[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Crypto++ licencing

Jeroen Dekkers wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 19, 2002 at 06:06:59PM -0700, Walter Landry wrote:
> > DSS and IDEA are both patented in Europe, so putting it in non-us
> > won't help.  
> If I'm right, patents on software aren't legal in Europe. Current

That's not entirely accurate. First of all, there is no
uniform European patent law. Every European country has its
own national patent law, and has its own interpretations and 
case law regarding software-related inventions.

Second, "Europe" in this case should be read as "member states
to the European patent convention" or as "countries in the
continent of Europe". The EC has yet to regulate patent law
in this regard. The upcoming directive will establish a common
law - explicitly legalizing the current EPO's interpretation
of article 52 EPC.

> European law (European Patent Convention article 52) says you can't
> patent programs for computers. 

That's not what it says. Article 52(2) provides a list of things that
"in particular" shall not be regarded as inventions (suggesting there
might also be other things that are not inventions).

The scope of the list of 52(2) is reduced by article 52(3) which
states that the provisions of paragraph 2 shall exclude patentability
of the subject-matter or activities referred to therein only to the
extent that an application or a patent relates to such subject-matter
or activities *as such*. Unfortunately, article 52(3) does not explain
what "as such" means, presumably leaving it up to the case law to
provide a workable definition.

> The problem is the EPO (European Patent
> Office) does not obey that law. They exists however, and nobody knows
> how threating they are until you come back from court.

The EPO is interpreting the EPC in one way, and I have
yet to see case law from EPC member states that contravenes
that particular way. Current British and German caselaw
mostly follows the EPO's reasoning. The Dutch patent office
(Octrooiraad) has accepted software patents since 1990
(after the Schakelnetwerk/Switching network case).

> > It sounds like the patent holders are charging to use DSS.  Since it
> > isn't very good anyway, I would recommend just removing it.  IDEA, on
> > the other hand, is a good algorithm, but only free for non-commercial
> > uses.  You could split that out and put that library in non-free.  The
> > rest goes in main.  Speak-freely is in non-free for the same reason.
> I don't see why it fails the DFSG. Patens are only legal in the US,
> why can't it go into non-US/main?

IDEA is also covered by a European patent (since it was 
invented by a Swiss company). 



Arnoud Engelfriet, (almost) Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:  http://www.iusmentis.com/

To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-legal-request@lists.debian.org
with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact listmaster@lists.debian.org

Reply to: