Recommended reading: software patents
The Swedish jurist Sandra Paulsson has published a 27 page report on the differences in approach between the US and the EU approach to software patents. She has written the briefing for the European Parliament as trainee at the Policy Department for Economic and Science (STOA).
Paulsson finds the differences between the patent systems in the US and Europe a lot smaller than most people think, and warns that the effects will probably be similar. “One of the aims with the directive is to “achieve the right balance between making patents available where appropriate in order to reward and encourage innovation, while avoiding stifling competition and open source development.” Therefore it is important to see what the proposed directive would allow in practise. My findings are that neither the original proposal, the amendments by the European Parliament, nor the Council’s changes actually fulfil the aim of making the balance so that innovations will be both promoted and protected. My conclusion would be that the directive would clarify for patent offices in Europe to adopt the same broad standard that exist in America today, the same standard that European stakeholders are so afraid of and claim to try to avoid.”
Sandra R. Paulsson, Patenting Software vs. Free software (February 2005)