Do software patents encourage innovation ?

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Leader of the working group concerned with the suitability of patenting of software at the Académie des technologies, Former Director, CNET Lannion centre (Centre National d’Étude des Télécommunications)

Maître Laurent COHEN-TANUGI

Lawyer, Paris and New York. Member of the Académie des technologies working group, Author of Nouvel ordre numérique


Engineering student, Ecole des Mines, Paris, Author of La brevetabilité des logiciels

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Engineering student, Ecole des Mines, Paris, Authors of La brevetabilité des logiciels

Seminar Management of Innovation | Wednesday October 24, 2001

In Europe, software programmes are, as a rule, formally excluded from the right to have patents and are protected solely by copyright. However, in practice the European Patent Office (EPO) tends to align itself with the United States, where software patents and even patents on commercial techniques have been the norm for the past ten years or so. Are software patents the most suitable means of protecting an innovation with the original aim of granting patents being to increase the spread of knowledge and innovations ? The study launched by the European Commission, with a view to a Community directive, stirred up an already lively discussion on this question.
Several summaries have been published very recently including the Prime Minister's request to the Académie des Technologies for a report, a working party's report organised by the Ministry for Industry, and a dissertation by engineering students from the

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