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Re: Ian's DFSG2 would harm Debian and Free Software

On Thu, 3 Dec 1998, Joseph Carter wrote:

> On Fri, Dec 04, 1998 at 12:19:23AM +0100, Jens Ritter wrote:
> > In Germany it is generally impossible to patent software.
> mpeg1, audio layer 3.

AFAIK they only tried to enforce it outside of Germany. Note that a patent
has to be issued in every country you want it to hold. I doubt they
have a software patent here in Germany.

Unfortunately the European Union might make software patents possible 
here  soon...

Also note that I wrote "generally". It is possible though that
they made chips which do mp3 encoding, these are patentable. If this
extends to the algorithms and software, I don't know.

There is a exemption rule for software in law. 

An example for where software is patentable in German, see my posting on
(--- this is why I repeat it here):

I will try to translate excerpts of an article run in Physikalische
Blaetter 9/1998 (PP 803 ff) --- the german original is appended at the

speaking about german patent law:

"[...] A discovery is a realization without technical instructions, so
lacks the properties of an invention. The same concept is applied by
law makers to computerprograms, which earlier have been seen
as non technical instructions for the human mind and protectable only
by copyright. The german copyright law explicitly declares
computerprograms to be protected as work of speech."

There are certain circumstances under which software is patentable:

accepted was:

"A Roentgen apparatus which is controlled by a data processing unit,
which makes the process optimal in terms of illumination and at the
same time does not overload the X-ray generators."

Rejected was:

"a system and method, with which normal data processing units were
controlled by a program, such that documents were abstracted, stored
and retrieved by using a ruleset."

(note: is is translated from what I would call lawyers german, so I
don't know if I translated it correctly.


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