Thursday, April 17, 2008

Confusion reigns on software patents

A row is brewing over the lack of consistency surrounding the protection of software rights, and it needs to be resolved if the UK is to stay in step with European law, say experts.

Last month a High Court judge upheld an appeal from software firm Symbian following the rejection of a patent application it made to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) ­ – an application that had already been approved by the European Patent Office (EPO).

Under UK law, patents can only be issued for inventions using software as part of their operations, not for software that affects the running of computers.

Any changes to the handling of software patents is likely to come gradually, said Kim Walker, partner at law firm Pinsent Masons. ...

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