Feeds

UK Patent Office opens software patent consultation

Should we or shouldn't we? So far, it seems impartial...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The UK patent office has opened a consultation exercise on patenting of software and business methods, and has posted a pretty detailed and lucid questionnaire on its Web site. It's also kicked off a discussion group on the subject, and is asking for responses from all concerned - business, software authors, users and consumers - before December 15th.

The document reveals that 15 per cent of patents being granted in the UK are now software-based, but it clearly differentiates between the position in the UK, where an invention has to be "new, not obvious, and useful," and the position in Europe. There it also has to give rise to a technical effect. "For example, a new and non-obvious program which gave a computer more efficient memory usage and so enabled it to run faster would be patentable because of the technical effect it has on the operation of the computer. But a new program for a computer game would not currently be patentable because it has no technical effect."

Got that? The European system also doesn't allow patenting of business methods at the moment, but as the UK document notes, a separate consultation is being run by the European Commission. This could result in European system coming more into line with the US model, where software and business methods patents are allowed.

As we've noted here in the past, the first stages of the European consultation look pretty multinational-friendly, and are provoking stiff opposition. ®

Related Links

UK Patent Office consultation
European consultation

Related Stories

Patent lobby get in early for EU consultation process
Software patents: will Europe roll over for the multinationals?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.