Thursday, September 23, 2004

PriceWaterhouseCoopers tells the EU that software patents are a "threat" to ICT efforts - the EU is currently trying to establish a set of rules and protocols to facilitate the transition towards e-business in the EU and to enhance the competitiveness of the ICT and publishing sectors in particular. The ICT group engages particularly in economic analysis, policy co-ordination with EU Member States, public-private partnerships with non-profit organizations and co-operation with European Standardization Organizations.

Anyways, PriceWaterhouseCoopers issued a report to the ICT group, and in that report, they bad-mouthed the practice of patenting software. More specifically, they said that

there are particular threats to the European ICT industry such as the current discussion on the patent on software. 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.
The full report may be viewed here. I think they are wrong in principle, but there will likely be "growing pains" if the EU adopts algorithmic patenting (prior art databases and all that). But I find it hard to believe that the EU can resist patenting software indefinitely, especially since the US has become such a haven for software entrepreneurs and business . . .

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