May 29, 2001

No business methods patents in the EU

Author: JT Smith

Mikael Pawlo writes: "According to this Gnuheter story (in Swedish), Frits Bolkestein, in charge of the Internal Market Protection of intellectual property rights in the European Union and member of the European Commission, has said that there is no support for business method patents in the EU." From Bolkesteins speech:

"Recently, considerable debate has taken place in Europe about the patentability of software-related inventions. Some consider that patents in this field tend to stimulate innovation. Others believe that patents will, on the contrary, stifle fair competition and hinder innovation. In the Commission we are currently considering what is the best approach to follow. We are studying the results of a public consultation we launched on the subject. It is clear from the replies we have received that there is no support for moving to a very wide protection extending, for example to business methods, which is the approach which the US applies. Any action at EU level would therefore be limited to harmonising and codifying the existing practice of Member States and of the European Patent Office."
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