Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It's a sad, sad day for innovation....

I missed this announcement, but it seems that the High Court said "that the Patent Office was incorrectly applying the law in automatically rejecting claims for computer programs".

According to IAM (Intellectual Asset Management) magazine, the situation in the UK is still confusing but there is hope of a single European patent jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, the European Patent Office has tended to be more lenient to software patents. Though this may favour patent lawyers, it would be a significant setback for society and innovation.

For those of you who have not read Noble Prize winning Eric Maskin's paper on Sequential Innovation and Patents, it conservatively summarises with the statement that:-

"In a dynamic world firms have plenty of incentive to innovate without patents and patents may constrict complementary innovation”

Unfortunately, some people see patents as purely a financial opportunity and have somewhat forgotten that the original purpose of patents was to be fair exchange designed to promote and disseminate innovation in society in return for a short lived monopoly.

If we were Golgafrinchams, then we'd probably have started building that B Ark by now.