Software Patent Regime Requires Serious Overhaul

It would appear that the only real benefactors of the current software patent regime are large companies. The experts suggest that this will only go towards harming innovation and competition, which will ultimately lead to a collapse of the current software patent regime.

Ovum, the analyst and consulting company, concluded in its six month research that software companies must apply a different approach to their software patent portfolios or face a crisis in the near future.

According to Gary Barnett, research director of Ovum, “Many vendors see patents as a good thing simply because they make money by licensing them. This is short-sighted and fallacious point of view. We believe the economic case for software patents has fundamentally not been made”.

The research undertaken by Ovum suggests that a radical change of the current software patent regime is required. In short, Ovum advises that software companies should agree to a new standard of novelty, inventiveness and disclosure and in fact abandon any patent which does not reach the new requirements.

Ovum points out that many companies are increasingly securing patents as weapons against competitors or defensively against other patent owners. The research also concluded that smaller companies are the victims of the regime, which tends to favour the larger companies which have deep enough pockets to “create an arsenal of patents”.

The current system makes it very difficult for companies to create new software products without infringing an existing patent.

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