Patent Office in favour of software patents

The European Patent Office (EPO) is willing to allow EU patents on software programmes.

The

European Patent Office(EPO) is willing to allow EU patents on software programmes. It is expected that a Conference of countries represented in the EPO will decide on the issue in November.

For the moment, the European Patent Convention from 1973 exludes computer programs from protection under European patent law. But in its Green paper of 1997 on the Community patent, the Commission already proposed to change legislation on this matter. According to DG Internal Market, patenting software would be benificial for the competitiveness and innovation of the EU's economy. The Commission is likely to propose a new Directive before the end of the year.

But smaller software producers and independent programmers are seriously opposed to this patent on software. They say that most of the arguments of the Commission are ideological and that actually a patent on software would reduce competition and innovation.

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