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Europe struggles over software patents

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1 Author(s)

This paper examines the issue on whether or not software should be patented, particularly in Europe where standards for software patenting differ from country to country. At the heart of the issue is who will control the multibillion euro software market in the EU. The antipatent contingent fears that opening the door for software patents would create a patent oligopoly dominated by the larger technology companies, throttling the freewheeling creativity that is the hallmark of the Internet and the open-source movement. The big tech companies, meanwhile, contend that a software patent regime would promote orderly innovation and more investment in virtually every field of business in which software plays an integral part. While it is the task of the European Parliament to sort out the software patent issue, the final decision lies with the EU Council of Ministers. If the parliament does not accept the current patent-friendly version of the directive, the council may carry out a conciliation procedure to attempt to arrive at a consensus. It would then adopt the result of the conciliation as the directive without going back to the European Parliament.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 9 )