Thursday 13 September 2012

Unitary patent brings back the software patents debate

The Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament is preparing these days in view of the discussion on unitary patent on 17 and 18 September 2012. The issue of interest is whether these discussions will bring back the return of software patents as it seems to be the case, having in view the recent patent wars in the US (like that of Apple against Samsung). There is also the threat of letting companies monopolize the market thus preventing innovation and the introduction of new products.

Several groups, like April and FSFE, call for a general mobilisation to contact all MEPs, so that the European Parliament finally tackles the issue of the software patentability.

Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, April's patent advisor:

"Software patents are a real scourge for companies and software developers. They do not contribute to innovation whatsoever, but prevent us from developing new products while exposing us to ever increasing legal uncertainty."

Although European laws prohibit software patents, the European Patent Office (EPO) has been trying for years to legalize software patents and, under the new proposal to be discussed, the power and control on the law on patentability would be left to an organisation, without any democratic control or the opinion to go before an independent court.

Under the current proposal, the European Patent Office has the right to award a patent, but also takes the final decision on whether it remains valid when someone complains.

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