Stop Software Patents European Petition

Mother Of All Lies

The "mother of all lies" is that no one ever admits to wanting software patents. So you can't trust anyone. According to some, the European Patent Office has never granted a single software patent - only 30,000 of them.
You'll be hard pressed to find anyone who admits that he wants software patents in Europe. They all deny that. They all say "no, no, no, we don't want to make software patentable". They know that the American experience with software patents is extremely negative. So the patent system introduced an artificial term: "computer-implemented inventions". They say that software patents and computer-implemented inventions are different things. From a practical perspective, those terms are often synonymous.

"Computer-implemented inventions" is a misleading term because it sounds like a truly technical invention, like a computer-controlled car brake. Reality is such that even the concept of a progress bar on a computer screen has been classified by the European Patent Office as a "computer-implemented invention". How did they do that? They determined that a progress bar makes more efficient use of the limited space on a computer screen. By classifying a computer monitor as a technical device, the progress bar all of a sudden becomes a monitor-related technical invention like an invention that optimizes the sharpness of a liquid crystal display.

"There are no Americans in Baghdad."
Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Information Minister
The whole software patent debate in the EU is all about whether or not to define clearly what a "technical" invention is, and what is not. Those who want software patents don't say what they want. All they do is that they obstruct and oppose any solution that would provide clarity in the patent legislation. They don't demand a legalization of software patents that would be clearly expressed. Instead, they push for a legislation with strategically placed loopholes that open the floodgates to software patents and make 30,000 existing EPO software patents enforceable.

So watch out when people tell you that they only want "technical" inventions to be patented. That's said by everyone. The key question is then whether they push for absolutely waterproof legislation that leaves no doubt that a progress bar is not a "technical" invention.

Click here to read about the lie that more patents stood for more innovation



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