[LINK] Software patents, Open Source and the FTA
diary at ecommercereport.com.au
Tue Jul 27 11:05:20 EST 2004
A clarification about software, patents, open source and the FTA.
I've done some research and found that whilst it used to be the case that
software. ie. computer programmes
were not patentable they are now. .
I'm told that the precedent setting court action here in OZ was in 1991.
In that year the Federal Court over-turned a decision by the Patent Office
to reject an application
by IBM for a patent on a graphics processing algorithm.
Europe is said to be an exception because the 'European Patent Convention"
still has a specific prohibition on patenting computer programmes. The
prohibition appears to have been liberalised in
recent years and the European courts have also been finding ways to
Of course, patents are probably inimical to open source per se because they
are a legal protection
to private intellectual property rights.
As for the FTA, and the bill before our parliament,
IANAL but a quick look suggests that the patent section would, indeed,
appear to attempt to commit Australia and the
US to extending the scope of patents and, to that extent, support the
commercial interests of MS and the other
US software giants.
By the same token, little Ozzie software developers are said to find that
they need to patent their stuff to
entice investment from US and other investors.
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