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European union struggles with new rules for software patents

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A proposed law designed to further standardize the patent process in European Union countries has sparked controversy with amendments relating to software and business methods. Dubbed the European Union Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions, the directive and its series of revisions underscore the great differences between Parliament's and Council's approach to the future of EU software patent law. One of the directive's goals is to encourage progress, innovation, and competition in the software market. But the lawyers questioned the strength of the patent protections in Parliament's version, saying that without solid protections, firms could seek to protect technical information as trade secrets. Meanwhile, in the US, complaints continue to mount about the cost and complexity of the patent process for technology companies. Technology groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) say the process needs a tune-up, so they're taking action.

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 5 )