[Fsfe-ie] Re: Patents, current situation?

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Mon Sep 22 11:39:31 CEST 2003

On Mon, Sep 22, 2003 at 10:07:36AM +0100, Aidan Delaney wrote:
> > Article 6 (a): interoperability (FFII have this as +++) (amd 50)
> >
> > Article 5 (a) (new): Free Software always exempt (amd 62)
> Maybe it would be easier for us to just push these two.  If Free Software is 
> exempt from patenting and litigation (I'm assumung thats what the ammendment 
> means) then we're on a home run.

The first amendment is:
 "Member States shall ensure that, wherever the use of a patented
  technique is needed for the sole purpose of ensuring conversion
  between the conventions used in two different data processing systems
  so as to allow communication and exchange of data content between
  them, such use is not considered to be a patent infringement"

My understanding is that you could write an mp3->ogg converter without
requiring a license but you could not write an mp3 player.  I don't
see the big win here, patents would still be an obsticle and patent
infringement suits (legitimate or not) would still be a threat.

The Free Software amendment would be great, it would encourage companies
to release Free Software as a means of avoiding patent requirements.  The
down side is that I'm not sure this amendment will get majority support.

If I had to pick a minimum, I'd go for the amendments that define terms
like "technical" (Article 2 (ba), (bb), and (bc)), or explicitly state
that data processing is not patentable.

Also, FFII say that the proposal should not be accepted if it contains
the phrase "computer-implemented invention" anywhere in it.  This good
advice for our MEPs since it's short and pointful.

It's pretty important to fix Recital 11 too, it states:
 "computer-implemented inventions are considered to belong to a field
  of technology"
Amendment 33 deletes this line.


FFII amendment comments:

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