Feeds

Incoming EPO president reopens software patent debate

All change, please

Intelligent flash storage arrays

New head of the European Patent Office (EPO), Alison Brimelow, has signalled her intentions early, calling a public meeting to discuss the policy vacuum left by the rejection of the Directive on Computer Implemented Inventions.

Purists will argue that there is no such vacuum, of course, because a treaty drawn up in the '70s says there should be no patents granted on computer programs "as such". But it is true that today, computer technology is a far more important part of our lives, economically and otherwise, than it was when the European patent convention was drawn up in 1972. And it is much more diverse in nature.

Does the 1972 convention deal adequately with how best to offer protection to inventors working in this highly technical field? It is an important question, and not really one that as been properly answered.

Legislation is a living thing, and needs constant revision if it is to accurately reflect the needs of the societies it serves. Even though the European Parliament rejected the CII directive, that doesn't mean the status quo is OK. It just means that the CII directive was not the right update.

Brimelow says: "The task now is to make sure that the patents that we grant are relevant. What we need is not more patents, but more good patents. This will enable the EPO to remain a confident and competent organisation which can continue to set the global benchmark in patenting."

(You can read more about her plans here.)

So, this Thursday there will be a meeting in Brussels to try to unpick the knotty problems of patenting software. The EPO argues that the system is overwhelmed, overly bureaucratic, and hopelessly lost in lawyer land.

Since the rejection of the CII directive, the EPO notes that the number of patent applications in the fields most affected by it has not fallen. Neither has the number of appeals lodged with the technical board of appeals or national courts. And oddly enough, the number of grant procedures has also grown.

The goal of the meeting is to work out how to tackle these problems, or at the very least, to have an informed debate about the reality of the situation.

Interested parties are asked to register here. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.