"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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