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Re: libdts patent issue?

MJ Ray wrote:
> Arnoud Engelfriet <galactus@stack.nl> wrote:
> > The law says so: articles 52(2) and (3) EPC.
> > http://www.european-patent-office.org/legal/epc/e/ar52.html
> If the EPO is an artefact of the EPC, it can't be "the people
> who wrote that law" so why is EPO reinterpreting the EPC?

Because the EPC tells them to. The examiners approve or reject
patent applications, and if you're not satisfied (or if you
try to oppose a patent and lose) you can appeal. In appeal
the boards rely on the EPC and the EPC alone to decide whether
the case is to be upheld or not.

And if the boards disagree or have a question of law on the EPC,
they refer it to the enlarged board (sort of like an "en banc"
hearing in the USA).

> Is it actually known whether the drafters meant the claimed
> "you can patent maths as part of a machine" view rather
> than the "maths is not patentable" from the UK Patent Act?

Not really. The fact that they didn't exclude "mathematical
methods" but only "mathematical methods as such" suggests they
had something like that in mind. Otherwise why add "as such"?

Keith Beresford [1] has dived into the history of the EPC. In
his book I see that the earliest drafts did not even mention
computer programs or mathematical methods. And when maths does
appear, it's as "mathematical THEORIES as such" (emphasis mine).

Later "computer programs" did appear in the list of exclusions,
with lots of debate about how far this should go. The most
frequently heard objection was that "items which were traditionally
patentable should not be excluded merely because they contained
computer programs."

The British did oppose allowing patents on computer programs,
as they felt it was too early to say whether patents or copyright
was the best regime. And there was still talk of a separate
regime for protection of software.

[1] http://swpat.ffii.org/papers/beresford00/index.en.html


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

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