Linked by Christian Schaller on Tue 19th Apr 2005 18:26 UTC
Legal We today face the risk of software patents being approved in the EU because not enough parliamentary members will be showing up to vote. Due to this it is important for those of us who oppose software patents to make sure EU parliament members see the damage software patents cause, so they realize it is important to be there to vote providing the needed absolute majority. But sending out a clear message is also important for the process of patent reform in the US and other places who have fallen into the trap of introducing them.
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A Reference.
by BR on Wed 20th Apr 2005 04:58 UTC

"Software Patents Are Legally Questionable

It may come as a surprise that the extension of patent law to software is still legally questionable. It rests on an extreme interpretation of a particular 1981 Supreme Court decision, Diamond vs. Deihr.

Traditionally, the only kinds of processes that could be patented were those for transforming matter (such as, for transforming iron into steel). Many other activities which we would consider processes were entirely excluded from patents, including business methods, data analysis, and "mental steps." This was called the "subject matter" doctrine.

Diamond vs. Deihr has been interpreted by the Patent Office as a reversal of this doctrine, but the court did not explicitly reject it. The case concerned a process for curing rubber--a transformation of matter. The issue at hand was whether the use of a computer program in the process was enough to render it unpatentable, and the court ruled that it was not. The Patent Office took this narrow decision as a green light for unlimited patenting of software techniques, and even for the use of software to perform specific well-known and customary activities.

Most patent lawyers have embraced the change, saying that the new boundaries of patents should be defined over decades by a series of expensive court cases. Such a course of action will certainly be good for patent lawyers, but it is unlikely to be good for software developers and users. "