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Official statement of Philips on the election of the Philips-patent EP249293 to be the "Software patent of the Month" in March 2006:

Philips proud to be nominated for nosoftwarepatents-award.de

Philips feels honoured that patent EP249293 has been nominated for the nosoftwarepatent-award, because it is indeed NOT a Software Patent. The patent describes a technical invention to make display devices like interactive televisions and computers easier to use. The patented invention uses software to get a technical result but the invention itself is not software as such.

In the 19 years history of the patent Philips never denied anyone the use of this invention. Back in the eighties, when Philips was already active in the display and consumers electronics business, Philips inventor David Clark worked on a prototype home computer system called "View Point". The invention arose over some four years from work on this and related projects. The invention should be seen in the light of Philips efforts to develop products that make life easier for people. When Philips filed for the patent in 1987, a technology to create easy-to-use pop-out menus, appearing at the spot where you click, was very innovative and a huge improvement for users. Nowadays, many applications use this technology. In the 19 years history of the patent Philips never denied anyone the use of this invention.

2.5 billion Euros in R&D and a work force of 18.000 inventors. With a yearly investment of 2.5 billion Euros in research and development and a work force of 18.000 inventors, we use our intellectual property to create benefit for society, value for the company and to allow us to make a reasonable return on our huge investment in innovation. To support our product businesses we use our patents in various ways. Sometimes, we use patents to protect our own innovative products. Often, we share our knowledge through licensing or we exchange our patents with others. In some specific fields we even make our patents available for free. For example, we are involved in Open Invention Network, a company founded by Philips, Red Hat, Novell, IBM and Sony. The major goal of Open Invention Network is to create a patent free eco-system for users of the Linux operating system. It stimulates the software community to improve the Linux operating system and to develop software applications for this platform.

Philips: Quality of patents should improve. Philips is actively working on proposals to improve the quality of patents granted by the European Patent Office. Although we believe that the European patent system is of a higher quality than other systems in the world, Philips wants to "raise the bar" in order to make sure that only new inventions with a real basis in technology, such as patent EP249293, can be patented. Philips has repeatedly communicated that it is not in favor of changing the current practice in Europe that software as such is not patentable.

Main claims relate to display apparatus and not to a menu. Filed in 1987 the patent was granted in 1994 after thorough examinations. Contrary to what is mentioned on www.nosoftwarepatents-award.com, the claim "The user earmarks any spot....a menu shows up" is not part of the patent as finally granted. The three claims of the granted patent relate to a "display apparatus" and not to a menu or a software program. So the comments on www.nosoftwarepatents-award.com are directed to non-existing patent claims.