Subject Re: [Firebird-Architect] Another Model for Database Events - Email found in subject - Email found in subject
Author Paul Ruizendaal
I guess the 17/20 year term is relevant to the US only, and even there it
may change: in its current session the US supreme court is ruling "in re
Bilski", which might change US law.

I'm not a patent lawyer, but my understanding is that software patents are
currently unenforcible in the EU, as "programs for computers" are
specifically excluded in the European Patent Covention. There was a push to
change the treaty in 2003, but that effort ground to a halt under popular
opposition. Software patents are being applied for and granted (under the
"method and apparatus" loophole, patenting the computer and the software
together), but as far as I know, no patent holder has dared litigate this
to the European Court of Justice. The anti-patent movement has also
refrained from litigating to the end; I suppose that both sides can live
with the status quo and neither wants to risk an adverse ruling.

So - in my perception - there is in the EU now a dual system: large
corporations apply for patents, do patent swaps with competitors, and all
the things patent people do, and there are the small ISV's who happily
ignore software patents as illegal and unenforcible.

The debate in the EU in 2003 was about the difference between general
software (eg. a word processor) and software tied to a physical invention
(eg. software in a new anti-lock breaking system for cars). This is the
same debate as the "machine or transformation test" that is at the core of
In re Bilski. The debate ground to a halt because no definition could be
found that satisfied both camps.

In the 21st century most software will probably come out of China, India,
Russia, Brazil, etc. Anybody on this list familiar with the legality of
software patents in those jurisdictions?

For good order sake, I'm not interested in a pro/con debate (this list
would be the wrong place for that), just in what the law currently is in
each country.