Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
eu, patents, software patents, uk


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.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2008 @ 7:25pm

    It runs faster

    Can I patent this ?

    gcc -O3 prog prog.c

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jesse, 13 Oct 2008 @ 7:43pm

    So basically the argument is, "Yes, the data shows that this is a bad idea...but everyone else is doing it."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mike42 (profile), 13 Oct 2008 @ 9:22pm


    I was really hoping that the UK would hold out and become the example which would show the folly of software patents. Sounds like my hopes will be dashed, and no one will be free of the nasty things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Enrico Suarve, 14 Oct 2008 @ 12:37am

    It's OK Mike

    All the jobs are going to India anyway, we were apparently not in enough debt

    I wonder if software patents apply there?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2008 @ 1:30am

    Offtopic Rant about GMail

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    "WOW" I think. Absolutely awesome!

    Let me just say it's amazing and quite thrilling that 50-some odd emails would all come to me (or be approved for delivery) within a 3 minute period. It's quite amazing that 50 people would want to reach me at a specific time.

    Could it be because they were, shall we say "in transit" or at that point in time called herm, gee "information" (and legally don't enjoy the same rights as "data" (which by some crazy translation of the Constitution is somehow "information at rest") so we make a fancy footwork around the Constitutional Rights for this fancy thing we call "Terrorism"?

    Quite frankly, I don't believe this exists because the only terrorism that exists is that which is of a financial nature.

    Keep it up guys. Good Job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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