Software patents

Graham Todd grahamtodd2 at
Tue Nov 10 09:21:43 GMT 2009

On Mon, 9 Nov 2009 21:10:21 -0600
"Samuel Thurston, III" <sam.thurston at> uttered these words:

> You personally? Probably not.  Software licensing is governed by
> copyright rather than patent. 

In my jurisdiction (the UK), they are covered by the same legislation,
but are treated as different entities.  The EU has rules over how
patents are adopted and these rules are binding on member countries
(such as the UK).

We have domestic legislation which adheres to the minimum requirements
of the Berne Convention, the European Parliament Directive on
Copyright, and the copyright requirements of the World Trade
Organisation.  These Directives, conventions and domestic legislation
concern copyright, not patents.

So, for the UK, go to this site:

But, in respect of Microsoft, it might be worth mentioning I am
supporting the new Directive which is awaiting Parliamentary approval,
as follows:

"It has long been suspected that many companies will take out patents
not to protect an "innovation", but purely to place an obstacle in the
path of their competitors. There are many examples of this, which is
surely an abuse of the patent process. But again surprisingly, the
original directive made no mention or accomodation for this, even
though the right to author interoperable software has long been upheld
in European law (such as the directive on copyright).

This amended directive contains a clause which specifically permits
interoperability in software. This is extremely important: it means
that patents can only be used to protect innovation, a defensive
measure. They are not allowed as offensive tools to be used against
your competitors."

Graham Todd
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