Information/Mental Process Patents

Information/Mental Process Patents can include everything from computer software, business models, and possibly even methods of organizing people (Roberts Rules), parliamentary processes, and acts of parliament/law.

See: (EU), Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (EU), League for Programming Freedom (US).

Richard Stallman in Linux Weekly News writing about Software Patents

This message from RMS includes:

Offering us the opportunity (at great expense) to use patents to take
shots at other software developers would hardly assuage the damage
that others would do when they point their patents at us. The
European Parliament understood that the "patent protection" software
developers need is protection from patents.

Fortunately, Dr. Collins is mistaken in believing that the GATT
agreement (***) requires software patents. Several other countries
that adhere to the WTO reject software patents, and the European Union
would be wise to join them.

CNET: Sprucing up open source's GPL foundation

This article by Stephen Shankland
Staff Writer, CNET

What's new: The General Public License, the legal foundation for free and open-source software movements' collaborative philosophy, is being modernized to deal with new realities in the software realm.

Bottom line: Observers believe the GPL could be improved to better deal with a world that involves patent lawsuits, locked-down hardware and publicly available Web services--all items on the GPL agenda.

Canadians should get ready ready to take on software patents!

I posted a message to the forum with the hope that interested parties will help raise the level of debate in Canada on software patents.

My intention with this campaign is not to try to have private volunteers do the economic and public policy analysis required for information process patents, but to encourage the government to do so. So far only legal analysis has been done, and this is simply not sufficient as the drafters of patent acts could simply not have imagined the types of things now being claimed in patent applications.

India Quietly Introduces Software Patents

While this country deals with natural disasters, virtual disasters logically go under the radar.

The Business-Standard of India reports: The Cabinet is expected to clear the promulgation of an Ordinance for the introduction of a product patents regime, which will also cover embedded software and hardware, next Wednesday. There are other news sites reporting the same.

Information/mental process patents the next anti-trust/competition battle ground.

While many in IT are concentrating on the harm of copyright expansionism, even greater harm to our industry lurks in the form of software patents. A recent Groklaw article discussing the EU's Court of First Instance denying Microsoft's application for delay on sanctions against it in the antitrust case indicates where Microsoft is trying to head next.

Microsoft lost its patent argument with this judge, because he wasn't clear that their patents covered the technology it has been ordered to share, as you can see in paragraphs 178 and 179, which raises the question, what might happen if a judge was convinced that the technology was covered by a patent? And, um, if Europe has no software patents currently, how is Microsoft applying for and being granted European software patents? To all those still thinking that "introducing" software patents in Europe will do no harm, this is your wake-up call.

New Term in Taxonomy: Information/Mental process patents

While many are concentrating their efforts opposing copyright related expansionism, there are radical changes underway on the patent front. What is and is not patentable subject matter under patent laws has been sufficiently vague that a powerful lobby has been able to convince patent offices to grant patents on "anything under the sun made by man" as well as anything under the sun thought about by man that can be claimed to be a process.

I was hired by Industry Canada to do a Review of Software Patent Issues in 2003, and it was from this work that I became more engaged in this area of policy.

Torvalds Dubbed Most Influential Executive of 2004

CRN has named Linus Torvalds the most influential executive of 2004. IBM's Palmisano is #2, and Microsoft's Ballmer is #3.

I sent a message to the Industry Minister and critics to let them know that the most influential executive of 2004 is also a strong opponent to software patents.

Linus, Monty, Rasmus: No Software Patents

The three most famous European authors of open-source software have issued an appeal against software patents.

The draft directive in question is deceptive because it leads laymen, and even those legal professionals who are not familiar with the intricacies of patent law, to falsely believe that it would exclude software from patentability. However, it is actually a compilation of the entirety of the excuses with which the patent system has, for many years, been circumventing article 52 of the European Patent Convention in order to grant patents on software ideas.

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