Feeds

PwC: software patents threat to Europe

Few prepared for consequences

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Services and accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers has formally identified software patenting as a threat to the growth and success of ICT in Europe.

In a report prepared this summer for the Dutch EU presidency, PwC lists ten ICT breakthroughs it says are needed to resume the pace of growth Europe experienced during the IT boom. Under the fifth, entitled "Go for global platform leadership in the ICT industry", the report states that the "current discussion on the patent on software" represents a "particular threat" to the European ICT industry.

In a preface, Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Minister of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands, says that the aim of the document is to present "a list of breakthroughs that we may need to achieve our Lisbon-goals".

He argues that Europe, particularly a post-dot-com-crash Europe, with ten new member states, needs to re-evaluate how best to meet its own targets for economic, social and environmental renewal, set out in Lisbon, in 2000.

This is what it has to say about software patenting:

The mild regime of IP protection in the past has led to a very innovative and competitive software industry with low entry barriers. A software patent, which serves to protect inventions of a non-technical nature, could kill the high innovation rate. However, opinions on software patent in its current proposed form vary a lot. Many large companies operating on a global scale, including European ones, seem to be in favour of a software patenting regime. But most small enterprises are strongly opposed.

Only very few European companies have prepared themselves for the consequences of a software patent regime. It raises the question how the introduction of the European software patent interacts with a European strategy based on widespread use of ICT's.

The authors have chosen their words carefully, and in doing so, have got straight to the really messy parts of the whole debate: what exactly constitutes a technical effect; and who will really benefit from the directive becoming law.

The report, entitled Rethinking the European ICT Agenda: Ten ICT-breakthroughs for reaching Lisbon goals is posted on the anti-software patenting campaigners, FFII.org's website. (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure). You can access it (pdf) here. ®

Related stories

Software patents under attack
EU braces for software patent demo
EU software patents: how the vote was won
EU software patent debate continues

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.