EPO is working to desperately to change the law before it's shown that it has been breaking the current laws.

      Now that the

    • Yes, I can see you are a US patent attorney but you don't seem knowledgeable of EU law (which has to include laws from all countries as we are not a federal state). The difference between what is patenteable in the US and in the EU is immense. And the interpretation of patents done by courts is also much different.

      With all of its problems, the EU has had a much superior stance (in my position) regarding big-corporation as Europe's mentality is much different from US.

      For your information, here is article 52

      • Yes, I can see you are a US patent attorney but you don't seem knowledgeable of EU law (which has to include laws from all countries as we are not a federal state).

        No, I know... The EP patents I was talking about have been nationalized in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. I suppose Austria may be different, but I doubt it.

        The difference between what is patenteable in the US and in the EU is immense.

        No, actually. As you note, EPC Art. 52 says that "programs for computers" are not patentable. That's exactly what I said originally: Programs are not patentable, just like in the US, software alone is not patentable. However, once tied to a machine, the software is patentable, both in the US, and in every EC state that I've nationalized in,

        • Part of the difference may not be in actual law but in actual practice. The USPO is doing a fine job at playing ridiculous. Patents for all sorts of stupid things have been awarded and the whole process is much more complex. For example, in Europe any company or individual may oppose patenting whereas in the US you must challenge the patent in court (which is very expensive and undoable in practice).

          software in Europe can only legally be patented if it is associated with some sort of mechanical / physical d

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A dictator can make a decision which you might like; a democracy can make a decision which you do not like. Criticism of the EU is about the decision making process, not necessarily the actual decisions themselves (though enough of those have been criticised too).

    The EU is undemocratic. The public did not have a say in the ratification of the EU constitution (in all but name). The politicians dragged their electorate into the scheme with out any consultation. It is a project driven by a European elite who c

    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      It is a project driven by a European elite who care only about economic momentum

      Looks like they fucked up on that part, too.

  • They were trying to push ACTA too, and look what happened in the end ? Eu Parl effectively banned acta eu wide so efficiently that it would serve no purpose. and thats why you dont hear about much these days probably.
  • I patent the use of the letter "E" on line $0.02 per use!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not logged in but mod me TROLL. Ain't gonna happen. FUD, again. The only truth of this is that /. will post it as fact. Good night. Mod me Troll. Sheeeeeesh............. Come on guys, WTW?

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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