09.24.15

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Europe’s Acceptance of and Resistance to Software Patents, Courtesy of Corporate Front Groups and Courtrooms Respectively

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, IBM, Patents at 4:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: A snapshot of recent developments and upcoming developments in Europe, regarding software patents in particular

EARLIER this week we chastised IBM for implicitly promoting software patents in India, just as it had done to promote software patents in Europe. Multinationals generally want to have these patents everywhere, especially if these multinationals are vast monopolies that deal with software. They want to crush competition using patents.

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and a front group of IBM et al want to make software patents and Linux co-exist using so-called “non-aggression” pacts, which in practice barely work at all, not just because they cannot retaliate against patent trolls (see how Oracle sued Google over Android, despite their role in OIN). To quote their statement: “The Free Software Foundation Europe and Open Invention Network, with the participation of the Legal Network and the Asian Legal Network, are presenting two round table events with presentations and panel discussion of industry and community speakers, titled “Open Source and Software Patent Non-Aggression, European Context”. The events will be held in Berlin, Germany on October 21 and in Warsaw, Poland on October 22.”

This was also mentioned here and the FFII’s President reacted much like we did, stating: “Probably those 2 associations are doing nothing to prevent swpatv3, or the unitary patent” (more on that in our next post).

“Someone should tell Battistelli, who is a Frenchman, that the EPO must obey the laws of France and many other countries where software patents are not legal.”Some people seem to have grasped the important role which software patents play in the field of operating systems like Android. Free software is probably harmed the most because software patents are a stab at the heart of free distribution. See this new article titled “Apple, Samsung, Phones and Software Patents” for example. It is gratifying to see that more people now attribute the problem and lay the blame on software patents.

Recently, thankfully enough, April wrote about a decision that was widely overlooked in Europe. 6 days ago it stated that “[o]n June 18th, 2015, the Paris High Court (tribunal de grande instance — TGI) issued a ruling in the Orange versus Free case [fr] (both French ISPs); this ruling was published [fr] on September 1st, 2015. On this occasion, the court reaffirmed that software patents are illegal in Europe under the European Patent Convention (EPC). While this reaffirmation is good news, it nevertheless testifies to the possibility of filing software patent applications today in Europe.”

Someone should tell Battistelli, who is a Frenchman, that the EPO must obey the laws of France and many other countries where software patents are not legal. As we shall show in our next post, the EPO is helping member nations and corporations that operate in them bypass the law and patent software, using for the most part a secretive and undemocratic transition into the UPC.

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