Chartered Institute for Patent Expansion strikes back

Richard Stallman wrote a piece in the Guardian on the risks of software patents under the proposed EU/unitary-patent. In a off-planet reply today, the Tim Roberts of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys tells us that our fears are unfounded:

"• Despite Stallman's comments to the contrary, UK and European statute law regarding the patentability of computer-implemented inventions has not changed in substance for many years."

Mr Roberts must know that European Patent Office coined "computer-implemented inventions" outside statute law as to allow for software patents as seen from so many granted patents, while the European Patent Convention clearly states that software is not patentable. So the statement is nonsense. Things have changed quite tremendously - and thats just what this is about!

"• Stallman suggests that "appeals against the [European Patent Office's] decisions would be decided based on the EPO's own rules", and is concerned how the EPO would act "with external limits (such as national courts) removed". However, the EPO is bound by legislation agreed by its member states, has independent boards of appeal, and the current proposals involve creating a separate community patent court that will provide "external limits" in place of national courts." 

So why is it so hard to understand the point here? A specialized patent court is not the best "external limits" unless you want those limits to go very far. The US Supreme court have had to hold the US version, CAFC, of the proposed EU-patents court back several times. The lesson should have been learned.


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