Software patents

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Discussion of general topics related to the new release and its place in the world. Don't discuss new features, report bugs, ask for support, et cetera. Don't use this to spam for other boards or attack those boards!
BioALIEN
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Posts: 120
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:46 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Software patents

Post by BioALIEN »

Uhhh, I believe that is illegal, in many ways actually. Either way, it's probbaaly just a scam(uhhh, continuing illegal)....and if it isn't and he actually does kill/eat the bunny, then the next course of his action should be to make sure I do not get any info on where I can find him.
If you read around the site and its legal status its totally within the law. That rabbit is HIS property. People eat rabbits everyday. He stated he'll take it to a butcher and have it slaughtered in a "humane" way. :?

It is not a scam, PayPal has already shut down his account but he's migrating to another company to proccess payments. And to prove it is legal and not breaking any rules, the hosters and domain providers (http://www.GoDaddy.com" target="_blank) are siding with this person. You can read the owner of GoDaddy's blog here:
http://www.bobparsons.com" target="_blank


Sick person but in a way, a genious at making money through people's emotions.
BioALIEN
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The moment you master the art of programming is the moment you program the art itself! - BioALIEN
kieroth_whiteleaf
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Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 7:23 pm

Re: Software patents

Post by kieroth_whiteleaf »

I'm not sure about european law, but here's the deal with american law:

Patent typically falls under civil suits, and in a civil suit if you can get 12 people (the jury) to agree with you, you win.

I could technically sue a friend for being a jerk, and if I could build a strong enough case to where the jury believes me I would win (scary, stupid, but true).

TYPICALLY, case law shows that patents are upheld except in situations such as what is being referred to as "prior art" here - I don't think that's the term in the states but it's something along those lines. However, given that microsoft, apple and dozens of other software publishers have been using elements like tabs for decades the odds of successful litigation (at least here in the states) would be pretty slim.

IF EU law is similar to american law, the smartest thing for phpbb (the group of people, not the product) would be to form a corporation (call it phpbb corporation) and make phpbb an asset of the corporation - in the states you would have to sue the party responsible for breaking the patent (ie. phpbb corporation). With a corporation the individual board members can't be sued for personal assets, so the EVEN IF phpbb lost a patent case, the MOST a company could win is the complete assets of the phpbb corporation - since y'all don't accept donations, my understanding is that number would be $0 and the ownership of an opensource piece of software that due to the license COULDN'T be converted to a non-opensource project, at least the code up to the point when the license was transferred.

However - that all presupposes that EU law is similar enough that the american system would translate. I'm not sure that it does.

As a general rule (but often enough broken, so PLEASE don't send me exceptions, I could probably list more than you could ;) ) laws of common sense generally apply with this kind of litigation. That's not something you can count on, but it's USUALLY true.

SFG
Dunvallo
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:55 pm

Re: Software patents

Post by Dunvallo »

You are quite right, it may be very difficult to sue people developing open source applications (at least, if these open source applications are not in the way of big companies and they are not willing to invest a big deal of money). Especially since EU courts seem to apply common sense more often than the ones in the US (at least it seems so from an european perspective ;) ).

However, it may not be necessary to sue everybody to get them to cease and desist. The fear of being sued and risking going to jail may be enough to stop them from developing. That’s what I’m afraid of. It may be possible founding a cooperation as you suggested, but this will likely be too much of an effort for small projects. Something like Mozilla will likely be able to protect itself, but a small group will have a coice of either getting a big administrative overhead (maintaining a company, especially one that does not make any profit, is some paperwork) or continue their risk of being sued. That might get them to stop working on that project altogether.

Also the European patent office seems incompetent to get accurate information for judging the “prior art” thing. Patents were allowed that definitely should not have been. I do not know what people are working there, but they obviously do not have a clue of what they are talking about.

Part of a survey made in Germany about the risks for IT companies through software patents were published some time ago. It says that 60% of the companies asked fear the end of their business by software patents. I'm not sure if slashdot reported about that, but the German site http://www.heise.de" target="_blank did...
http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/57615" target="_blank
Sadysta
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Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 8:17 am
Location: Warsaw, Poland
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Re: Software patents

Post by Sadysta »

Jeez... a lot of bunnies get killed every single day. That's stupid to accuse this guy or to threaten him. Probably the best thing we can do is to envy him his great idea for earning money :)

As to the software patents, I don't think they're going to kill Open Source software. They're just going to push it back to the underground.
http://sadysta.ath.cx" target="_blank - information without censorship
q3utom
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Location: folkestone, kent, uk
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Re: Software patents

Post by q3utom »

TBH the EU may fall in on itself if the French reject the EU constitution so we won't have to worry then ;)
MercAngel
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:46 am

Re: Software patents

Post by MercAngel »

ok let the EU pass the law and then next thing you know Microsoft will own all software lol but some thing like that will happen
Ybarra
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Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2003 3:12 am

Re: Software patents

Post by Ybarra »

It may be possible founding a cooperation as you suggested, but this will likely be too much of an effort for small projects.
I disagree. Setting up a corporation is as easy as paying a relatively small fee ($100ish US) and signing a piece of paper. After all: A corporation is simply a piece of paper sitting in a file cabinet. I am majority owner of a corporation. Set it up at the age of 21 to enclose several properties that I gained through inheritance. It took an hour of work and a few weeks of processing...not counting several months of research on my part :).

I'm all for patenting entire software applications. Patenting things like "tabs" is assinine. "Tabbed browsing" is a simple concept that can be implemented in several ways. Patenting the idea of "tabbed browsing" is akin to patenting any idea, I guess...but if that can be patented, then I'm going to apply for patents for several "ideas" I've had, using prototypes I coded in VB.Net.
Since such simple things like tabs (you know, the things your webbrowser and the "display" property dialog of your windows version has) ARE patented, everything might be patented and will be soon if it is not now. To be clear: This patent about tabs is granted, so it will become active as soon as there is a legal foundation to it. And it can only be invalidated by someone filing a protest in a court and saying that tabs are standard in the computer world since windows 95.
'
If this all goes so far as to include design elements like using tab-like images as hotspots to hide and unhide information in a UI, then EU is in for some serious problems. Patenting applications is great. Patenting simple design elements is akin to me patenting a random phrase I posted on a message board.
Magnotta
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Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 12:49 am

Re: Software patents

Post by Magnotta »

MercAngel wrote: ok let the EU pass the law and then next thing you know Microsoft will own all software lol but some thing like that will happen
Actually no, amazingly enough if this could take things as far as someone being able to patent the idea of a messege board, then MS would have to make a lot of changes to Windows, because there's plenty of things then that Mac could patent. But then again it makes no difference anyways, because MS is an American company, in America, and therefore what Europe decides wont effect them.
kieroth_whiteleaf
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 7:23 pm

Re: Software patents

Post by kieroth_whiteleaf »

Making it easier -

Depending on the state (in the US corporations are controlled by the state rather than federal) phpBB could actually file as an NPO (nonprofit corp) and it's less than $50 (IIRC Washington state is $40). They'd have to fill out tax papers every year (zero them out) and that'd be about it if they did their initial filings proper.

I don't know for certain whether a non-citizen can start a corp in the states, but it's something they may want to consider. As far as I know there's no specific law against it, but I'd be surprised if the charter got approved.

SFG
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the_dan
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Re: Software patents

Post by the_dan »

Magnotta wrote: and if it isn't and he actually does kill/eat the bunny, then the next course of his action should be to make sure I do not get any info on where I can find him.
I hope you eat no meat whatsoever, and most certainly don't use products (and at all, drugs included) that are tested on animals.
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