Linux Journal: Recapping Parliamentary Meeting on Patents in the Netherlands

A parliamentary committee in the Netherlands has decided to
oppose business methods patents entirely, and to also oppose
software patents unless proponents can meet several difficult,
possibly unattainable, conditions.
Following a proposal
suggested by Rik Hindriks of the Dutch Labor Party, the
pro-software-patent Federation of Dutch IT companies, FENIT and the
anti-software-patent Dutch Open Source Association will have to
work together on a plan to prevent trivial patents from issuing. If
they cannot come up with one, the Netherlands will oppose software
patents in Europe entirely, rather than set off a US-style software
patent crisis.”

“FENIT claims that software patents will enable innovation, and
VOSN claims that they will restrict the evolution of software.
After gathering information and doing some own research, the
committee found that the Netherlands would vote in favor of
software patents in Europe only if restrictive conditions can be
met. These conditions should exclude very obvious and trivial
patents. Each patent would have to be researched for bringing
something really new to market, which is required now as well, but
is not done currently. The holders of 30,000 existing
software-related patents would have to refile.”

“A European patent treaty dating from 1973 explicitly excludes
patents on software. Since then, however, the European Patent
Office has granted around 30,000 alleged software patents. A
prominent example is IBM’s patent EP0644483, which describes how a
computer can run multiple processes at the same time —
multitasking. (The patent dates from after the introduction of


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