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PHP infringes patents

The PHP development team has discovered that the PHP scripting language infringes on patent number EP0646864 (click on the "Claims" button to see the description), granted by the European Patent Office to Nippon Electric Co in 1995. This is a software patent on the principle of optimising compilers. Unfortunately, it appears we have unknowingly stolen this incredible invention and added optimisation functionality to our compiler without asking them for a license first.

Did you know that the above paragraph could turn into reality if the European Parliament approves the proposed directive on software patents September 1st?

Although software and business method patents are currently illegal in

Europe, the European Patents Office (EPO) has been granting them anyway (because they make good money doing so). Now, certain people in the European Parliament are trying to legalise this kind of unlimited patentability, instead of telling the EPO to respect the law!


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Suppose that the patent legislation comes through... What would the PHP Group / Zend do? Would you have to remove that optimization altogether? Or would it be something that folks in the EU could not use? I imagine a nasty configure option like --with-eu-patent-restriction


Hey gabe,

please read: "Did you know that the above paragraph could turn into reality if the European Parliament approves the proposed directive on software patents September 1st?" again... this was a oom scenario... not true. (Although it is very likely that PHP infringes some patterns...)

I don't think much can be done about this, except paying a nice fee to the owner of the pattent (which obviously is out of the question) or try to fight it in court. (Which is also not really possible, as this will cost a lot of money). So I don't really see a solution...

Hi Derick!

some points to your blog:

11) just taking this and changing pascal to PHP is not really good style. In addition you missed to copy the link to patent. There you even have a model for the

The link to the report would be useful, too. Just that everybody can make it's own opinion. It's available for all :,&I_NUM=238&L=EN&LEVEL=2&SAME_LEVEL=1 (3)to the definition of "patent" read (2): "A patent is not a stamp of technical excellence. A patent does not give its owner the right to make use of his invention. A patent is not a guarantee of commercial success. A patent gives its owner the right to prevent others from commercially using his invention (EPO, Facts and Figures 2001)."

... please tell us, how anyone distributes PHP in a commerical way. As i understand it, only in this case it would be forbidden by patent.

i am no lawyer, but at least there are some points, people should know about before getting panik.

best regards


Is there any easy function to use integration calculas in php script. I used php in last 3 yrs, from version3.0, and have a little script. But this is not work properly. If anyone have pls mail me at Or see my personal site http:://

At least some PHP Coders won't suffer ;-) :

Wolfgang: afaik patent fees are not price-related :-) -> even if you offer your software for free you had to pay the fees.

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