Feeds

Eurolinux goes ballistic over Euro patent ‘coup’

EPO totally out of control...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The Eurolinux Alliance has called for the sacking of the board of the European Patent Office, following what it describes as a "juridical coup" mounted by the Munich-based outfit. The "coup" takes the form of a new EPO examination directive which effectively extends patents "to software, business methods and mathematics... and for the first time officially sanctions direct patent claims to 'computer program products' and 'computer programs'."

The amendments were made, according to the EPO, "to bring the Guidelines into line with EPO board of appeal case law concerning the patentability of business methods and computer-related inventions and with current EPO practice on examining such subject-matter." But according to Eurolinux they effectively pre-empt an EU decision on the patentability of software. They cover computer programs as "computer-implementable inventions" and allow programs to be patented where they have a "further technical effect". And how many programs do not?

The EPO was never going to be flavour of the week at Eurolinux anyway, but this little piece of manoeuvring has triggered a full-scale explosion. It "constitutes an assault on democracy in Europe and a provocation against European governments, which... had decided to preserve the exclusion of computer programs from patentability." It is "a violation of article 22 of the European Patent Convention."

The EPO "has extended the realm of patentability through decisions of low-level appeal courts. The European Patent Office has tried to circumvent the democratic control of European Governments through adventurous [nice turn of phrase] administrative processes. The European Patent Office ignores its ruling authorities... The European Patent Office scorns the 80% of software companies who are against software patents..."

So... Eurolinux demands that the EPO be made to act in "a controllable and sensible way." But as "control and common sense do not seem to be appropriate terms for the current behaviour of the European Patent Office," governments should make it clear that the EPO's granting of patents on computer programs and "immaterial innovations" is legally questionable, and "does not correspond to governmental public policy goals."

Governments should sack the current board and appoint a war crimes tribunal (we made that bit up) "to investigate its responsibility for repeated violations of the European Patent Convention, contempt for the legislative process and public interest." Tumbrils all round... ®

Related Links:
Federation for a Free Information Infrastructure
Eurolinux Alliance
Enigmatic but significant EPO press release

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.