UK Takes One More Step Towards Software Patents
from the can-bilski-cross-the-pond? dept
As we eagerly await the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruling in the Bilski case — which could greatly cut back on the ability of the US Patent Office to grant software and business model patents, it looks Europe may be moving in the opposite direction. We had earlier reported on a ruling in the UK which said that the UK Patent Office had gone too far in tossing out a Symbian patent application because it was software. Now, a UK appeals court has agreed with the earlier ruling, effectively saying that Symbian can, in fact, patent software in the UK, despite earlier policies that did not allow software patents.
The reasoning behind the ruling is a little odd, as it seems mostly based on aligning UK patent rules with the rest of Europe’s. However, that doesn’t mean that the ruling actually makes sense or does anything towards promoting innovation (and, plenty of recent studies show quite clearly that software patents appear to do exactly the opposite). This is definitely bad news for the software industry in the UK, which will now find more tollbooths to deal with, and more patent thickets to pick through. Money is going to be wasted going after legal fights, rather than on research, development and actually serving customers.