Government rules out software patents in the UK 27 Feb 07
The Office of the British Prime Minister has introduced an interesting new idea which revolves around e-petitions. Basically, anyone can put together an online petition via the Prime Minsiter's website and invite people to sign it. This recently happened to very great effect - and to the great embarrassment of Tony Blair - over road pricing. Over 1.5 million people signed a petition opposing its introduction. Well, nowhere near the same number signed one that called for software patents to be expressly "uninforcable" (sic) in the UK. In its response, the PM's office has stated:
"The Government remains committed to its policy that no patents should exist for inventions which make advances lying solely in the field of software. Although certain jurisdictions, such as the US, allow more liberal patenting of software-based inventions, these patents cannot be enforced in the UK."
This was basically confirmed in the recent decision in the Macrossan case and in the Patent Office guidelines which followed. Now the government has had its say as well, anyone holding out the hope there was a chance that things might change should start worrying about something else. It isn't going to happen.
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