We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Software still not patentable

Government passes buck to EU on PC patents

Patent laws are unclear as they stand, according to the government, but software makers will not be able to patent their virtual inventions.

The government outlined its plans yesterday on patents to protect computer programs and internet trading methods, but offered little change over current rules. In effect it threw the controversial issue over to the EU to legislate. Software should not be patentable, nor should business methods, the Department of Trade and Industry decided.

"There should be no significant change to the patentability of software," said e-Minister Patricia Hewitt. "[Since patent laws are currently unclear] urgent European action to clarify is needed," she said.

The government also determined that business methods should remain unpatentable.

"Our key principle is that patents should be for technological innovations," explained Hewitt. "A program for a new machine tool should be patentable but a non-technological innovation, such as grammar-checking software for a word processor, should not be," Hewitt said.

The European Commission (EC) is currently reviewing patent laws for the EU. The government will send its recommendations, such as they are, to the EC, the DTI said.

IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Stop running out of cellular data on your iPhone, see which apps use the most data