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Re: [LUG] Open Source and EU patent law
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Rick Timmis wrote:
> There are legal fee's associated with patent applications. How would a
> voluntary community fund this ?
You don't need to patent if you can demonstrate prior work in the field
Although I think there are some patents owned by free software people,
in some cases to show how pointless the US patent system is.
> Once the Patent is in place Major Corp can then give OS Developer
> community a right good kicking. As OS Dev's are recognised as
> individuals rather than a company body, then which individual would
> actually attempt to make a release of their software ? As this would
> expose them to instant prosecution.
We've already seen some issues with MP3's with the major distros pulling
MP3 players to avoid owing royalties on the patents involved.
> Additonally this could allow Major Corps to financially destroy OS
> Companies such as SuSe and RH and god forbid Debian. Such Major Corps
> could sap the funds from these smaller companies via complex legal
I don't think this is the biggest threat to Linux, and to an extent it
happens already due to the situation in the US.
The big threat comes from protocols and formats, where the Free Software
world just won't compete, because the format uses a patented algorithmn,
and so the software can never (well 15 years) be free of the
restrictions the patentee places on that algorithmn. So whole areas of
software may be proprietary only, and not just because no one has
reverse engineered it and written a clean room implemetation.
As for small software companies, well the patent stuff supposedly
protecting them will mean they will typically get done over in cross
licencing deals... the big boys saying your patented killer application
X violates our patents Y, and Z, so unless you allow us to licence X we
shut you down with an injunction.
Not sure about a meeting, but some discussion, and a letter from the
group might be a good idea.
I think similar issues apply to protections offered under the EU
copyright directive, although that is with our parliament, not Europes,
or will be if the patent office can ever decide how to define an "on
demand" service, or whatever changes they are planning to the
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