European Software Patents: the War is Over

The Software Patents war is finally over, glad open source cluster technology made it possible.

Brussels & Munich, 1st April 2009 — After years of confidential work, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) today announce a radical way to improve software patent quality: Binaries-As-Prior-Art, or BAPA. BAPA combines a database of billions of compiled computer programs (“binaries”) with a powerful Cloud search engine that can find any invention in microseconds.

EPO President Alison Brimelow explains how BAPA will raise patent quality: “rather than searching hand-written prior art, examiners can now search fast because we licensed Amazon’s One-click technology. You upload the patent application and BAPA shows whether or not an invention is new.”

FFII Chief Engineer B.U. Scotty explains how it works: “we use a Just-In-Time Lisp expression parser that maps the binary object code into reverse polish notation. Using a Beowulf cluster of Babelfish we instantly machine translate the Polish into English, German or French, and finally Lojban. We use a fuzzy text mapping algorithm to compare with the patent claim. If the match score is less than 50%, we consider the invention to be original. If the Babelfish turn purple, we consider it to be inventive. When the computer beeps, that is an indication of a technical effect!”

Scotty explains why BAPA is so complex: “every other possible technique was patented. But they forgot to patent, ‘and do it in Polish!'”.

Brimelow is happy with the FFII-EPO collaboration: “after many years of fighting over whether or not software can be patented, we’re happy to say that we can now work with legal certainty. With our superior BAPA system we can accept or deny patent applications directly over the Web. We take all credit cards!”

Benjamin Henrion, President of the FFII, comments: “I think BAPA is a milestone. This puts the EPO way ahead of any technology the Americans can develop. They have Google, but we have Poland. Thank you, Poland!”

Not everyone is pleased. The European Commission was told that project BAPA was about machine translation of community patents. The Free Patent Association (FPA), which advocates Corel/GNU/Linux and the new GPLv4, still maintains that software patents are a “like land mines to programmers” according to its chairman, Richard Stallman. And Pieter Hintjens, former President of the FFII, complains: “all these people are claiming they invented BAPA! It was my idea, years ago, and but Red Hat patented the idea and sold it to the EPO.”

Industry likes the idea. IBM’s John B. Wise, Community and Patents Sourcerer for EMEA says, “IBM has always thought it was bad to blame overworked patent examiners for poor patents. Now we can blame the machines and lousy software!” IBM recently filed its millionth software patent, on “A system and method for representing discrete numerical values using two opposing bits”.

BAPA has already collected the full contents of the Pirate Bay for its prior art database. The public can submit binaries as prior art on the following website: Commodore-64 video games are particularly welcome.

(Source: Digital Majority)