[News] Patentability of Software Goes to Enlarged Board of Appeal
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EU software patent issue goes to appeals body
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| Alison Brimelow, president of the European Patent Office, has referred the
| deeply contentious question about how to assess the patentability of
| software-related inventions to her office's top appeals body, the enlarged
| board of appeal (EBoA), the EPO said late Friday.
| In November 2006 Neal Macrossan, an Australian entrepreneur software
| developer, lost an appeal against the U.K. Patent Office's rejection of his
| patent application. He wanted patent protection for a method for producing
| documents "for use in the formation of a corporate entity using a data
| processing system."
| On the same day the U.K. Court of Appeal threw out a challenge against a
| patent owned by IT company Aerotel for a computer program that created a new
| network infrastructure for a group of computers.
| The three judges presiding over the cases considered the first a business
| method, and therefore unpatentable, while the second was seen as a patentable
| hardware change. Another U.K. judge called for a referral to the EPO's top
| appeals body to clarify the law concerning software patentability.
[KDE developer:] stupid patents
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| Many of Apple's concepts such as icons stacks, parabolic zooming in panels
| and (most recently) widgets on media centers that they seem to feel are
| patentable are either unoriginal or just plain trivial. Â*
| Future society will look back upon us and cluck their tongue at how stupid we
| were for having let the patent system encroach upon things such as software
| on the one hand and become so baroque a system as to be generally lacking
| usefulness on the other. Â*
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