• Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Posts: 104 from 2009/3/20

    DiskDoctor wrote:
    I think you totally mistake IP issues here.

    Perhaps, I'm not an expert, and by all means I accept corrections, but tbh, you seem equally confused on this. Allow me to explain:


    Software patents and patenting software is not the same thing. First means some patents, covered internationally (mostly, unless some party wants to save on the procedure and patents something locally only), regarding some features to be found in some specific software entity.

    First, there is no such thing as an *international* *software* patent. Let's agree on that. Each applicant has to do it as many times as there are countries -or country coalitions like the EU, which are covered by a single Patent Office. So in essence, a patent in the US -and again we're talking about software patents here, not eg. a patent on LCD technology, which is totally different- is not applicable to the EU, unless the company in question reapplies the patent in the EU Patent Office. What the EU commision wanted to do was to have some kind of agreement between the US and EU patent office so that most/all US software patents are directly valid in the EU as well. I am not an expert but I discussed about this with people who are, but perhaps I still have gotten it wrong.


    Software patent concern some functional part of a software.
    The latter one is a legal way of protection of IP rights against all software solutions, depending on a legal system (ruling). In this very case - right. U.S. protects their software using patents (so called "patenting the algorithms"), whilst the EU chose the way of protecting software via copyright instruments (then software is protected similarirly as a movie or a music in EU). Actually it was ruled by EU Parliament in June 2009, thanks to its President, Jerzy Buzek from Poland.

    What you say seems to agree with what I said earlier. Algorithms and methodologies used in software is what compose a software patent, which is only possible in the US right now. As it is, the EU forbids this kind of patenting software -software copyright which you mentioned is an entirely different thing to a software patent.


    So tu summarize - openoffice isn't much legal in the us since MS Office is patented per se and one cannot "create similar software, having basically all the same features". So in the US, oo violates MS Office. But not in EU while one can make say EU Office which looks and acts the same as MS Office; program's behaviour and looks aren't protected. You cannot make/sell/distribute pirate copies of MS Office though.

    You mentioned OpenOffice. You forget that between large companies there is usually a cross-licensing of patents, so in effect Sun -owners of OpenOffice IP- and MS have most certainly such a deal. It's not *illegal* to distribute, it's just that there is a need for a license agreement. Anyway, the basics of a word processor are hardly an MS patent, they were not the first in the market, after all.


    So if you patent "a feature" (here: Expose), this ruling applies worldwide IMAO. But I'm getting more and more confused on it, the more I study it (I study PG IP now).

    Definitely NOT. The patent of a feature applies *only* to the area of juristiction of the Patent Office -in this case the US Patent Office. For hardware patents there are probably international agreements -and even then enforcement is difficult, eg. see China-, but software patents are so far a US-only thing.
  • »27.01.10 - 18:38
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