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Europa.eu.int: Study: “The Economic Impact of Patentability of Computer Programs”

[ Thanks to Dwight
Johnson
for this link. ]

“The real difference between the USA and Europe is that in
Europe the invention has to be of a technical character whilst in
the USA the mere fact that the invention uses a computer/software
makes it of the technological arts, if also useful, concrete and
tangible results are provided. The position in Japan is very
similar to the position in Europe
: the invention has to be an
advanced creation of technical ideas by which a law of nature is
utilised. (Of course in Europe, the USA and Japan whatever is being
patented has also to be new and inventive.)”

“In all three jurisdictions business methods are patentable
subject to the requirements indicated above. That the US does not
require the invention to be of a technical character means that the
restrictions on patenting of business methods are negligible; for
almost all business methods, limiting patents on them to when use
of a computer/software is involved, does not reduce the value of
the patents. (Indeed it may be possible to patent business methods
in the States without such a limitation.) But it is also important
to realise that many computer-implemented business method
inventions are of a sufficiently technical character to be
patentable in Europe and in Japan.”

“Independent software developers and related SMEs play a major
and rapidly increasing role in innovation. This is because
innovation in commerce and industry has become so dependent on
improvements in computer related processes and products. This is
clear to any reader of any newspaper and is also supported by the
literature and from our consultations. The role of the developers
of open-source software is a specific and significant example of
the importance of such computer program related innovation.”


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