14 September 2005

Software Patents Revisited

The Patent Office has just published some FAQs on computer implemented inventions. They cover the reasons why the software patent directive was rejected by the European Parliament, the likelihood of a new directive in the future, the policy behind the proposed directive and the meaning of "technical contribution."

The FAQ express the view that "technical contribution" has been superseded in the UK by the CFPH and Halliburton judgments, which not everyone would agree with, and refer to the Practice Note of 29 July 2005. Perhaps stung by criticsm of the kind that I mentioned in "Software Patents - Call for EP Resolution" on 31 Aug 2005, the Patent Office denies that the Directive would merely have regularized the Patent Office's current position of granting patents it shouldn't. It sets out its view of the law in its leaflet "The Computer Implemented Inventions Directive Explained."

The Patent Office has also updated its page on the difference between the US and EU positions, It cites State Street as an example of a 'software' patent that has been accepted in the US which would have remained unpatentable under the current text of the EU Directive.

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