[ANSOL-geral]artigo interessante sobre as Patentes na UE

Ricardo Jorge Godinho Nunes rjgn arroba netc.pt
Tue Aug 5 19:17:02 2003

Hash: SHA1

COLUMN: Patent law threatens free software Doug Winter, July 28 2003

A proposal is before the European Parliament that would allow patenting of
software, a potential disaster for the European software industry, and
particularly for Free Software ..

It is a common refrain in this country that the European Union is prone to
enacting strange and harmful laws that, if only they listened to the
common-sense Brits, would be avoided.

It is perhaps ironic then to note that it is an English MEP, Arlene
McCarthy who is championing one of the more harmful bits of leglislation
to come before the European Parliament in recent times.

This bit of legislation goes by the snappy title Proposal To Make All
Useful Ideas Patentable.

A patent provides, for a fee, a limited monopoly on an idea. Patents were
created in this form to try and ensure that individual inventors were able
to profit from their ideas in the marketplace.

In a sense patents are similar to copyrights, however a copyright applies
to a specific individal piece of work, whereas a patent applies to an
- -
..  Many large software companies now spend a significant amount on
defending themselves from patent infringement lawsuits. Often they are
able to show that the claimed patent is in fact unoriginal - it should
never have been allowed to be patented in the first place. Unfortunately
it can cost many millions of dollars to get this far. -

..In the United States patentors have been sueing small companies
precisely because they are unable to defend themselves. Once they win in
court, this strengthens their patent claims considerably allowing them to
go after much larger, and richer, companies. -

.. as Free Software such as Linux makes real inroads into corporations I
think it is inevitable that a significant patent case involving Free
Software will occur.
- -

.. Europeans spend billions of dollars a year on Microsoft software, but
this is now beginning to change. Many governments and some large companies
are moving to Free Software, often written within Europe and with support
going to local small businesses.

Doug Winter is CTO of internet publishing company ICP Europe. He
previously worked at the BBC on technical operations; Systems Integrator
Ioko365, heading up a number of software development and facilities
projects; and at Scientific Games working on, among other projects, the
National Lottery.

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