Plenty of intellectual property experts believe that patenting of software doesn’t encourage innovation, but significantly increases the transaction costs and fosters impassable obstacles.
In Europe, unlike Japan and the United States, creators meet more stringent requirements when it comes to software creation. So if the program or app brings a ‘technical contribution’ (controlled robot, optimisation of internal operations through integrating more efficient processes, etc.), then it can be the reason to obtain a patent, but if the program is designed for general application (‘non-technical program’), for example, if software carries out simple texts processing, the patents are not issued. ‘The cases are many, in some situations you are balancing between the two mediums’, a Manchester University UMIP branch (focused on intellectual property aspects) representative says.
Although the European Patent Office was originally based on the same principles as the Office of the UK Intellectual Property Rights, in recent years it is increasingly not grant patents on technical programs. In this regard, experts recommend that adhere to the British Office of their policies, and to try to convince our European colleagues to abandon the patenting of non-technical programs.
For the same reasons, patents are not granted on a variety of ‘business methods’ (such as marketing and pricing schemes); in Europe this form of patenting is not practised, although the in the United States the opposite approach is dominating.
Impact of duties on patent behavior
The main purpose of this method is to encourage patent owner to evaluate the economic benefits of ownership of a patent, and in the case of failure to abandon its conservation in force. The fees for the maintenance of the patent, increasing with each year, can be a great tool to take advantage of. SME (small/medium enterprises) may be provided with special privileges.
Orphan works, the owners of the rights to which cannot be established constitute make up to 40% of some archives. The approaches towards patenting of such areas are tricky, and if a proper procedures are not developed in the nearest future, such works can be lost forever. Their loss will cause serious damage to the cultural heritage of the European Union. And in some cases, lack of access to such works (especially scientific works) impedes research and saves lives (as in the story of the search for drugs against malaria).
Providing access for all interested parties orphan works can occur at a variety of conditions, such as extended collective licensing (for use for any purpose, or for a specified period, social and cultural purposes), subject to the prior ‘adequate search’ in the databases of objects of intellectual property rights, with a charge of maintaining a digital database on copyright and so on.
The remuneration for the use of such works should be nominal, as they constitute a common cultural wealth. As for the fears of copyright holders with respect to that orphan works are in some cases more interesting to users than the conventional product, you can answer the following: this is a good example of how the general economic interests outweigh the possible risks of the individual owners.