Denmark, DKPTO and Software Patents
The Danish government has left patent matters almost completely in the hands of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO), which has been one of the most vigorous promoters of the patent faith and of software patentability in Europe. Their activity includes efforts to rush the CEC/BSA software patentability directive through the Council of the European Union (CEU) and to worsen it by introducing program claims, and publishing "expert opinions" which claim that no innovation would happen without patents and that patents are beneficial even for the development of free/opensource software, placing the Danish EU Presidency of 2002 under the slogan "Growth, Prosperity and Patents" and lobbying for EU subsidies to a proposed insurance for patent owners.
- REU/DKPMA 2002/09/23: Änderungsvorschläge zum Softwarepatente-Richtlinienentwurf
- The Council of the European Union (CEU) proposes to rewrite some articles of the CEC/BSA proposal of 2002/02/20 in order to take into account various criticisms made by national delegations to the Council's Intellectual Property Working Party, a workgroup consisting of delegates from national patent administrations. This counter-proposal was worked out by the delegates from Denmark, i.e. from the Danish Patent Office (DKPTO), which are presiding over the workgroup during the second half of 2002. The paper is the subject of decision at the Working Party's session on 2002/10/03 in Brussels. We present the paper in tabular comparison with the original CEC/BSA proposal of 2002/02/20. It becomes evident that the DKPTO proposal, while strengthening the rhetorical emphasis on the "technical contribution", creates additional ambiguities and in effect further widens the scope of patentability.
- Danish Presidency 2002: Growth, Prosperity & Patents
- The Danish government has chosen this slogan as a motto for its presidency of the European Union Council in 2002/07-12. The most breathtaking EU patent hype since Ingo Kober's slogan "One Europe, One Currency, One Patent" of 1997.
- DKPTO Opensource Report Summary
- The DKPTO officials, who are de facto framing the Danish government's patent policy, argue that patents don't harm free software
- states that "At the same time, innovation and new ideas should be rewarded appropriately in the new knowledge-based economy, especially through patent protection. ... The winners of the future are those who are capable of getting new ideas. But the ideas are worth nothing if they cannot be protected against copying." When asked by a danish EuroLinux representative if they had knowledge of any macro-economic reports that supported these claims, the DKPTO responded that they did not and that these claims were meant to apply to all patents and therefore did not need to be specially justified in view of software.
- DKPTO Economics
- A report by the DKPTO about the macro-economic beneficiality of patents in general which however ends up arguing mainly for the creation of an insurance system for patent owners.
- Patent Insurance
- A report by the DKPTO about its plans for a patent insurance system which would make it easier for patent owners to sue people for patent infringement.
- General Info
- DKPTO General Information
- DKPTO: How to patent software, and how to avoid infringing others' patents
- A oneday course on softwarepatents by the DKPTO. Abstract:
Software inventions are mostly protected by copyright, amongst other because patents are not granted for software "as such" but requires the presence of an apparatus in some form. This should be used, if possible, since patents offers a more efficient protection compared to copyright. At the same time this change means that there are many patents on software, which can block a company's development of new products.
Not a very clear translation, but it's not a very well written original. At least it shows that the patent office is aware of the problems regarding infringement of software patents. Their statement that software inventions are protected by copyright is even more rarely heard from the mouth of patent lobbyists, but it is quite correct if indirect protection of innovation-related investments is taken into consideration.
- A patent-critical website run by a coalition of danish software professionals
- Scandinavia: even without the "as such" clause, stealing can have a further legal effect
- The danish and swedish version of the EPC does not contain the "as such" clause, which has served the EPO as a pretext for violating the law. Patent lawyers in Sweden and Denmark had to rely entirely on the argument that "european caselaw" needs to be followed, but apparently that did not cause much trouble for them.
english version 2003/11/29 by FFII