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Re: Why are software patents wrong?

From: Paul Hovnanian P.E.
Subject: Re: Why are software patents wrong?
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 19:28:17 -0700

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> "Paul Hovnanian P.E." wrote:
> [...]
> > Unlike hardware, there are numerous ways to implement the same function
> > (task) in software. Given a task description ...
> You can't patent a task. You can patent a novel, useful, and non-
> obvious method to achieve it. In the EU, invention must have a
> technical effect (positively affect the ability of a "device" as
> a whole to carry out a technical function) to be patentable under
> the current EPO {case}law (and the upcoming EU patent directive).

OK. If I can't patent a task, but the application of 'software' to
accomplish that task is patentable, then how 'novel', 'useful' and
'non-obvious' does a second software application have to be to escape
coverage of the initial patent? Would an implementation on a different
hardware or OS platform be sufficient? What about writing the
application in a different language? 

This last point is particularly important because we are at a point with
software development tools where the description of the task itself is
sufficient 'software' to build an application. So now the description of
the task IS the software.
Paul Hovnanian
I think you left the stove on.

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