Tuesday, December 28, 2004

IDG News on patents

from Marc Ferranti of IDG News on Dec. 28, 2004:

-->The turmoil over ratifying the European Union's patent directive has exposed the fear and confusion surrounding the concept of ownership of intellectual property. As originally proposed by the European Commission, the directive would allow software patents. But subsequent versions by the European Parliament were changed to disallow software patents, and just before the end of the year it became apparent that a vote in another legislative body, the Council of Ministers, would be postponed, apparently because political pressure had smashed a consensus about which version to ratify.

For the most part, large corporations are for patents and open source advocates and smaller companies, which have fewer resources to deal with patent issues, are against them. The issue, however, has even large American companies concerned. A loose consortium of large U.S. companies was reported to be seriously considering buying Web services patents auctioned off by bankrupt software company Commerce One, for example, in order to ward off potential legal problems.<--

Large companies are for increased predictability in business. That is why they generally ENDORSED the absolute bar of Festo (which curtailed patent rights), even though they are the ones that have the most patents. Further, in cases such as Eolas v. Microsoft, it is the big company that is the defendant. See also Acacia. The consortium of large companies did not buy the Commerce One patents; an entity about which there is little knowledge did buy the Commerce One patents (see earlier posts on IPBiz).


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