[Linux-aus] Fwd: Software patents can be fun

Arjen Lentz arjen at mysql.com
Tue Jul 6 08:35:02 UTC 2004

(from one of my German colleagues)

In Germany, number plates of cars are coded so that the first one to
three characters of the code indicate the city where the car is
registered. If you would store that part of the code in a database, this
would allow for geographical searches. To find car owners registered in
Berlin, you would, for example, issue:
  SELECT name,street FROM db WHERE local_part_of_plate_number = 'B';
If you think that's trivial SQL, then  you will probably not be aware
that searches like these are patented in the European Union (EU).

As an SQL statement like the above would probably not even be patentable
in the United States, the inventor "wrapped" his invention in a
technical environment so that it becomes a hardware/software
combination, which is patentable in the EU. In his patent specification,
he describes in detail a hardware system that would be suited to perform
his patented search. That description fills a couple of pages in German,
English, and French, and in case someone might read it and wonder how
such a system would actually look like, the inventor attached a neat
drawing of that system.

Obviously, the patent officers had never seen such a system before, and
granted the patent. Scroll down to page 6 of the following document and


[end of forwarded msg]

Arjen Lentz, Technical Writer, Trainer
Brisbane, QLD Australia
MySQL AB, www.mysql.com

Melbourne 16 Aug 2004 (5 days): Using & Managing MySQL Training
Training,Support,Licenses,T-shirts @ https://order.mysql.com/?ref=marl

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