Subject Re: [IB-Architect] Intellectual Property and the Architecture List
Author Helen Borrie
At 03:33 PM 15-06-00 +1000, you wrote:

>A minor side issue on one of Helen's points: I don't see how software
>patents harm anyone outside of the USA. A software patent is
>unenforceable outside the USA, but the information about the algorithm
>must be made public. Surely more information is better than less? The
>crypto issues are to do with export controls and whether or not a
>cryptographic algorithm is patented or not doesn't tend to cause
>problems outside the USA.
>Jan Mikkelsen

Oh yes it does! Software is by very nature a commodity that knows no
international boundaries. However, thanks to US patents legislation, which
flies in the face of international copyright, one is required to file US
patents, regardless of where one lives, in order to be protected from
piracy from within the US. Otherwise, an American can get hold of your
architecture (e.g. through reading a White Paper, or having your source
code), alter enough of the code to escape American copyright constraints (a
numbers game) and file a patent for your scheme. Translating the core code
into a different source language would be more than sufficient to beat US
copyright constraints.

The cost of filing US patents from outside the US is an enormous, up-front
cost and takes years; so, to us, it's a "might is right"
situation. Equity and justice simply don't enter into it. IMO, it's the
greatest possible disincentive to Open Source.

"Ask not what your free, open-source database can do for you,
but what you can do for your free, open-source database."