Workshop on "TRIPS Treaty and Computer Programs"

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Workshop Update:

Presentation Slides

Introduction to Computer Programs by Sivasankar Chander

TRIPs Treaty and Computer Programs by K. Ramanraj

Brief Summary

Sivasankar started the discussion with the difficulties involved in testing "program equivalence", giving two short programs, based on the Goldbach conjecture, calling one as the goldbach (about 7 lines) and the other the ghost_of_goldbach (about 3 lines that always returns true). Testing program equivalence is at the heart of any "software patent" infringement suit, and Shiv proved that it is well impossible to scientifically research and conclude that two given programs are equivalent. There are not even any standard rules for scientifically testing and concluding "program equivalence".

Sivasankar holds a B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and has done M.E. in Computer Science, at !IISc., Bangalore. He has worked for IBM, USA., and has presented several papers on computer science, and software development. Well, he is a typical expert who may be called to testify in a "software patent" infringement suit, to "prove" that a given computer program infringes upon a given "software patent". It is apparent that no expert can assert on oath that two programs are "equivalent" or that one is a copy of the other, except when the two are exact copies.

Murali discussed the various business models used by software entities to do business.

Ramanraj basically summarised the recent events that has mostly been discussed at in-parl mailing list; and to enliven the proceedings; took the audience through the recent decision pronounced in Eolas v. Microsoft, to explain how the system works in the US, and asked those present to explore and research the steps that could be taken against the illegitimate practice of "software patents" which are a barrier against free trade.

The Department of Legal Studies, University of Madras, was founded by Prof. Charles Henry Alexandrowicz, in 1952. Dr. N. Balu, a leading expert on International Law, particularly the Law of Seas, and Constitutional Law, now Heads the Department. The Department also has a Chair in Intellectual Property Rights, established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

The Department leads the country in organising the National Rounds of the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition on International Law, and is an active centre for debates touching upon International Law and Constitutional Law. The Department awards the Master of Law degree to candidates who complete its cources on International Law and Constitutional Law. It also conducts courses on Law relating to Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks.

About the Workshop:

The Department of Legal Studies, University of Madras, is organising a workshop on "TRIPS Treaty and Computer Programs", that is tentatively scheduled for 8th April, 2005 (Friday). The one day workshop is intended as an "out-reach programme" for software professionals and students specialising in international law.

The legal aspects of Computer Programs are governed by the TRIPS Treaty. Globalisation, governance, and almost every human activity hinges upon Computer Programs and its legal setting. The workshop will discuss the true nature of computer programs, and the character of rights surrounding them. The harm caused by mis-application of patent law to cover computer programs in some member states of the TRIPS Treaty, notably US and Japan, and the possible remedies against such practices, will also be analysed threadbare.

Contact Info:

If you would be interested in participating in the workshop, could make a sponsorship, or have suggestions to make, please write about it to and

Tentative Schedule:

List of Speakers:

Sivasankar Chander, Chief Architect, Qryptix

M. Murali, Business Practices Division, AU-KBC Research Centre, MIT.

K. Ramanraj, M.L., Advocate, High Court, Madras

Rohit Rai, RedHat.

Dr. David Ambrose, Department of Legal Studies.

List of Sponsorships:

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