Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Patents Run Amok

Caught this article on LinuxToday (the best central news source for the Revolutionary Movement) about Microsoft's future plans for patents. An HP exec has realized that MS plans to try and choke off the open source movement by patenting, well, everything, and then using the resulting patents to shut down open source projects.

At this point I can just hear thousands of open sourcers jumping up and down and saying "I told you so!" I still haven't figured out the state of patent law in Europe -- the system the EU operates under seems kind of kooky, because the lines of accountability aren't very clear. At least not to me. There is a group trying to fight expansion of EU patent law to bring it "in line" with U.S. patent law (i.e. allow software algorithms and business methods to be patented, instead of just things realized in physical hardware). Unforunately the same lack of accountability I see is styming them as well; it appears that they brought this up to their MPs, and their MPs brought it up in the EU parliament, and parliament just got... ignored.

Perhaps people are still feeling their way around in the EU, but I know in the U.S., Congress gets mighty ticked when they think you're not paying attention to them.

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