Feeds

Patent Office makes a technical contribution

Workshop findings on the web

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

The UK Patent Office has published the findings of its workshops on the European software patents directive. The workshops were arranged to try to involve the technical community in defining how the term "technical contribution" should be interpreted in the UK.

The workshops asked participants to play patent examiner for the day, and to decide whether or not various fictitious inventions ought to be awarded a patent. Neither of the two definitions that have been considered frontrunners proved particularly palatable to the workshop's participants.

Overall, participants felt that the definition in Article 2 of the draft directive is ambiguous and too liberal. But the definition put forward by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), was found to be too restrictive, and again, ambiguous. The ambiguity lies in the reference to "controllable forces of nature". Participants felt this was wide open to different interpretations, the Patent Office says.

Patent officials say that this demonstrates the difficulty of coming up with a clear definition, while still keeping within the confines of current UK law.

Sean Dennehey, Director of Patents, said he was grateful to everyone who gave up their time to come along to the workshops. His goal was to find a definition that is easy to apply and which allows patents for computer-implemented technical inventions but blocks patents for non-technical software.

He went on: "The workshops have generated some useful ideas, and I hope they will be taken into account in the imminent debate on the CII Directive at the European Parliament."

"One possible approach seems to be combining a positive statement of what 'technical contribution' means with a negative statement of what it doesn't mean. The draft Directive already does this to some extent because it has a later negative statement in Article 4(2), but we need to look at the wording more carefully."

The full analysis is available here. ®

Related stories

EU takes axe to software patents directive
Software patent directive back in motion
Euro ministers set to OK patent measure

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.