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.