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Software and Patents in Europe


  • Page extent: 214 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.49 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521868396)

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Software and Patents in Europe

Cambridge University Press
9780521868396 - Software and Patents in Europe - by Philip Leith

Software and Patents in Europe

The computer program exclusion from Article 52 of the European Patent Convention (EPC) proved impossible to uphold as industry moved over to digital technology, and the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Organisation (EPO) felt emboldened to circumvent the EPC in Vicom by creating the legal fiction of ‘technical effect’. This ‘engineer’s solution’ emphasised that protection should be available for a device, a situation which has led to software and business methods being protected throughout Europe when the form of application, rather than the substance, is acceptable.

Since the Article 52 exclusion has effectively vanished, it is timely to reconsider what makes examination of software invention difficult and what leads to such energetic opposition to protecting inventive activity in the software field. Leith advocates a more programming-centric approach, which recognises that software examination requires different strategies from that of other technical fields.

PHILIP LEITH is Professor of Law at The Queen’s University of Belfast.

Cambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law

As its economic potential has rapidly expanded, intellectual property has become a subject of front-rank legal importance. Cambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law is a series of monograph studies of major current issues in intellectual property. Each volume contains a mix of international, European, comparative and national law, making this a highly significant series for practitioners, judges and academic researchers in many countries.

Series editor

William R. Cornish
Emeritus Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Cambridge
Lionel Bently
Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Cambridge

Advisory editors

François Dessemontet, Professor of Law, University of Lausanne
Paul Goldstein, Professor of Law, Stanford University
The Rt Hon. Sir Robin Jacob, Court of Appeal, England

A list of books in the series can be found at the end of this volume.

Software and Patents in Europe

Philip Leith

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Philip Leith 2007

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2007

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-521-86839-6 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or
accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to
in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such
websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

For Christine and Annie


List of figurespage viii
1Software as machine6
2Software as software39
3Policy arguments69
4Software patent examination102
5Holding the line: algorithms, business methods and other computing ogres135
6The third way: between patent and copyright?156
7Conclusion: dealing with and harmonising ‘radical’ technologies182

List of figures

Fig. 1.1 The Menashe hardwarepage 8
Fig. 1.2 Signature’s hub and spoke flowchart13
Fig. 1.3 Nymeyer’s combination of hardware, software and market terminology14
Fig. 2.1 US202449 Article Manipulation Device45
Fig. 2.2 A table-based data structure46
Fig. 2.3 A tree-based data structure46
Fig. 2.4 The Nuclear Blocks Handling Language49
Fig. 2.5 A stack data structure51
Fig. 2.6 The software life cycle54
Fig. 2.7 A decision table structure56
Fig. 4.1 The Zoomracks implementation111

© Cambridge University Press

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