Tuesday, November 13, 2007

May I have a patent on top of that copyright please?

Here is an example of why EU legislators need to clearly restate that software ideas may not be patented:

Court date for challenge to 'new' patent rules | The Register

The EU legislators said that software ideas may not be patented, but the EPO blundered and let through (granted a patent on) some firmware a few years ago. This has opened the flood gates to companies like those in the article that want to have patent protection for their software ideas as well as copyright protection for the implementation of those ideas. The EPO blunder is touted as "patent law" (case law) by those who want to be able to patent software ideas, as we see from the lawyer in the article:
"A lot of people think there is no problem here because disks and downloads are protected by copyright," noted Nicholas Fox of Beresford & Co, the lawyer working for the four firms. "That is just not true. Copyright protection only protects code against copying. In contrast, patent protection enables a company to monopolise an invention even if competitors independently come up with the same idea."
Right. "A lot of people" here includes the people who wrote the statute law to exclude software from being patented.

For now I hope that the UK courts are able to stick with the original intent of the legislation and that this challenge is thrown out.

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