Wednesday, October 12, 2005

JAPANESE MINISTRY RECOMMENDS RESTRICTING SOFTWARE PATENTS: The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Japan, which oversees the Japanese Patent Office, recently established a “Study Group on Legal Protection for Software and Promotion of Innovation” in order to analyze innovation in the field of software.

The study is intended to review how software intellectual property rights should be handled by the various governmental agencies and bureaus, and to work with industries to implement any changes. Given the rise of open-source software and the increasing recognition of the importance of interoperability among software packages, the Ministry is attempting to establish the "appropriate balance" between the protection and utilization of intellectual property rights.

The interim report (which hasn't been posted yet on the METI site) suggests that due to the interconnection of computer software operating systems and applications software, allowing patentees to continue to hold monopolistic developers' rights over existing software platforms could deter the development of new programs.

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