Archive for February 16th, 2007

software patents

Friday, February 16th, 2007


(nice caustics in a used cup)

Unfortunately I couldnt find the article of a german math professor (in I think it was the DMV Mitteilungen) who was decribing a patent trial in which he was an expert. Although in his view the patent in the trial basically described the Gauss-Newton Algorithm it was still issued.

This is one of the reasons, why software patents are absurd. Most parts of a software are simply speaking pure mathematics. So issuing software patents means more or less to try “to patent mathematics” – i.e. patenting a discipline which had been living for centuries on the free exchange of ideas. No mathematician would claim that the use of a published result would be a “theft of intellectual property”, if he/she is cited correctly. Mathematics is precious but free.

Another reason, why patenting software is absurd is that this actually rather obstructs technological progress – e.g. see the example of the patent discussions about the mpeg standard. Software patents are bad for open source projects and likewise for small to midsize companies, who do not have the money to fight for patent rights. And a lot of sofar issued patents are just ridiculous.

For these or similar reasons the german business community is now also supported by the Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL) and the patentverein in their protest against the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) which is seen as a problem concerning software patents and which will be under investigation on monday by the EU council for competetiveness. Unfortunately the german minister for justice seems to be in favour for the EPLA.

via heise news

->sign the petition against software patents