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Old 11-29-2011, 03:28 PM   #1
kartu
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EU Court Adviser Says Software Ideas Can't Be Copyrighted

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U.S. computer software company SAS Institute cannot claim copyright protection for the functions performed by its programs, which have been replicated by a rival, an adviser to Europe's highest court said.
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'If it were accepted that a functionality of a computer program can be protected as such, that would amount to making it possible to monopolize ideas, to the detriment of technological progress and industrial development.'"
Source

On the other hand, "Rectangle with rounded corners" is still safe and Samsung is still banned from selling tablets in Germany.
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:35 PM   #2
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Can't be copyrighted, only patented. Even the most common-sense ideas can and are patented by leeche in obscurity until someone implements it and they begin to collect taxes.
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:36 PM   #3
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^^Lol. Exactly.
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:37 PM   #4
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It's worth noting, however, that this is a non-binding opinion. A definitive judgement will be handed down by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) next year, although I would personally expect that they'll say the same thing - that copyright applies to a program's source code, but not to its functionality. This has always been the accepted legal position in Europe.
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kartu View Post
On the other hand, "Rectangle with rounded corners" is still safe and Samsung is still banned from selling tablets in Germany.
And Amazon can patent 1-click shopping.
(And then license it to Apple, but sue B&N when they do something similiar.)

Patents are for ideas, copyright is for concrete expressions. Design patents seem a confusing mix of the two.

Last edited by murraypaul; 11-29-2011 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 11-29-2011, 07:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kartu View Post

On the other hand, "Rectangle with rounded corners" is still safe and Samsung is still banned from selling tablets in Germany.
You keep repeating this incorrect statement. But of course it's not what the court said. In either Germany or Australia.

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Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post

Patents are for ideas, copyright is for concrete expressions. Design patents seem a confusing mix of the two.
No, you can't patent an idea. Anyone could develop one-click checkout as long as their implementation is different from Amazon's. (Just like anyone could patent a mechanical device that implements the idea as another mechanical device, as long as the implementations are different).

Of course, there may not be a different way of implementing certain ideas, even in software. But it's the implementation that's patented, not the idea.

Last edited by Andrew H.; 11-30-2011 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:16 AM   #7
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Can't be copyrighted, only patented. Even the most common-sense ideas can and are patented by leeche in obscurity until someone implements it and they begin to collect taxes.
Care to name a single software patent granted in EU?

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Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
And Amazon can patent 1-click shopping.
(And then license it to Apple, but sue B&N when they do something similiar.)
In Europe, a patent application on the 1-Click ordering was filed but never granted.

"Gift ordering" patent was granted, then revoked, since "it fell short of meeting the criteria of providing an “inventive step”, as defined in Article 56 of the European Patent Convention (EPC)@ source.


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But of course it's not what the court said.
I didn't check iFanboi interpretation of reality for that fact, I confess. Community design No. 000181607-0001 is quite clear what it is about, though.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:02 AM   #8
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I still find it amazing that Amazon was granted a patent on 1-Click.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:07 AM   #9
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I think the OP's title was somewhat misleading. Copyright protection won't be granted for a specific function --- only for the procedure how the function is being executed. That does make sense. Others have to find new ways. There usually aren't totally new ideas, anyway. Just old ideas applied in new settings.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
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It's worth noting, however, that this is a non-binding opinion.
It's also not any "advisor", it's the official opinion of one of the 8 Advocates General of the ECJ, and while technically non-binding the court follows it in the vast majority of cases (7 out of 8? Something like that.)
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
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I think the OP's title was somewhat misleading. Copyright protection won't be granted for a specific function --- only for the procedure how the function is being executed. That does make sense. Others have to find new ways. There usually aren't totally new ideas, anyway. Just old ideas applied in new settings.
Note the sentence marked bold in the second quote in OP. Note that it is not mentioning type of protection (copyright or patent). Now check what Microsoft has vs Android, as revealed by B&N (that deserves a lot of credit for standing up):



I'm not sure I correctly got what you mean by "how the function is being executed". How does it apply to the patents on the picture above?
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:06 AM   #12
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Take 6,891,551 --- the function is "changing size of selected text area". The way the function is being executed in this case is by dragging handles. That is protected, so they must either pay license fees or find a different way to do it. What is not protected is "changing the size of selected text area". That is what I meant.
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Take 6,891,551 --- the function is "changing size of selected text area". The way the function is being executed in this case is by dragging handles. That is protected, so they must either pay license fees or find a different way to do it. What is not protected is "changing the size of selected text area". That is what I meant.
I see. In my understanding:
1) marked bold is NOT protected in EU, but is protected in US
2) Yves Bot (an advocate-general at the Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (ECJ), mentioned as "advisor" in OP) claims it would harmful to protect it
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:51 AM   #14
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In Europe, a patent application on the 1-Click ordering was filed but never granted.
And in the US it was granted.
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:28 AM   #15
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And in the US it was granted.
Patent law regarding software is different in the US and Europe. In many cases Software is patentable in the US where as in Europe it is not.

Afaik in Europe software protection relies on copyright law, which imo is sufficient.

The software industry is continuing to grow and continue to innovate and research new ideas, there's no need for patents which are supposed to encourage innovation and invention when both are already happening at astounding rates.

In fact, if you ask many developers who's livelihoods are dependant on the protection of their software, they'll argue that patents would only stifle their business rather than protect them. That's certainly echo'd in my thoughts, my sole income is software related.

Last edited by JoeD; 11-30-2011 at 06:32 AM.
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