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Patents Roundup: Patent Overload, ACTA, and More

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News about software patents and some of their effects

Almost One Million Patent Applications in China in 2009

China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) reports the following statistics:

* 976,686 patent applications (up 17.9%)
* 877,611 domestic (89.9% and up 22.4%)
* 99,075 from abroad (10.1%, down 10.9%)

Patentable subject matter – Where are we now? (background)

The presentation concentrated on developments over the past few years in the law on patentable subject matter, in particular relating to so-called software patents (or, according to the EPO’s more accurate general term, ‘computer-implemented inventions’), with emphasis on how the UK Patent Office and courts have dealt with the issue, and how this compares with the approach taken by the EPO and their Boards of Appeal.

Write Brothers® Donates $725K in Software to the USC School of Cinematic Arts

Write Brothers currently holds three software patents and one pending. It holds two for the Dramatica® story assistant, and one for the timeline-based presentation of text used in the Outline 4D™ outlining software, and one pending for its product. Streamline™.

Arigo appoints Bill Ren as Vice President of Engineering

He is also the author of multiple U.S. software patents.

Blogging ACTA Across The Globe: FFII’s Ante Wessels on Exporting Europe’s Flaws

Every major country in the ACTA negotiations claims that its own laws will remain unchanged by the treaty. But without changing a word of domestic law, ACTA can still be dangerous to a country’s — or a continent’s — economy. This week at Deeplinks, we’ve asked guest bloggers from around the world to give their perspective on the trade agreement. Today, giving the view from the heart of the European Union, is Ante Wessels, analyst for the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, a group best known for their work in Europe’s debate over software patents.

ACTA Guide, Part Five: Speaking Out

The 7th round of ACTA negotiations will conclude around lunch time today in Mexico. If past meetings are any indication, a few hours later the participating countries will issue a bland statement thanking the host Mexican government, discussing the progress on civil enforcement, border measures, and the Internet as well as noting the transparency discussions and the continued desire to address the issue. The release will then conclude by looking forward to the next meeting in Wellington, New Zealand in April.

ACTA One Step Closer To Being Done; Concerns About Transparency Ignored

Despite widespread demands from politicians around the globe, combined with promises from the USTR to be more open and transparent (despite unsubstantiated and totally ridiculous claims that countries would leave the negotiations if details were made public) and even entertainment industry lobbyists admitting that the process could be more transparent, ACTA negotiations are continuing in a veil of total secrecy to the public (unless you’re a big industry lobbyist — then it’s open). The latest meetings in Mexico were again held in total secrecy, where public concerns were mocked, but appear to have continued to move the negotiations forward with claims coming out that the document is in “final drafting stages.”

Invent Help Sues IPWatchdog Alleging they are Not a Scam (for context)

Ask HN: Cases where software patents have prevented progress? (Many examples are presented there which hopefully show the harms of patents)

A student writing a thesis about software patents emailed me asking about cases “in which having a patent on an algorithm prevented some significant technological progress.” HN seemed the best place to find answers. What are the clearest examples of this happening, and how much did they slow things down?

WIPO Patent Committee Prepares To Discuss Future Work Programme

This week the Free Software Foundation of Europe is proposing the committee consider using a three-step test on whether a particular type of knowledge should become patentable subject matter or not.

These three steps take the form of questions: “1, is there a demonstrated failure of the market to provide innovation in this area?; 2, are there demonstrated positive effects of disclosure from patenting in this area?; 3, in this area, does the patent system work effectively to disseminate knowledge?”

”Patents are a form of regulation, and constitute state intervention in the market,” said Karsten Gerloff, president of the FSFE. And, he added, “as with any regulation and intervention, the first consideration must be to do no harm.” These questions should help ensure that patents aid the cause of innovation, he added.

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