Information Process Patents in the U.S. and Europe

Information Process Patents in the U.S. and Europe

Post by Monty Solomo » Wed, 19 Mar 2003 22:47:19

Information process patents in the U.S. and Europe: Policy avoidance
and policy divergence

by Brian Kahin


Patents on software and business methods appear to have a pivotal
position in today's economy, yet they have remained a policy backwater
in which scope of patentable subject matter has expanded without
legislative input. This is changing as Europe struggles with patent
reform. A push by the European Commission to validate and promote
software patents has been opposed by many companies and professionals,
and especially the open source community. In this process, it has
become clear that Europe opposes the broad non-technical patents on
business methods that are now available in the U.S., signaling a major
rift in international standards of patentability.

Recent hearings held by competition agencies in the U.S. show severe
problems of overpatenting that extend beyond software to much of the
ICT sector. These problems have been ignored by the Commission, which
despite a pro forma effort to address economic issues, clearly feels
more comfortable framing the issue in legal terms. In outlining what a
properly developed policy framework would look like, the paper
stresses the need to understand why software is different from other
technologies, why the disclosure function of the patent system is
failing, the build-up of risk and uncertainty and its effect on
industry structure, and the international political economy of
information process patents.


1. Looking for W. H. Chen, inventor of U.S. Patent 4,698,672.

Re:     "Scene Adaptive Coder," IEEE Transactions on Communications,
Vol. Com. 32, No. 3, March 1984

Dear Mr. Chen:

I am a researcher on computer related technologies and my research
trail has led me to an article you co-authored.  The article is
entitled "Scene Adaptive Coder" from the March 1984 IEEE Transactions
on Communications journal.

Your article was very intuitive and is instructive for my research
objectives.  I am interested in finding out whether it would be
possible for you to answer some questions that I have concerning the
technology discussed in your article.  I am particularly interested in
the VLC (variable length code) technology mentioned therein.

If you could answer my questions concerning your article, it would be
greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your consideration.

                                Very truly yours,
                                JAGTIANI & ASSOCIATES

                                Jonathan Bowser

Sent via
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