Thursday, October 28, 2004

ONE FROM THE GOOD GUYS: After hearing all the harping against software patents, it was refreshing to see a statement that warns the EU about banning software patents. In a letter sent to members of the European Parliament's legal affairs committee this week, EICTA, the European IT and communications industry association, urges approval of the version of a proposed directive on computer-implemented inventions agreed by European Union governments in May. The group warns that if members of Parliament (MEPs) insist on some of the amendments they requested when they were first asked their views on the directive, it would "seriously threaten research and development in Europe" and put thousands of highly skilled jobs at risk.

EICTA points out, for example, that the version of the legislation approved by the EU governments would not offer patent protection for the software underlying mobile phones, even though the devices use software for their implementation. Finally, the EICTA said that copyright protection alone is not enough to protect inventions. Copyright only protects the actual software or program code, and competitors, it said, can easily get around copyright protection of specific programs. Patents, on the other hand, would protect the "technical function and concept" provided they meet the patentability requirements.

- Hear, hear . . .

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