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Materials on Intellectual Property - Case Study Example

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The researcher of the following paper highlights that the question of available protection for new products which are software is a complex issue. Under UK law, the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988 (“the Act”), software is protected by the law of copyright. …
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Materials on Intellectual Property
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Download file to see previous pages Theoretically, patent protection should address the inadequacies of copyright as a means of protecting novelty. The purpose of patent protection is to encourage and fuel innovation and the practical use of inventions. However, the issue of whether software should merit patent protection has remained a contentious issue with inconsistent approaches internationally.
Under UK law, the Patents Act 1977 (PA) does not provide patent protection for anything that consists, of a method of doing business or a programme for a computer per se2. The European Patent Office (EPO) on the other hand has adopted a liberal interpretation to patent protection of software by excluding software patent protection unless they have “technical effect”3. US law goes further in favor of a presumption of patent protection by requiring software to have “practical utility”4, however neither the US or EPO position provides guidance on what constitutes technical effect or practical utility for the purpose of patent protection and the liberal approach of the EPO has effectively widened the parameters of patent protection under the guise of the ambiguous “technical effect” concept.
Additionally, the US approach to the patenting of business methods has been very liberal, which in turn has de facto widened the parameters of protection available for software patents. However, Fink comments that “such patents are an easy target for criticism and have led many European commentators to conclude that the United States patent law has strayed from “the basic objectives of the patent system”5.
The focus of this analysis is to critically evaluate the proposition that the US approach to patentability of business methods “stands as an obstacle to a common international treatment of business method, software [and biotechnological] patents”.  In doing, so I shall undertake a contextual approach by evaluating the differing approach of the English courts to the EPO with regard to the patentability of computer programs. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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