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New York Law Journal: U.S. Business-Method Patents Spark Controversy in Europe

Jan 09, 2001, 20:24 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tamara Loomis)

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Tamara Loomis writes:

"Opponents of software and business-method patents, the best known of which is probably the EuroLinux Alliance, argue that patents create private monopolies over ideas that would otherwise be available to everyone. Supporters claim the reverse is true: that patents encourage innovation by giving companies financial incentive to invest in new technology."

"'The debate about the software exclusion is academic,' said Paul Stevens, a partner at London's Olswang. He pointed out that despite the ban, the EPO has granted 20,000 software patents under a limitation to the exclusion that permits patents for computer programs with a 'technical effect.'"

"Mr. Stevens predicted that the EPO will be granting more business-method patents in the future. 'It is possible that the EPO will organize itself and not let any business-method patents through,' he said, 'but erosion is the more likely course.'"

"'I anticipate that the same thing that happened with software patents will happen with business-method patents,' he added."

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