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German Parliament Tells Government To Strictly Limit Patents On Software

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the can't-patent-this dept.

Patents 75

jrepin writes "On Friday the 7th of June the German Parliament decided upon a joint motion to limit software patents. The Parliament urges the German Government to take steps to limit the granting of patents on computer programs (PDF, German; English translation). Software should exclusively be covered by copyright, and the rights of the copyright holders should not be devalued by third parties' software patents. The only exception where patents should be allowed are computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component. In addition the Parliament made clear that governmental actions related to patents must never interfere with the legality of distributing Free Software."

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75 comments

Patents for software will expand... (4, Informative)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year ago | (#43986805)

Re:Patents for software will expand... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43987157)

And as we all know, all countries worldwide implement the same laws as the US, just a few years behind.

Re:Patents for software will expand... (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43987701)

And as we all know, all countries worldwide implement the same laws as the US, just a few years behind.

Sometimes, a little ahead since it's US trade policy to push these laws onto their partners before they adopt the laws themselves, under the guise of coming in line with the rest of the world.

Other countries aren't pushing for more patents in software, but the US has been pushing them (and DRM, and ridiculous copyright extensions) on everyone else for years now.

Re:Patents for software will expand... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43988197)

It was sarcasm.
Of course other countries don't implement the same laws as the US.

Re:Patents for software will expand... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43988353)

Of course other countries don't implement the same laws as the US.

Actually they do ... but usually because a US trade delegation foisted it on them after having had industry groups write the text.

SOPA, software patents, most of the egregious copyright stuff ... all mostly written by industry with other countries heavily pressured to adopt them. Like the "301 watch list" -- it's written entirely by industry, lacking in any objective evidence, but is pushed by the USTR as official policy to browbeat other countries into doing what's in the best interests of US/multinational companies like Sony.

So, sarcasm or no, it's not as far off the mark as you might think.

Re:Patents for software will expand... (2)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about a year ago | (#43988821)

...Like the "301 watch list" -- it's written entirely by industry, lacking in any objective evidence, but is pushed by the USTR as official policy to browbeat other countries into doing what's in the best interests of US/multinational companies...

You mean the US government is the enforcer / bodyguard of the world's largest corporations? Say it ain't so!

Re:Patents for software will expand... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43990619)

Contrary to what you may think, countries are still sovereign, and they won't pass a law if the population (or their representatives) is against it even if their friend the USA ask them to.

Re:Patents for software will expand... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43991277)

Contrary to what you may think, countries are still sovereign, and they won't pass a law if the population (or their representatives) is against it even if their friend the USA ask them to.

Contrary to what you may think, US bargaining tactics more or less amount to "sign this, or we will impose trade tariffs and punative fines until you comply."

It's not so much an 'ask', as we're going to exert financial and trade pressure on you. Like I said, US foreign trade policies tend to get written by industry lobbyists and quite aggressively pushed.

And, really, it's still the good old boy wink and a nod, and what the populace wants be damned.

Re:Patents for software will expand... (1)

cockpitcomp (1575439) | about a year ago | (#43991281)

Replace "USA" with "Big Money" since they are the rightful owners.

Re:Contrary to what you may think ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43991785)

Newsflash for you: There are "some representatives" (sic.) of those "sovereign countries"* who have no problem to keep the discussion about "trade treaties" (read: punishments for anyone doing something the BigCorps(tm) do not like) a secret from their constituents, because divulging the fact that they are bartering for a good position "would be decremental to obtaining that position".

In simple words: "the population" was not allowed to know about the talks (and the new laws he would be forced to obey) till te moment the "deal was done" and no ammount of input from them could change anything about it anymore.

Nope, I do not think the gouverment was representing the population at all.

And yes, that above "treaty" (again trying to give US-based companies more ways to criminalize civilians in cases of mere copyright infringement) was brought forward by our good friend the US of A.

*There where multiple countries involved, all pointing at each other saying "because he wanted it" when asked to explain the secrecy.

Re:Patents for software will expand... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43992829)

Contrary to what you may think, countries are still sovereign, and they won't pass a law if the population (or their representatives) is against it even if their friend the USA ask them to.

well.. thanks to the fucking douchebag industry lobbyists who negotiate the copyright extensions etc behind closed doors the populations are never asked - and the countries are threatened with trade embargoes etc shit.

so yeah, maybe burma and and north korea don't implement the same copyright forever laws and haven't extended copyright without asking their citizens but the rest of the fucking world sure has.

Re:Patents for software will expand... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43987985)

Yeah, with your fuckin' self-fulfilling prophecy attitude it will!

(That's a real thing by the way. It's related to the placebo effect, and reliably measurable. We managed to get people to grow *swellings* solely from talking themselves into being stung there, and similar things.)

Don't you realize that YOU are the other half in the saying "it always takes two" right now?? STOP IT!

Re:Patents for software will expand... (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about a year ago | (#43989283)

I don't think that's likely.  There would be such an uproar if they tried it that most congresscritters would shrivel and refuse to vote in fear, as with SOPA.

The outcry wouldn't be as loud, of course, but it would come from informed quarters.

The only exception... (1)

adam.voss (1854938) | about a year ago | (#43986831)

computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component

What would be realistic examples of this?

Re:The only exception... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986929)

a Factory?

Re:The only exception... (4, Interesting)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year ago | (#43986993)

Slide to unlock? That's a physical component that's existed for a long time.

Maybe skeuomorphics will come back into style because of this.

Re:The only exception... (3, Interesting)

pepty (1976012) | about a year ago | (#43987517)

4. to restrict patent law protection to software supportable teachings in which the co mputer program serves merely as a replaceable equivalent for a mechanical or electro - mechanical component, as is the case, for instance, when software - based washing machine controls can replace an electro - mechanical program control unit consisting of revol ving cylinders which activate the control circuits for the specific steps of the wash cycle;

Maybe it is lost in translation, but I think they would have to rule out mechanical and electro-mechanical computers from eligibility as the component. If they don't, everyone would claim their spreadsheet program is replacing a spreadsheet run on a Babbage machine. Might spur development of some pretty cool Colossus type computers though - that way the patent writers could point to an existing electro mechanical component.

Re:The only exception... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43990429)

But this is where crap comes from. As soon as you argue that patents should be allowed in a particular case, everyone will sue, claiming that that particular case applies them. Regardless of the truth, you just need a lot of money to fight the lawsuit. Slide to unlock might not exactly be what they have in mind for patents, but how much are you willing to pay to find it out? Suckers.

Re:The only exception... (1)

cockpitcomp (1575439) | about a year ago | (#43991311)

Like google search replacing the card catalog down at the library. Do you have the cash to argue it is not in court?

Re:The only exception... (2)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year ago | (#43992125)

It looks like they cribbed that "washing machine" clause from the New Zealand software patent reforms that happened recently.

There's some major appliance company in NZ that was big on protecting the patentability of their computerized washing machine features, and got that exception put into place. It's really, really lame seeing that almost verbatim in other countries' laws now. And yes, as written it's horribly game-able.

Re:The only exception... (4, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#43987021)

IIRC, the first software patent in the US was for the UNIX SUID/SGID bits, and that patent was for the mechanical imlementation, with an "oh by the way, you could do this in software, too" clause, which was the first step down the slippery slope that got us to where we are today. As to a direct answer to your question, how about a software implementation of RSA, rather than dedicated hardware? (Yes, I know, I know, for those of you about to quibble).

Re:The only exception... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43987025)

Slide to unlock?

Rounded corners?

Re:The only exception... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43987033)

Huge loophole. Babbage developed a design for a mechanical computer... We'll hear arguments that everything under the sun is a replacement for some mechanical device.

Re:The only exception... (2)

TechNeilogy (2948399) | about a year ago | (#43987229)

Seems well-intentioned, but misguided. The problem with software patents is not that they do not have physical analogs. The problem with software patents is that: 1) nearly all of them are immediately obvious to anyone with reasonable software skills and probably get independently re-invented dozens of times a year, and 2) the nature of algorithms and software design means that any given software patent tends to cover much more than what would normally be considered a single invention (e.g. like "inventing" the idea of leverage or momentum). This is exacerbated by the fact that the value of a software patent in a war chest can greatly exceed any reasonable need to re-coup the investment in the actual invention.

Re:The only exception... (1)

adam.voss (1854938) | about a year ago | (#43987241)

Exactly where I was going with this.

Step 1: Write a software emulator for a mechanical computer
Step 2: Obtain a patent for said software
Step 3: Use above to obtain patents on any other software patents you want
Step 4: ???
Step 5: Profit!!! (at society's expense)

Re:The only exception... (2)

countach (534280) | about a year ago | (#43990831)

Not only that, but I would have thought that if software replaced something that already exists in mechanical form, it could hardly be innovative. Rather it would be obvious.

radio transceivers? Re:The only exception... (5, Informative)

Fubari (196373) | about a year ago | (#43987125)

computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component

What would be realistic examples of this?

software based radio? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software-defined_radio [wikipedia.org]
Excerpt:

A software-defined radio system, or SDR, is a radio communication system where components that have been typically implemented in hardware (e.g. mixers, filters, amplifiers, modulators/demodulators, detectors, etc.) are instead implemented by means of software on a personal computer or embedded system.[1] While the concept of SDR is not new, the rapidly evolving capabilities of digital electronics render practical many processes which used to be only theoretically possible.

A basic SDR system may consist of a personal computer equipped with a sound card, or other analog-to-digital converter, preceded by some form of RF front end. Significant amounts of signal processing are handed over to the general-purpose processor, rather than being done in special-purpose hardware. Such a design produces a radio which can receive and transmit widely different radio protocols (sometimes referred to as waveforms) based solely on the software used.

Software radios have significant utility for the military and cell phone services, both of which must serve a wide variety of changing radio protocols in real time.

Not even. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43991385)

It is the INTERFACE that does the changing.

The most the programming can do is tell the interface what frequencies/protocols to use.

It is impossible for software to do anything that the processor was designed for... Software can only follow the instructions defined by the CPU. And basically that is only add/subtract/multiply/divide, test for 0, and branch (which includes subroutines).

Everything else is a peripheral interface.

Re:radio transceivers? Re:The only exception... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43992021)

A software-defined radio system, or SDR, is a radio communication system where components that have been typically implemented in hardware (e.g. mixers, filters, amplifiers, modulators/demodulators, detectors, etc.) are instead implemented by means of software on a personal computer or embedded system.[1] While the concept of SDR is not new, the rapidly evolving capabilities of digital electronics render practical many processes which used to be only theoretically possible.

This just suggests that the new digital electronics might be worthy of a patent, not the software.

Re:radio transceivers? Re:The only exception... (1)

nashv (1479253) | about a year ago | (#43994945)

Kindle replaces a book?
All the DVB-T software that replaces television?
The VoIP software that replaces a telephone?
Word processors replicate functionality of pen and paper ?
Heck...pretty much everything that a computer does.

Re:The only exception... (2)

illumastorm (172101) | about a year ago | (#43987145)

computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component

What would be realistic examples of this?

A clock.

Re:The only exception... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43987195)

The code running in a digital control system, as opposed to an analog controller.

Re:The only exception... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#43987637)

Someone could have patented the injection controller for your car. Carburetors are pneumatic analog computers.

Re:The only exception... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43987789)

computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component

What would be realistic examples of this?

I think the most obvious one of importance to the industry is Automation. So your old part is a design that provides a certain feedback based in inputs, your new part is a programmable chip.

The programmable chips are quite a problem too, because they're a lot more complicated, they're harder to properly validate.

Re:The only exception... (2)

OutSourcingIsTreason (734571) | about a year ago | (#43988219)

computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component

What would be realistic examples of this?

Turing machines.

Re:The only exception... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43989727)

Winmodems

Re:The only exception... (1)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | about a year ago | (#43993805)

A clock?

Groan (4, Insightful)

Etherwalk (681268) | about a year ago | (#43986867)

The only exception where patents should be allowed are computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component.

Congratulations. You have just created legislation which will create a mechanical algorithm implementation industry.

Re:Groan (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43987097)

I keep saying that clever implementations should be patentable, but merely creating a virtual simulation or emulation of a real-world thing should not inherently be patentable.

This decision does exactly the opposite.

Re:Groan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43990455)

Define "clever." After you do, how much are you willing to pay the lawyers to agree with you? After you figure that out, how much do you think the defense is willing to pay the lawyers to disagree with you? Great system you have there.

Re:Groan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43987799)

This looks like a mechanical component to me and was granted copyright:
http://phandroid.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/slide-to-unlock-550x403.jpg

If I represent the wheel in software, am I allowed to patent it? No more CAD programs, no more NFS (Need for Speed), ...

Re:Great (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43988375)

Congratulations. You have just created legislation which will create a mechanical algorithm implementation industry.

TIL steampunk is the future.

Re:Groan (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43989641)

You can patent such things already, this is just an excluding them from what is being banned.

German patent law isn't as lax as in the US, so you can't just patent something obvious that replaces something mechanical. It still has to be novel and meet all the other qualifying rules.

Better Idea (-1, Troll)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43986995)

How about all software must be released under an open source license / free software license, except where the security of the code is paramount to a system functioning or working correctly and in that case all security modules must be designed to hide a minimal amount of code.

Re:Better Idea (2, Insightful)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year ago | (#43987035)

If security of the code is paramount, then wouldn't it make more sense that it be completely open, moreso than common utilities?

This has always been a mantra of cryptography; security by obscurity is not security.

Re:Better Idea (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43987143)

How about all software must be released under an open source license / free software license ...

IMO, free is not free enough. For a mechanical patent, you provide specifications that must be detailed enough so that after the patent expires, other companies can build it. If the other company has to clean-room the code and rewrite it from scratch, then the source code provides no additional benefit to other companies beyond the specification of the data structures and math and what not.

No, any software company that wants a patent should be required to publish that software under a 2-clause or 3-clause BSD license.

Re:Better Idea (2)

pepty (1976012) | about a year ago | (#43987969)

On a related note: Canada threw out the patent for Pfizer's Viagra for this type of reason (U.S.C. 112 down here in the US). Pfizer didn't actually identify sildenafil in their patent, they just gave a set of chemical formulas with some of the positions as variables, and then a list of functional moieties (methyl, ethyl, butyl, futile) that can be placed at each position. Each formula thus covered millions or more actual compounds - which is standard operating procedure for patents of small molecule drugs. But most small molecule frug patents also have a claim that identifies the actual molecule specifically. Chemical patents also have to disclose the "best method" (some arguments there - lets call it a "reasonably good" method) of making the drug. For a software patent on an actual product to survive the same level of scrutiny, it would have to disclose both the source code and the techniques/APIs necessary for people skilled in the art to to write it, compile it, etc.

Re:Better Idea (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#43989581)

YES... this is what's missing for software patents; for something to be patentable, you must give up copyright and provide working source.

You'll still get people using outdated custom compilers to hang source on, but the working implementation would be understandable and re-creatable for those reading the patent (they'd just have to pay royalties during the limited time).

This is a software patent idea I could actually get behind.

Re:Better Idea (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43987227)

How is that a better idea?
Surely you realize most business models built on software charge for distribution of said software? Everyone being allowed to redistribute copies or derived work to anyone else is clearly incompatible with that.

Or maybe you said "open-source" without realizing what it was. Releasing software in source form is fundamentally different from open source.

Re:Better Idea (1, Interesting)

sinij (911942) | about a year ago | (#43987535)

This isn't a better idea. Here is why:

Most software in the world is designed by companies seeking to make profit from selling this software. Software, as with any information, does not naturally support scarcity. Without scarcity value of any resource goes down to zero. As such, offering new software will not be profitable.

Now companies are not going to engage in non-profitable activities, so they will shift focus from producing software to some other activity revolving around software. There are multiple monetization methods available to open source software - they are service, customization, and deployment for compensation and in-software advertising. Aside from advertising, these do no apply to consumer-grade off-the-shelf software as it exists today.

So by advocating "open source everywhere" you are advocating one of the following: a) ad-ware b) end of user-friendly installation and patching, so it can be sold as as service.

Open source software is a hammer, it has plenty of good uses, but not everything is a nail.

Re:Better Idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43987855)

Most software in the world is designed by companies seeking to make profit from selling this software.

That's not true.

Unless you mean "most copies of software" instead of "most of the different programs".
Does your local grocery chain try to sell their logistics and backup scripts? No, didn't think so. Thanks for playing, try again...

Re:Better Idea (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43989233)

As long as the source isn't opened unless/until the patent is granted, I don't see a problem here (and it would be easy to write the license that way). The whole point of the patent system was a better alternative to keeping secrets - legal protection is the reward for open disclosure, and it's likely a stronger protection anyhow. Once you have a patent, why do you need copyright - patents are broader.

Self-Defeating Legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43987193)

All software can be implemented using physical circuits, and vice versa. This looks like enough of a loophole to ensure that any legislation resulting from this motion accomplishes absolutely nothing whatsoever, other than wasting public money in its drafting.

Re:Self-Defeating Legislation (3, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#43987711)

Okay. You can have the right to patent anything you like so long as it only applies to things that you (or someone else) makes an actual, physical circuit to do.

So all those people running software on general purpose processors are not hindered in one bit and can replicate your methods (note: not necessarily your exact work) to their heart's content.

That's basically the situation specified and if you can't see how that differs from, say, someone patenting some obscure part of MPEG decompression and suing, say, VideoLAN for it, then you probably shouldn't be a patent lawyer.

Yes, all computer programs are Turing-compatible (if you like) and you can implement a computer using wooden blocks that modify a flow of water if you really wanted to - it's not hard. But the fact is that your patent shouldn't cover such a general range of specified equipment that nobody can ever use your technique on a general purpose computer.

What you've found isn't a "loophole", it's exactly the narrowing that someone has deliberately introduced. Patent holders will now be able to patent "an electrical circuit that does X" (maybe, possibly, if they jump through lots of hoops and nobody ever discovers their PUBLISHED patent and reimplements it somehow else) but not "any program on a general purpose computer that does X".

It's the right fix. It allows someone to invent, say, ABS and protect that invention. But it prevents someone from "inventing", say, a way to compress files by looking for common strings and building an index. Sure, you can make a computer that does the same as the circuit part of the ABS system, but you CAN'T make it actually control an ABS system without hitting the patent.

Re:Self-Defeating Legislation (1)

cockpitcomp (1575439) | about a year ago | (#43991387)

But see they did something. That 's reform right? They heard you and took action. You people are never happy.

Copyright seems better than Patent. (4, Insightful)

Fubari (196373) | about a year ago | (#43987239)

Can copyright possibly be worse than patenting? Copyright seems better to me because
A patent locks down the idea: "Story Patent: hero rescues the princess from evil knight".
Copyright allows different versions of that story, e.g. Star Wars: Episode Four, A New Hope.

There are lots of books, songs, plays, movies, games (console, pc, online); the creative side of the entertainment industry manages.
Copyrighting software like we copyright books makes wayyy more sense to me than patenting software.
There are plenty of books about mathematics; programs too.
Patenting math seems... patently absurd?

Re:Copyright seems better than Patent. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43988093)

You don't patent ideas, you patent implemenations of an idea to perform a useful function.

You don't patent math, you patent uses of math to perform a useful function.

The mods who modded this up are morons who don't actually know anything about patents, but will happily parrot any idiotic thing they see on the interwebs if it happens to line up with their own idiotic thinking.

idea vs. implementation... does it matter? (3, Informative)

Fubari (196373) | about a year ago | (#43989203)

You don't patent ideas, you patent implemenations of an idea to perform a useful function.

You don't patent math, you patent uses of math to perform a useful function.

I think I see what you're driving at, but does it matter?
Example: Consider Amazon's One Click patent ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1-Click [wikipedia.org] excerpts below ).

So... Amazon patented an implementation instead of the idea of One Click.

If that matters, help me understand why Apple licensed that patent (Wiki excerpt 2,below) instead of just creating their own implementation?

----
Wiki Excerpt 1:

1-Click, also called one-click or one-click buying, is the technique of allowing customers to make online purchases with a single click, with the payment information needed to complete the purchase already entered by the user previously. More particularly, it allows an online shopper using an internet marketplace to purchase an item without having to use shopping cart software. Instead of manually inputting billing and shipping information for a purchase, a user can use one-click buying to use a predefined address and credit card number to purchase one or more items.

Wiki Excerpt 2:

Amazon.com in 2000 licensed 1-Click ordering to Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) for use on its online store. Apple subsequently added 1-Click ordering to the iTunes Store and iPhoto.

----

The mods who modded this up are morons who don't actually know anything about patents, but will happily parrot any idiotic thing they see on the interwebs if it happens to line up with their own idiotic thinking.

So... are you saying all is well in the Land of Patents then? Perhaps for the lawyers & trolls.
To my simple mind, it seems like a lot of headaches just go away if our society copyrighted software instead of trying to patent it.

Re:Copyright seems better than Patent. (2)

cockpitcomp (1575439) | about a year ago | (#43991433)

In practice, ideas are patented every day. As an inventor on a few patents, I can tell you that if you can present the idea as a block diagram, you can get a patent.

Re:Copyright seems better than Patent. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43988247)

Bullshit! Why do you think even "software patents" are still forced to say "A device and method..." in front of it? Read the actual laws!
Patents are, have been, and always will be about a specific implementation!

Fact is that a shockingly small industry came up with several methods to do work once (come up with a device, algorithm, song, etc), but trick us into giving them real money every time, while they only give us a copy of the results of that work. Even though our money took real work *every* time, to be made, while making copies taken absolutely zero work. And even though it it literally physically impossible for them to prevent us from making those copies ourselves, because the whole act of perceiving that something even exists entails making at least one copy into a storage (e.g. our brain) whose copying behavior cannot be controlled without destroying all freedom and privacy.

Those people, which as now should be clear, factually are legalized organized crime stealing your money, also flooded the media with deliberate lies about those very facts. Something for which our human brains have a weakness: They start to believe everything if it's repeated often enough. Yes, also those who think they can't be manipulated. Even me. Even you. All it takes is to have a neural net as a brain. (In fact I can even reproduce it on simulated neural nets and other association engines.)
I don't blame you (because that would be insane), but damn, keep your eyes open! Spreading that kind of disinformation is hurting us all. And I want to think of you as a good person.

Re:Copyright seems better than Patent. (3, Informative)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year ago | (#43988279)

A big part of the copyright problem is that copyright is now functionally a forever monopoly. Nothing entered the US public domain this last year.

Re:Copyright seems better than Patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43990361)

Why is patenting math absurd, but patents in general are not? Either way you are granting a monopoly on an abstraction. This is ultimately a limitation on the ability of people to exercise their property rights. "you can use your property... except in this specific way because somebody else 'owns' that way".

The whole thing is absurd and should be abolished.

Germany, leader of the Free World (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43987757)

Seems that while other countries are stuck in their backwards application of patent law on technologies for which it was never intended, Germany is recognizing the significant repercussions of allowing such actions. The German Parliament has taken positive steps here to declare that it should not be allowed to be abused in such ways. Bravo, Germany! Bravo. Keep up the good work.

Re:Germany, leader of the Free World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43988685)

I concur. I greatly envy their functional society.

Re:Germany, leader of the Free World (1)

hweimer (709734) | about a year ago | (#43989249)

Bravo, Germany!

Meh. This is basically a renewal of the declaration of 2004 [bundestag.de] and nothing has happened since then. Talk is cheap, especially with a federal election a few months down the road. Instead, the Bundestag as Germany's main legislative body could do its job and change the law and end the patenting madness right now, at least on German soil.

Re:Germany, leader of the Free World (2)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43989373)

It's true, but at least they're talking about it. That's more than I'm seeing in most other countries.

That said, it may not be as simple as just changing a law. Odds are, Germany is party to numerous intellectual property treaties that would prohibit them from simply changing the law as an easy solution, since in these treaties, they'd still have to meet the terms of the treaty in patent law and in enforcement of foreign patents.

This is one of the rare times I am proud. (0)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#43988141)

Proud to be a European. Proud to live in a German(-speaking) country. Proud to live in what is an economic province of Germany. Just fucking proud, as the engineer loving his trade that I, ultimately, am.

Government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43988757)

The parliament isn't the government? How interesting....

Re:Government? (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#43989259)

No. The parliament is the Legislative branch, the government is the Executive branch.

Re:Government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43993375)

Seriously, you think that??? Go back to school, you're talking about different branches of government....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branches_of_government

Re:Government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43993395)

The government is the executive branch of ... the government? You self-referenced there.

Also, the Bundestag is not even the entire legislative branch of the German government.

Re:Government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43996623)

Here's a dictionary for the Americans, who are stuck to their esoteric political terminology:

government, cabinet = administration, cabinet (Am.)
parliament = congress (Am.)
state = government (Am.)
minister = secretary (Am.)
liberal = less government (Am.)
left-wing = liberal (Am.)

Why 'strictly' limit? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year ago | (#43990409)

Why not just limit? What's the difference?

This runs against EU plans (2, Informative)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#43991865)

An European convention from 1974 says software are not patentable. Member states included that in their laws. Many software patents have been granted anyway, but they cannot stand in court.

The EU commission tried to pass a directive to make software patent legal, but it has been defeated in European parliament (a quite rare event). EU commission now plan to make the European Patent Office the juridiction for patent cases, instead of regular courts. That way software patent would still be illegal, but the EPO would rule as if they were.

German parliament stance runs against that plan. But since 2008, we now the real masters in Europe are the German parliament and the German constitutional court. We can therefore trust them to prevail. If they managed to impose a suicidal economic policy for the whole continent, I guess they can impose something on the much more frivolous patent front.

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