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Re: [DotGNU]Int'l Herald Trib on Software Patents in Europe

From: DrDiettrich
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Int'l Herald Trib on Software Patents in Europe
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 03:30:15 +0100

Eric Altendorf wrote:
> I think the real question about software patents is probably more
> pragmatic than all this -- is it really good for innovation, is it
> just, is it good for society, etc.

Software patents are a matter of money, nothing else. There exist
reasons that some people (company...) want to protect their expenses in
the research and development of some software. I agree that this is a
legal desire. OTOH scientific researchers traditionally publish all
their discoveries and inventions, for free use by other people, without
restriction to non-commercial use! The protection of this freedom also
is a legal desire.

The conflict resides in the attempts to collect money for patents, where
the patent and publication research can cost much money, until the
possibly expensive law suits, where the richer party has better chances
to prove their rights, or to cut out the other party by simply
exhausting their monetary resources, by formal procedures, indepently
from the subject. Even the mere chance for such procedures is
inacceptable. Consequently the monetary aspects of patents should be
restricted to commercial parties, unless the commercial as well as the
non-commercial parties can agree about a different solution.

Obviously it's high time to find such an agreement, because the
commercial parties have to face powerful non-commercial opponents in the
software arena, with a much higher man power worldwide. But it's
inacceptable that the commerial parties dictate the conditions for such
an agreement and according laws. In the current form the software patent
laws do not really protect the /inventions/ themselves, but instead they
protect the mere /idea/ of patenting any more or less obvious

If no such agreement can be established, one consequence might be a
disclaimer in all future non-commercial publications: "not for use in
commercial products". This would not only disallow future patents of the
published subject, but it also should disallow any commercial software
to use the described procedures. Beat them with their own weapons! And
all that without a big and expensive army of lawyers and patent office
employees... :-]

I think that the authors of such publications and free software will
have no special problems to prove violations of their disclaimer, and to
distribute the money that can be expected from consequential law suits


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