Software patents: Letter of Donald Knuth

Gerrit Muller gerrit.muller at philips.com
Wed Aug 7 16:16:02 CEST 2002


| Mark,
|
|
| Mark McEahern wrote:
| > > Software patents threaten teh development of open software, such
as
| > > our excellent Python language. Donald Knuth has written a very
| > > clear and impressive letter to the U.S. Patent Office:
| > > http://lpf.ai.mit.edu/Patents/knuth-to-pto.txt
| >
| > Anybody know the date of this?
| >
| > // m
| >
-http://www.pluto.linux.it/meeting/meeting1999/atti/no-patents/brevetti/docs/knuth_letter_en.html

| I looked also for the date, but couldn't find it. The link was posted
| on an internal newsgroup. The patent threat sofar is only worsening,
| situation in Europe isn't bright either.
|
| regards Gerrit

I verified with my source, who replied that the message is presumably
from 1994 and contains additional information, see the original reply
below.

regards Gerrit

---original reply--- 

Lijkt erop dat Knuth het in february 1994 heeft geschreven.

Ik had het ook even op de innersource-licensing newsgroup gepost en daar 
kwam de volgende respons van Arnoud Engelfriet (Philips IP&S' expert op 
't gebeid van GPL en Open Source):

On Wednesday 07 August 2002 14:55, Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:
| Auke,
|
| Thanks for the pointer. It is unfortunate, however that he sent it to
| the USPTO. The U.S. Patents and Trademark office does not make policy
| decisions like what is and is not patentable. This is the territory of
| Congress and the U.S. courts. The latter have said that "anything
under
| the sun that is made by man" is patentable in the early '90s, and
| confirmed that in 1999 by saying that anything whatsoever is
patentable
| as long as it produces a "useful, concrete and tangible result".
|
| I've seen several statements from the director of the USPTO to the
fact
| that he regrets these decisions and would like to have a more
| restrictive policy. However, he's not in a position to make such a
| policy. Knuth should start lobbying Congress to get patent law
changed.
|
| Kind regards,
|
| Arnoud Engelfriet
| Patent Attorney
|
| Philips Intellectual Property & Standards
| Prof.Holstlaan 6, Bldg. WAH 1-004, 5656 AA Eindhoven, The Netherlands
| PO Box 220, 5600 AE Eindhoven, The Netherlands
| Phone: + 31 40 27 45261, Fax: +31 40 27 43489
| E-mail: Arnoud.Engelfriet at philips.com
| Web-site: http://pww.nl.ips.philips.com/


-- 
Auke Jilderda
Philips Research, Prof. Holstlaan 4, 5656 AA Eindhoven, The Netherlands
mailto:auke.jilderda at philips.com, phone: +31 40 2744791
PGP 0x88583DDF, http://pww.innersource.philips.com/


Gerrit Muller                Philips Research Laboratories Eindhoven
Building:   WDC 2 - 007              Prof. Holstlaan 4
Phone: +31 40 27 45242               5656 AA  Eindhoven
Fax:   +31 40 27 45033               The Netherlands
mailto:gerrit.muller at philips.com
http://www.extra.research.philips.com/natlab/sysarch/index.html



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