Prior art can work in the EU
Posted Sep 24, 2006 23:27 UTC (Sun) by dps
Parent article: Prior art won't solve the software patent problem (NewsForge)
At least in th EU prior art can be powerful. In one case for the price of a few airfares a small non-profit managed to get a patent application backed by a huge multinational and the US government rejected due to prior art. (This was a biotechnology patent but that is beside the point.)
Last time I heard about it people have worked around software patents not being allowed by patenting a conputing device operating the algorithm. If someone then tried a microchip or different computer implementing the same alogrithm then they could except a lawsuit unless they licenced the patent.
I would agree with the veiw that the most beariful algorithms are mathematics and therefore should not be patentbale, period. In the real world this might not win the day, so at least ensuring patents really are non-obvious would help. This would make it less likely programmers tread on them IMHO :-)
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