Monday, November 08, 2010

"Lawyers talking about metaphysics are not an ideal situation"

There are a number of interesting quotes within the article What U.S. Can Teach Europe About Patents.

There is mention of metaphysics:

Current English law — falling as it does under the European Patent Convention — does not, strictly speaking, allow software to be patented.

In order to be able to be patented, a process must have a “technical effect.” This effect must be more than the “normal” physical interaction between program and computer. The program is then more than a “program as such.”

“There is a mass of case law on what is and is not a ‘technical effect,’” said Mark Lubbock, IP partner at law firm Ashurst. “A lot of the arguments are the sort of arguments you would have had in the middle ages about how many angels you could fit on the head of a pin. It’s pretty metaphysical.”

Lawyers talking about metaphysics are not an ideal situation — especially if you are paying the bill.

And, as to waiting for reform of patent law,-->

What almost all patent lawyers do agree is that the European system is in need of reform — though it isn’t for want of trying. “When I started in law some 25 years ago everyone was very excited about reform. It was predicted it would happen in three years. We are still waiting,” said Mr. Millmore.

Within the US, Lamar Smith (R-Tx) was pushing patent reform back in 2005, and now, he'll be back on top, likely as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Patent reform is on his agenda. But, do the new guys on the block see things the same way? When the House last passed a patent reform bill, most Republicans (not including Smith) voted "no".

And, with Obama's DoJ throwing Obama's USPTO under the bus on gene patents, there is not a clear consensus on the Democratic side.


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