Bonum Certa Men Certa

Can the Idea of Categorising Algorithm Behaviour Be Someone's Property?

The UK and the US battle over software patents

It has been just a couple of months since the UK got 'contaminated' with US patent law (implicit approval of software patents). Watch this new cross-Atlantic lawsuit.

Finjan Inc. won a patent dispute against Secure Computing Corp., with a U.S. District Court of Delaware jury ruling that Secure Computing should pay Finjan royalties for infringing on its patents. Secure Computing vows to appeal the decision.

[...]

Secure Computing said it does not believe it infringes upon Finjan's patents in any way, and the company continues to believe that Finjan's patents are invalid. The Webwasher scanning technology accused of infringement by Finjan uses heuristic rules to categorize the behavior of executable code. The use of heuristics in general to analyze code was known and in use prior to the filing of any of Finjan's patents, Budge said, adding that the specific complex heuristics in the proactive scanning module were developed by Webwasher and are the product of Webwasher's original research.


As you can hopefully see again, here you have a UK-based company suing over the use of algorithms. It exploits the weaknesses of US courts where such ideas are seen as patentable and valid.

The United Kingdom should not be the only country to watch over. Thanks to Digital Majority we also find increased momentum for intellectual monopolies in eastern Europe. Here is one example.

The EU's 'Lisbon' goals of boosting R&D and scientific innovation are just "part of the story", Slovenia's Minister for Growth Ziga Turk told EurActiv in an exclusive interview. He believes the EU can make use of its global lead in fine arts to develop new products and services ahead of its competitors – but only if it makes progress on intellectual property and IT infrastructure.


Here is another example.

Not content with seeking to get consensus on the creation of a pan-European patent jurisdiction, the EU presidency, in the shape of the Slovenian government, is also attempting to reopen serious discussion on the creation of the Community patent.


In order to secure programming without a headache, all that lobbying must end. There is a lot of money being invested in changing the law.

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