08.12.11

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Germany Does Badly Regarding Software Patents

Posted in Site News at 12:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Germany's flag

Summary: The German courts help validate some software patents right at the heart of Europe, despite lack of explicit consent from the EU

THE FFII’S Benjamin Henrion has taken note of the happenings in Germany and he claims that: “Software patents now validated in Germany, time for a new directive”

Germany recently took some steps that take us further from haven state for software developers. Falk Metzler, a proponent of software patents (he’s a patent lawyer), is among those who will benefit financially. To be fair, it’s not only lawyers who lobby for this; there are also some gullible journalists out there (Patel), but Timothy Lee rebut one of them with “Software Is Just Math. Really.” To quote his latest good article on this subject:

First, Patel makes the common argument that the patent system’s value comes from the way it encourages disclosure of useful technologies. This seems like an argument for software patents that could only be made by someone who’s never developed software (which Patel concedes he hasn’t). I’ve known and worked with a lot of computer programmers over the years in a lot of different parts of the software industry, and I’ve never met a computer programmer who finds patent filings a useful source of technical information. A typical patent is written in dense legalese. This style, combined with the tendency invent new terminology for standard concepts, makes searching the patent database almost impossible. Patents are often not released to the public until years after the original application, by which point the technologies described are often out of date. And most important, the typical patent has very few of the technical details a programmer would actually be interested in. Most importantly, the patent office doesn’t require the disclosure of source code.

Going back to the original subject, Germany helped Microsoft by allowing it to patent software relating to file systems. According to this new press release, Microsoft’s Finland-based partner Tuxera has just got another victim for its Microsoft-taxed ‘solution’. Microsoft's FAT patents in Germany help legitimise attacks even in EU-based companies such as TomTom (Holland) and also coming from Germany there is some new SUSE propaganda for Microsoft tax on GNU/Linux, in the form of a press release.

Why is Germany acting as Microsoft’s attack vector on Europe? It is truly disappointing.

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    August 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Gravatar

    From article 52 of the European Patent Convention 1973

    “(2) The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions within the meaning of paragraph 1:

    programs for computers;”

    http://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/epc/1973/e/ar52.html

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