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Re: libdts patent issue?

On 7/21/05, Arnoud Engelfriet <galactus@stack.nl> wrote:
> The example I gave earlier is
> http://legal.european-patent-office.org/dg3/pdf/t950931eu1.pdf
> which is European patent application
> http://v3.espacenet.com/textdoc?IDX=EP0332770
> that was rejected for being a business method as such. And
> if you read the decision, you'll see that there was no way they
> were going to allow this application.

Agreed.  As well they shouldn't have.

> The corresponding US patent US4750121 was allowed without any such
> problem. Claim 1 does not even recite "a computer", only several
> "means" that perform certain steps to a master trust.

The US examiner was clearly not on the ball, and/or not properly
advised as to the significance of State Street.  The PBS Partnership
patent would, I suspect, be tossed out  if litigated in the US,
because there is not a reliable engineering relationship between the
process being followed and the desired outcome.  It's a collection of
organizational tactics, which might represent an effective business
approach, but it's not an invention.

> So in my view, the fact that this kind of difference occurs
> shows that in the US a lot more is patentable than in Europe.

I think that cuts both ways.  Look how long some of the MP3 patents,
first issued in Germany, took to prosecute through the US system -- in
a couple of cases, a decade or so after the German version had issued.
 Although I have not yet correlated against the originals, I would not
be at all surprised to find that the allowed claims of the US versions
are much narrower, judging from the continuations-in-part, abandoned
applications, and all that.

I have yet to see any evidence that persuades me that what is
patentable in the US in some application area is a strict superset of
what is patentable in Europe.

- Michael

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