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Wired: Euro Penguins Fight Patents

Jul 25, 2000, 15:40 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michelle Delio)

"Jürgen Siepman, attorney and legal adviser of Linux-Verband, a German association that represents numerous Linux companies, is accusing the European Patent Office of inventing its own rules in order to grant more software-related patents. Siepman points out that more than 75 percent of the approved patents were filed by non-European companies."

"European patent law is now defined by Article 52 of the Munich Convention, which specifically forbids patents on computer software. But patents can be granted for software that is an integral part of a new machine, if the software -- such as an operating system -- controls the functions of that machine."

"To a patent lawyer, that's a mighty big loophole. So the European Patent Office has recently granted more than 10,000 patents on a "method or device which includes programs." Pilch Hartmut of the EuroLinux Alliance argues that many of those patents were granted for what are actually generic computers, in order to actually patent the software contained on those machines. The European Commission is also considering revising the law to allow software patents."

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