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EU Moves Towards Single European Patent Standard

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the patent-leather dept.

Patents 234

theodp writes "A European Parliament committee Tuesday moved toward setting the first pan-European standard for software patents, but outlawed the U.S. practice of patenting business methods, such as Amazon's one-click Internet shopping. 'The European law sets the right benchmark rather than the looser U.S. system,' said the director of public policy for Europe at the Business Software Alliance, which represents 20 software companies including Microsoft and Apple. Amazon representatives in Brussels declined to comment on the new European legislation."

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Patenting FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227090)

I have patented the FP business practice. Anyone else who tries to use FP has to pay me $5.00. If you have any questions you can direct them at that brick wall over there.

DID YOU RTFA?!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227102)

Or even just the post, they don't have to pay you if they live in Europe, you're plan has failed.

Re:DID YOU RTFA?!? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227121)

Who the hell lives in Europe?

Re:DID YOU RTFA?!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227127)

You are plan has failed? What is that supposed to mean?

Re:DID YOU RTFA?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227146)

I may have been an idiot and mistyped that, but you are the idiot who couldn't figure out what I meant. U R TEH SUX0R.

Re:DID YOU RTFA?!? (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227304)

I think what he meant was, "You are plan has failed. All your patent are belong to us."

Ladies, ladies, please... (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227160)

Put aside your petty differences. Celebrate your freedom: July 4. [unbrandamerica.org]

FP! -1 Offtopic! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227093)

Pooper scooper ba-dooper. Nerf.

Mac fans should READ THIS NOW! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227098)

Mac Zealot Translator-o-matic

Apple have come up with some innovative products, but their market share remains tiny. Sadly, though, many buyers have been mislead by the marketing and eye-candy, and desperately try to justify their overpriced purchases to themselves on forums around the Net. Let's see what they really mean...

"MacOS X is everything Linux wants to be."
"Despite the fact that Linux is just code and can't WANT to be anything, I truly believe that it'd love to be a single-vendor, single-platform, sluggish half-proprietary OS with dwindling market share. Linux would love to throw away its impressively growing corporate takeup for that."

"Apple hardware is for real computer lovers."
"It's no hassle to use a plethora of keyboard combos to make up for the patronising one-button mouse. Despite the fact that my hands have FIVE fingers, and multiple-buttons make Web browsing so much more pleasant, I prefer my computer to be treat me like a special-needs child."

"Aqua makes me so much more productive!"
"My non-techie friends drool over the transparency and scaling effects, even though UI research has shown that they add practically nothing to getting real work done. It feels like KDE 2 on a Pentium 200, and I can't change to a light and fast WM, but those drop-shadows must make me work so quickly!"

"OSX shows that Apple is committed to open source."
"OpenDarwin.org and its community of about 27 is surely not just a token gesture by Apple. Pretty much nobody uses pure Darwin, and all the crucial components of the system are closed and require me to spend money just to get major OS updates, but they're really helping the community somehow."

"You get what you pay for with Apple hardware."
"My iBook was made by in Taiwan by AlphaTop and has design and build quality flaws (needing foam sheets jammed in to stop the common problem of the keyboard scratching the screen). But it's silvery and cost far more than an x86 laptop of better spec, so it must be much higher quality!"

"...blah blah MHz myth blah..."
"Although there's truth in PPC being more elegant than x86, it's crushing that the top-of-the-range 1.5 GHz chip is slaughtered by the equivalent 3 GHz Pentium 4. However, Steve Jobs showed some vague Photoshop filter benchmarks at the last MacWorld, so being a leprotard, I'm convinced."

Amazon (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227099)

"Amazon representatives in Brussels declined to comment on the new European legislation."

Yeah, they`re too busy trying to think of a way to stop their competitors from setting up shop in the EU whilst selling to US customers. And failing.

Re:Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227165)

If the competitors sell in the US they're still infringing the patent. A patent gives the owner the right to bar others from make, sell, and use the invention. Thus selling in the US would still be illegal. They can sell to the rest of the world though.

One 'o' tooo many (5, Funny)

gammoth (172021) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227107)

He meant, "the European law sets the right benchmark rather than the loser U.S. system."

(Yeah, I know. I have no plans to quit my day job.)

Re:One 'o' tooo many (0, Offtopic)

gammoth (172021) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227204)

Redundant? I said it first, nimrod.

That's how I read it at first (1)

Trelane, the Squire (608266) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227278)

lol. did a double take, but chalked it up to mistranslation or something. I guess we know which way I lean on this subject...

Re:One 'o' tooo many (-1, Flamebait)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227349)

Pity that no American will get your joke, since they do not learn spelling and grammar at school...

Re:One 'o' tooo many (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227424)

No instead we get to learn how to piss off the rest of the world, because they are so fucking arrogant and won't get off their high-horse and realize that they are the ones who talk funny, fuckface.

At least sanity still prevails in some places (4, Interesting)

dtolton (162216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227112)

It sounds like they have learned from some of the mistakes our
patent system has made.

Under the European law, software companies would obtain
exclusive rights only for programs that demonstrate novelty in
their "technical contribution."


Their reasoning: "We don't want to arrive at a model where
in the U.S. everything under the sun can be patented,"


I think they are approaching this from a better angle. I still
disagree with the general notion of patenting algorithms as
such. I don't think algorithms are invented any more than
mathematical truths are invented, rather they are discovered.
IMO, there is a difference and a patent shouldn't be granted on
that. Although, I will admit there is room to disagree with
that position.

It looks like they will be avoiding the major abuses we are
experiencing though, since you can patent a novel approach to
hand writing recognition, but not hand writing recognition in
general.

Now, the question is how do we get the U.S. government to adopt
this standard? Will it be like the Metric system, where we are
too entrenched to switch to a better system? Let's hope not for
our sakes.

wrong! (0, Troll)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227151)

The only sane thing to do is banish all "intellectual property" laws.

Re:wrong! (0)

George Wanker Bush (676496) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227245)

See? That's what you get for being a fucking subscriber.

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (0, Redundant)

56ker (566853) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227164)

Q. Now, the question is how do we get the U.S. government to adopt this standard?

A. Lobby your politicians

Q. Will it be like the Metric system, where we are
too entrenched to switch to a better system?

A. Nope, converting to metric is easier - however the software to do it is patented. ;o)

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (-1, Flamebait)

George Wanker Bush (676496) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227168)

We'll just steal all their patents after WW4 just like we did after WW2 and write some history books which say "USA good, Europe bad".

Questions?

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (-1, Troll)

George Wanker Bush (676496) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227190)

Doh! I meant WW3. Please excuse that, I'm having problems with them numbers.

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (4, Insightful)

Target Drone (546651) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227206)

Will it be like the Metric system, where we are too entrenched to switch to a better system?

Considering that the patent office has turned into a revenue source for the government I'd say it's worse.

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227208)

I don't think algorithms are invented any more than mathematical truths are invented, rather they are discovered.

I entirely agree with this, but I'm not sure if this is the right question to be asking. The question is, is there a benefit to the public to award a time-limited monopoly (aka a patent) for those who bother to go out and discover these things, or isn't there one? If it benefits us, we should do it. If not, we shouldn't. Whether it was a process of invention or discovery is moot if we can somehow encourage addition invention or discovery. But I'm skeptical as to whether the benefits are real, or more substantial than the problems that also ensue...

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (2, Interesting)

Jezral (449476) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227227)

I don't think algorithms are invented any more than mathematical truths are invented, rather they are discovered.

I don't think the right combination of iron parts that make up a ship is invented, rather it is discovered.
And so on, in all eternity...

By your logic, nothing is ever invented, but merely discovered. And you are right.
I agree that they are only discovered, but I also want the person/company who discovers them to benefit from that discovery for a while.

After all, it probably cost a lot of money and time in R&D to discover it...

Then why should machines be patentable? (1, Insightful)

siskbc (598067) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227243)

I think they are approaching this from a better angle. I still disagree with the general notion of patenting algorithms as such. I don't think algorithms are invented any more than mathematical truths are invented, rather they are discovered.

I'm no fan of the lovely US patent system, but I don't know about algorightms being a "mathematical truth" any more than a functioning machine is a "physical truth." One is an implementation of logic, one of physics. Yet no one would fight a patent on a new machine that does something cool. Similarly, I would argue for algorithms, assuming they meet all the other patent standards.

Note that doesn't mean I'm going to grant a patent on something like the for-loop, but I think any specific, novel, nonobvious means of solving any problem should be patentable. So if you invent a new way of approaching an encryption problem, cool, patent. But saying one-click is a patent, that's an end, not a means. No patent.

Re:Then why should machines be patentable? (2, Insightful)

dtolton (162216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227315)

As I stated, there is room to argue on this point. Most of the difference hinges on definitions. Such as defining the difference between an act of Creation and an act of Discovery. Is it an act of observation, or an act of Imagination? There are some things that if that person had not lived, and had not produced those works (Shakespeare, Mozart) the world likely never would have benefitted from them. There are others that we would have regardless (Electricity, Projectiles). The problem is with those things in between these two extremes. It's not 100% clear cut which way it should go in some cases. I can understand allowing limited patents on certain algorithms, however others are ludicrous. Thus my problem on simply allowing patents on algorithms. It depends greatly on the algorithm and whether or not it was truly an act of Creation or of Discovery.

What I do like about their version of this law is that it has to be Novel, pushing those patented towards the more rigorous side of the spectrum.

Changing Patent law is only part of the solution (2, Insightful)

retto (668183) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227332)

An equally large, and relevant, problem is the lawsuit culture present in the US. The reason everyone is trying to patent every possible idea no matter how abstract is that it our legal system tolerates lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit. Instead of providing relief for a party that has been wronged, it has become a lottery, where the price a patent application could win you a big cash settlement.

Now I believe that the current patent system is badly broken and in need of a massive overhaul, but how much of the change should be made in the patent system, and how much in the courts?

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (2, Insightful)

iabervon (1971) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227343)

I don't see any particular reason that mathematical truths shouldn't be patentable, except that they wouldn't make particularly useful patents, since there isn't exactly any way to "use" them in the right sense for the restriction. Unless, of course, they are algorithms. Sure, they're discovered, but so is everything else. The functionality of a steam engine was no less true in 1776 than it is now, but nobody knew to do that then, just like RSA would have worked in 1776 if anyone had tried it. There is no real fundamental difference between algorithms and devices, as has become clear in these days when mechanical devices are being replaced first with digital circuits and then with software for an embedded computer.

There are plenty of problems with the patent system (largely concerning the vast quantity of patent applications and awarded patents overwhelming patent offices and inventors; the intent of the system is that every inventor read every patent applicable to the field, but this is impossible, and the patents aren't even available for a long time), but this isn't really one of them (except that people getting software patents tend to be sleazier than the average).

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (2, Insightful)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227372)

I don't think algorithms are invented any more than mathematical truths are invented, rather they are discovered.

Thats an interesting argument, imagine if Newton had been able to patent the use of the formulas he discovered ?. At the same time in today's competitive money focused world Newton may not have been able to claim credit for discovery without the patent system.

No - there is NOTHING sane about this! (4, Insightful)

Sanity (1431) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227384)

I have been a software engineer for years and even I have no idea what is meant by "technical contribution" - and if you don't know what it is, how can anyone say what it isn't?

This is a wide-open door through which even the most rediculously obvious software patents could (and therefore will) slip.

Please please please don't let yourselves think that this is anything other than the EU getting a patent system open to virtually all of the abuses demonstrated in the US.

I just sent the following to my MEP, find your MEP's email address and contact them NOW before it is too late (people in the UK can find their members here [keele.ac.uk] )!:

Ms Doyle,

You may recall our recent discussion concerning the dangers of software
patents for European innovation and competitiveness in software. Apparently,
the Legal Affairs Committee has now recommended that patents on software
are to be permitted within the EU - while only paying lip-service to the
massive threat they present. This will be a collossal blow to smaller
European software developers as they will be unable to compete with large US
corporations in the patent land-grab which is sure to follow.

My question is - what problem are they attempting to fix? Software
innovation has been just fine without software patents in Europe. The Linux
computer operating system, which currently runs more web servers than
Microsoft's Windows software, was developed by volunteers donating their time
freely. This kind of effort is jeprodised when large software companies like
Microsoft can use patents on trivial and obvious software processes to crush
these altruistic development efforts, and Microsoft has stated that they are
willing to do so.

It is insufficient to pay lip-service to the problem of patents on trivial
and obvious techniques, I want to know how exactly this will be prevented.
Certainly the lesson of the United States is that the patent office will be
poorly motivated to deny patents on trivial software processes, leaving it up
to the courts - a process that is much too costly and time-consuming for
small companies in such a fast moving industry.
I realise that you are not directly involved in this process, and I am not
intimitely familiar with the internal workings of the European Parliament,
but as the CEO of a software company with offices in Leinster I feel that you
are the appropriate person to whom I should address my concerns.

If you could refer me to someone more appropriately positioned, I would be
extremely grateful,

Kind regards,

Ian Clarke
CEO Cematics LLC

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (4, Insightful)

GammaTau (636807) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227451)

It sounds like they have learned from some of the mistakes our patent system has made.

No, we haven't learned from your mistakes, I'm afraid. Before EU started gathering together the directive, some countries, including Finland where I live, had no software patents at all.

Re:At least sanity still prevails in some places (1)

alefbet (518838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227461)

Their reasoning: "We don't want to arrive at a model where in the U.S. everything under the sun can be patented,"
I don't want to end up where everything is patented under Sun, either.

Something Freudian about the U.S. Patents Office (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227117)

'The European law sets the right benchmark rather than the looser U.S. system,'
Am I the only one who misread this as the loser U.S. system?

Re:Something Freudian about the U.S. Patents Offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227220)

Am I the only one who misread this as the loser U.S. system?

Nope, you certainly weren't the first one, it took me quite a few re-reads to get it, not because I dindn't understand it, but because since the world is getting madder over time:

You know, when the germans don't want to go to war, the frechs call the americans pricks, the best rapper is white and the best golfer is black ... you can expect anything !!!

Re:Something Freudian about the U.S. Patents Offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227270)

Me too, i didn't see it correctly until I read your comment

Re:Something Freudian about the U.S. Patents Offic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227280)

no

Re:Something Freudian about the U.S. Patents Offic (1)

Nighttime (231023) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227295)

Nope, I'm so used to auto-correcting bad grammar and spelling on /. I thought the editors were up to their usual high standards :)

I like it! (3, Interesting)

suteri (637146) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227118)

outlawed the U.S. practice of patenting business methods, such as Amazon's one-click Internet shopping

Perhaps the EU parliament (or whatever) isn't as useless after all. Though what will become out of this pan-European system in a few years? Let's keep our fingers crossed..

Re:I like it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227283)

Perhaps the EU parliament (or whatever) isn't as useless after all. Though what will become out of this pan-European system in a few years? Let's keep our fingers crossed..

The E.U. won't last long. Already nationalist parties are popping up all over europe again. Infact the continent has already banned one such national party in austria (Euro-Nations demanded it be broken up or austria would be sanctioned). The so called center-right/left parties are falling apart for more left-wing and right-wing parties. I honestly never thought that europe would remain this calm for this long.

Great Britian is not a member and thats one missing key and considering that the public has switched into a no euro mode they will not be drawn closer into the E.U.

Did you really believe that so many nations with so many different languages and cultures would become one country?

Hallelujah (1)

freedommatters (664657) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227120)

thank god for that. if europe were to follow the us system we'd all be totally screwed. now we need to put pressure on the us to change their system.

john
All I Want For Christmas Is My Constitutional Rights [wildjelly.com]

1.0 is never perfect (3, Interesting)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227132)

The US patent system was the first of its kind. The first version of anything is never the best version.

I just wish our government was less like those people that claim engine design peaked in the early 70s. (there are lots of them in the south)

Re:1.0 is never perfect (3, Insightful)

dtolton (162216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227170)

Business method patents weren't added until the late 1990's. In fact our patent and copyright system has gone through extensive changes to make it less beneficial IMO. I would argue in fact that version 1.0 was *far* more desireable than what we have now.

Laws are not like software. Software gets better with time, Laws and regulations often go the other direction.

1.1 is even worse (1)

$$$exy Gwen Araujo (654821) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227172)

Patents were doing fine until Reagan changed the laws and started allowing software patents.

Re:1.0 is never perfect (2, Insightful)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227198)

>The first version of anything is never the best version.

yup! but you could also say that the second version of anything is never the best version. The third version is!! er, wait.. the fourth is! ...er... never mind.

Second System Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227203)

Now I'm going to re-read Brooks . . . and tremble.

Re:1.0 is never perfect (0, Flamebait)

mickwd (196449) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227226)

"The US patent system was the first of its kind. The first version of anything is never the best version."

Yeah, that's why the US-designed Internet never really caught on.

D'oh......

(Or should that be S'co........)

Re:1.0 is never perfect (0)

George Wanker Bush (676496) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227265)

U S A!
U S A!
U S A!

Re:1.0 is never perfect (4, Informative)

3247 (161794) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227340)

Yeah, that's why the US-designed Internet never really caught on.
...until the World Wide Web was invented at CERN, GenÃve, Switzerland.

Yeah, you got it.

Re:1.0 is never perfect (1)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227452)

Are you suggesting that the 'internet' as we know it is the best of all possible 'internets'?

Re:1.0 is never perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227495)

That's obviously not true. What about the internet before the DMCA? WAY better in my opinion.

Re:1.0 is never perfect (1)

r0xah (625882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227342)

I totally agree with you that the first version is never perfect, but then that would beg the question... why are we still using the first version or at least a fairly unchanged one at that? A patent system that allows companies to patent something and go try to make millions off of it when they aren't even producing the product is seriously flawed... patents should be so that the small entrepreneurs to the big businesses can make up an idea and make money off of it without getting smashed by the competition who can make it cheaper. Another huge problem is the length of time it takes to get a patent. A large company has no problem with waiting an amount of time, but a person who is trying to start a business can run into major problems if it takes a year or more to get his patent through and costs a forturne to do so.

Re:1.0 is never perfect (5, Informative)

wfberg (24378) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227509)


The US patent system was the first of its kind. The first version of anything is never the best version.

The following is (c) wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

Patents originated in England with the Statute of Monopolies 1693 under King James I of England. Prior to this time, the King could issue letters patent providing any person with a monopoly to produce particular goods or provide particular services. This power was widely abused; thus Parliament restricted it through the Statute of Monopolies so that the King could only issue them to the inventors of original inventions for a fixed number of years. Section 6 of the Statute refers to "manner[s] of new manufacture...[by] inventors", and this section remains the foundation for patent law in England and Australia. The Statute of Monopolies was latter developed by the courts to produce modern patent law; this innovation was soon copied by other countries.

You know, there already were laws prior to the Declaration of Independence and the drafting of the Constitution..

Re:1.0 is never perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227569)

''The US patent system was the first of its kind. The first version of anything is never the best version.''

No, it wasn't. IIRC, patents originated in england. They were certainly in use in europe before there *was* a US.

Everybody (worldwide) likes to claim that things were 'invented here'. We in the US are no differenent, we have a whole mythology (electric lights, phones, etc.) of things we mistakenly claim as US inventions....

"Looser" (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227135)

Was it just me that read that quote as 'The European law sets the right benchmark rather than the loser U.S. system' the first time around?

Re:"Looser" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227158)

No. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one that read your post as "I'm a redundant bastard," either.

Re:"Looser" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227281)

"I think I am clever, so I will top post before reading a single comment, event though there are all ready a zillion"

Idiot, why don't you make you self useful and go suicide bomb some jews.

Global Patent Jurisdiction (2, Interesting)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227136)

Could someone please mention where patents on web based applications or "business-models" ( a cookie?) are actually valid?

Does a patent on a web technology apply to where the server is operating, who owns it or who's using it?

Re:Global Patent Jurisdiction (1)

Hal The Computer (674045) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227433)

I'll use the Island of Madagascar (sp?) as an example because I've never been there. Say you live in Madagascar. If you set up a web server you can use any technology you please, so long as it is not illegal in Madagascar. You could have your own one-click shopping system and that would be just fine. Someone who lives in the United States is probably even OK in using your web server because they are not acually violating Amazon.com's patents. Amazon.com could probaby take you to court in the U.S., but if you live in Madagascar, you could just laugh at them. Bottom line, obey the laws of the country you are in.

P.S. I am not actually a lawyer if you are putting your life in my hands with your buisness DON'T! Stop being cheap and go reatain a good lawyer.

The new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227138)

cold war.

looser? (0, Redundant)

bluelan (534976) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227139)

Typo - make that loser system.

Re:looser? (1)

bluelan (534976) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227155)

Doh! 17th post and already redundant thrice.

Re:looser? (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227235)

I've been there. The best part is when you get mod'd down as redundant and you posted within like 3min of the story coming out;-) Of course when I read looser I was thinking along entirely different lines...

software patents in the EU (3, Insightful)

56ker (566853) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227150)

A piece of software is covered under copyright laws - the same way a piece of art or music is. If the EU go the route of the US in allowing software patents it damages software development in the long term.

Re:software patents in the EU (1)

boy_of_the_hash (622182) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227252)

My sentiments exactly. Software can only be patented as part of a genuine invention. Let's see them try and stop patents on everything else that is traditionally protected by copyright but can now be patented if hidden away as part of a patentable invention.

I guess the loophole they have created paves the way for a hack in the same way the GPL uses copyright. If only I was smart enough to figure it out.

At first.... (-1, Redundant)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227157)

.. I read that "The European law sets the right benchmark rather than the LOSER U.S. system" ... I guess both fit.

thank god for europeans (2, Funny)

castlec (546341) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227161)

hurray for europeans!!! first they gave us culture, then they gave us linux, now they give us some common sense

Re:thank god for europeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227445)

You're welcome. Always glad to contribute my part !

Redundant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227163)

EU Moves Towards Single European Patent Standard

You don't need to say "European Patent" if you use the term "EU". What the hell other kind of patent standard would the EU being moving towards? EU Moves Towards Single Antarctic Patent Standard?

You clown.

not all good (5, Insightful)

AndrewRUK (543993) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227167)

Unfortunatly, this report, from the Legal Affairs committee, does support software patents, ignoring the advice of the Industry committee, the Culture committee, and the vast majority of the response to their public consultation on the issue. Luckily, there is still time, as it has to pass the European parliament before coming EU law. So, to all European slashdotters, please make sure to contact your MEP about it (in a coherant, non-loony way) and explain why software patents are bad.

non-loony? (1)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227215)

In other words, not ranting "Information wants to be FREE! Ban IP!"

Re:not all good (1)

mickwd (196449) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227285)

I second this.

They do reply, too. I got a personal response from one of my MEPs to an email within half an hour. Not all of them are this clued-up (I'm sure not all of them even have e-mail addresses), but some of them will be.

But you don't have to email them - you can write to them, too.

If you don't know who your MEPs are, or how to contact them, go here [upmystreet.com] and enter your postcode. Look for the "Your Representives" section, and click on the "More information and contact details" link.

All patents are bad! (0, Troll)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227171)

Arguing against software patents is like arguing against slave imports. "Intellectual property" needs to be abolished, just as slavery was.

In other news... (2, Funny)

heli0 (659560) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227173)

Amazon Tuesday patented the first pan-European standard for software patents. European representatives in Brussels declined to comment on the new Amazon patent.

I think he actually said .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227182)

The loser U.S. System, and not LOOSER
LOSERS.

Who is responsible for ? (1)

hoppy (21392) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227185)

Please, may be some UK citizen could send to Mrs Arlene McCARTHY few words to tell her what they think.

Find more information about CEC & BSA at CEC & BSA 2002-02-20: proposal to make all useful ideas patentable [ffii.org]

And information about Arlene McCARTHY [eu.int] including e-mail address.

Re:Who is responsible for ? (1)

The Mgt (221650) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227353)

I did email her (politely) and am still waiting for a reply. I suspect I'll keep on waiting as I'm only a member of the public rather than a lobbyist for some big software company.

Looser? (1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227186)

I know I can't be the only one who first read that as the loser U.S. system!

That giant sucking sound... (4, Insightful)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227191)

...is the software industry leaving the U.S. in droves for less litigious countries.

Re:That giant sucking sound... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227247)

...that will tax them into the poor house while imposing such strict employer rules such that no employee can ever be fired and all employees can only work 35 hours weeks.

The giant sucking sound is air rushing into the vacuum that is your skull. Your post is complete nonsense.

Re:That giant sucking sound... (2, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227425)

Which obviously is a very good deal for 99,9% of the people which are employees.

Remember why businesses exist in the first place (subtle hint as you're probably american, it's NOT to make a profit)

Re:That giant sucking sound... (2, Insightful)

jmv (93421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227501)

...that no employee can ever be fired

Can you give some sources for that? Sorry, never heard of these laws.

all employees can only work 35 hours weeks.

That's a French law, AFAIK all EU countries have different laws. Besides, I think 35 hours/week is a good idea. Creates jobs, employees more productive, employees have more free time, which means they have more occasion to spend money and make economy run.

Re:That giant sucking sound... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227517)

...that will tax them into the poor house while imposing such strict employer rules such that no employee can ever be fired and all employees can only work 35 hours weeks.

The giant sucking sound is air rushing into the vacuum that is your skull. Your post is complete nonsense.


What about: ...that will ask higher taxes so that investments can be made in healthcare, education and social sructure, and that will use those taxes to create a better living environment, and a place where people don't have to work for 50 or 60 hours to make a living, A place where people can actually raise their kids. Happy people with more job security are better workers, and they don't have a tendancy to cause trouble.

Higher taxes means higher tax incomes, which, ofcourse if spent well, means a better living and working environment, and, as a bonus, means a diminished corporate grip over society.

Re:That giant sucking sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227413)

The genre is too large to simply say "this is good".

Now I'm going to say something that's going to get me flamed.

Check out Kenny G. No seriously. Stop laughing.

Kenny G represents the future of Jazz, for better or worse. Soprano sax in the fore and a solid trio in the backup is the type of music coming out of the Jazz world for years to come. Take a listen to any recent Jazz album and you will find easily followable rhythms and very few solo excursions anymore.

As an art form, Jazz has essentially played itself out. This is as much a result of its maturity as it is a result of the intrinsyc drawbacks of the style. The style allows the artist complete freedom and this was exploited for years in the form of gratuitous solos and wildly off-beat excursions. There is only so far you can go with that kind of artform because eventually it all has to come back to the essential 4 4 beat and at that point Jazz loses all its magic.

It's a shame that the best American musical artform is on the verge of dying (BSD trolls begone!), but there's simply nowhere for the music to go except into Kenny G-like easy listening, no chance taking, simple, boring, and unsatisfying albums.

It's kind of like being an Altair aficianado. The only thing you can do is look to the past because they just don't make what you want anymore.

Re:That giant sucking sound... (1)

larryleung (664571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227421)

WTF?!?! The software industry LOVES patents. Its gives them control over their intellectual property and hence more incentive to develop new software.

If patent laws are *too* strict, it'll be hard for companies to remain competitive against the hordes of smaller companies ripping off your ideas and selling a cheaper solution.

A distinction without a difference (3, Insightful)

TechLawyer (182030) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227195)

So rather than claiming a business method, European applicants will simply claim software useful in implementing a business method, while never actually using the words "business" or "method." For a skilled practitioner, the new EU guidelines don't seem to put up much in the way of a barrier.

BIG Mistake (5, Insightful)

NigelJohnstone (242811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227207)

Cute how its dressed up, but its telling that its the big players that want to lock themselves in with Patents who are backing this.

We had the most innovative time when there were no patents and lockins. Now the software market is dead, because the OS vendor locks the market down. Giving them more lock down tools in the form of patents is death for applications software.

No applications are developed, nothing new is in the market and it has nothing to do with patents, and everything to do with market lock.

Re:BIG Mistake (1)

larryleung (664571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227458)

We had the most innovative time when there were no patents and lockins. Now the software market is dead, because the OS vendor locks the market down. Giving them more lock down tools in the form of patents is death for applications software.

Um... last time I checked we still have a decent market for software. Innovation is still happening, just at a slower rate as the industry matures as expected. Companies are generally immune towards any "lockdown" due to licensing agreements.
While I understand your feelings about patents, your conclusions are unjustified.

Good for the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227256)

More government regulation can't be bad.

A better system the in the US.... (2, Funny)

Zemran (3101) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227260)

That must have been hard to sort out... :)

Poor economics (0, Flamebait)

donnz (135658) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227316)

There must be a tonne (ton) of PhD thesisss proving what a drain on the world economy patents really are. The more I think about it the less I can see *any* reason for patents. They are an artificial drain in the economy, encourage monopolisation and generally an option that favours huge corporates over the innovative "little" guys.

Are you an ideas person? Go sell that skill to a company that needs ideas, that's what the rest of us do, you don't need patents to make a buck.

The idea of patents encapuslates two mistaken ideals:

1. "The American Dream" - you get to make a shit load of money for nothing.

2. Professionals (read lawyers) are more than "just" about selling services - no no, we sell ideas.

On point two, I should state I am proud to be selling my services. If it makes my clients a lot of money, maybe they'll pay me a lot to keep my services. In the end, why should we be considered better (or worse) than toilet cleaners who do an equally valuable job.

Re:Poor economics (1)

RandyF (588707) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227518)

Patents are necessary, just not for software.

Are you an ideas person? Go sell that skill to a company that needs ideas, that's what the rest of us do, you don't need patents to make a buck.

Without a patent, there is nothing to stop that big company you just showed your idea from taking it and running with it, leaving you in the dust.

Patents are intended, much like copyrights, to protect the thinkers so that they can have a reasonably protected profit so that they are free to think up more ideas. Patent lifespans are short intentionally.

That is not to say, however, that a patent length is reasonable for software. In an industry that considers 1 year way out of date and irrelevent, 6 months would be a fair bargain.

If we could strike such a deal, I would be all for software patents. It gives the originator a fair enough time to profit before the innovation is public domain.

'nuff said...

US patent system changing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227344)

I'm afraid that the US patent system will never change for the better. Less restrictions = more applications = more grants = more money. They earn money like there is no tomorrow (safe assumption), why would they want to earn less?

good grief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227409)

US is starting to look like some laboratory to determine what may be toxic to a nation. EU definitely pulled that one from current events here.

Why must our leaders be so stupid? They're supposed to be the cream of the crop, the most intelligent of us. But here they are, acting like so many used car salesman transported to a stratospherically powerful positions, accepting and honoring bribes and all sorts of other mindless crap. God help us.

Loser U.S. system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227419)

I first read:
"The European law sets the right benchmark rather than the looser U.S. system"as:
"The European law sets the right benchmark rather than the loser U.S. system"

Amen. (2, Insightful)

HansKloss (665474) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227454)

"We don't want to arrive at a model where in the U.S. everything under the sun can be patented," said Ilias Konteas of the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe

Not good (4, Informative)

DGolden (17848) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227512)

This is not actually good news, despite the spin. Software patents are absurd, and this still basically hands Big American Corporations (TM) the European software industry on a plate.

On the sorta-plus side, in the long term, the very concept of I.P. might be pushed closer to collapsing under its own weight. The USA and now the EU are deluding themselves if they think that China will continue to honour Western I.P. laws for ever. To echo a post on /. a while back - I find it scary that the West is busy building castles of I.P. in the sky, while its native manufacturing base is dissolved. When all the West "has" is information,less than pieces of paper and infinitely copyable, and the billions in India and China have all the factories, then we'll see how much real value I."P". has.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227597)

The voice of reason

Business methods ARE patentable (2, Informative)

infolib (618234) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227531)

The Yahoo story and the slashdot blurb have both been (intentionally) misled. Under this directive anything "technical" can be patented. [ffii.org] Programs running on a computer are technical. Business methods implemented "with a computer network" are technical.

In the future, european businesses will compete, not on programming, but on paying patent lawyers. Remember: just because you wrote a program yourself doesn't mean you'll be allowed to distribute it. The result? Punishing innovation. [ffii.org]

Very misleading article (5, Informative)

sl956 (200477) | more than 11 years ago | (#6227599)


The European Commission has proposed to override the current clear and uniform European patentability rules (Art 52 EPC: "mathematical methods, schemes and rules for mental activity, methods of doing business and programs for computers are not patentable inventions") and replace them by a confusing set of nationally implementable rules which authorise patenting of algorithms and business methods, as it has been practised at the European Patent Office (EPO), openly since 1998 and more or less covertly since 1986.

The "European Parliament committee" cited in the article is the European Parliament's Commission on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market (JURI). Some members of this comittee submitted amendments to the European Commission's software patent directive proposal. While some Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are asking to bring the directive in line with Art 52 EPC so as to clearly restate that programs for computers are not patentable inventions, another group of MEPs is endorsing the EPO's recent practice of unlimited patentability, shrouded in more or less euphemistic wordings.

What happened Tuesday is the vote of some pro-software-patenting amendements by the JURI. Theese amendments will now be presented to the plenary of the European Perliament for decision during the first week of either july or september.

It's definitely VERY BAD news.

This site [ffii.org] summarizes the situation and the efforts from all around Europe to fight software patenting.

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