Developer Solutions- Briefs

Developer Solutions- Briefs

Developer Solutions- Briefs

Global smart card initiative launched

In a bid to standardise the technology for smart cards worldwide, Visa International has announced the creation of GlobalPlatform, a forum established to explore and promote a converged platform for current and future smart card technologies.

The forum calls for eliminating the barriers hindering the expansion of smart card applications, in particular the current proliferation of competing smart card platforms worldwide, Visa said in a statement.

Fifteen companies are founding members, including British Telecommunications PLC, Sun Microsystems, the Australian smart card and e-commerce company Keycorp and the former semiconductor subsidiary of Siemens AG, Infineon Technologies AG.

`The purpose of GlobalPlatform is to bring different bodies together to focus on standards concerning all different aspects of smart card technologies and applications, not just for use over the Internet,' said Coelina Carter, spokeswoman for Visa.

GlobalPlatform will be based in the US, Carter said. firms fight EU software patentsThree European software compan- ies have asked the European Commission to think carefully before approving a proposed directive that would allow software programs to be patented.

German Linux distributor SuSE; German-based software house Info-matec; and an Italian open-source software company called Prosa, met last week with Commission representatives in Brussels in an effort to protest the application of patent law to software. Currently, only copyright laws apply to software programs in Europe.

However, the Commission is expected over the next year to look at the issue as it draws up a new directive on protection of inventions. The directive currently includes software programs in a list of items that are not exempt from patenting.

The three companies complained software companies would not be able to carry the cost of patent research or the risk of a patent infringement law suit.

In particular, open-source soft-ware advocates foresee patent laws putting a serious cramp in programmers' efforts to write new software programs, since they would fear infringing on someone else's patent.

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