Indefinite. Restriction lift date: 10000-01-01
Legal regulation of the software "patentable subject matter" requirement in the US and in Europe: The need for certainty, predictability and uniformity
University College Cork
This thesis critically investigates the divergent international approaches to the legal regulation of the patentability of computer software inventions, with a view to identifying the reforms necessary for a certain, predictable and uniform inter-jurisdictional system of protection. Through a critical analysis of the traditional and contemporary US and European regulatory frameworks of protection for computer software inventions, this thesis demonstrates the confusion and legal uncertainty resulting from ill-defined patent laws and inconsistent patent practices as to the scope of the “patentable subject matter” requirement, further compounded by substantial flaws in the structural configuration of the decision-making procedures within which the patent systems operate. This damaging combination prevents the operation of an accessible and effective Intellectual Property (IP) legal framework of protection for computer software inventions, capable of securing adequate economic returns for inventors whilst preserving the necessary scope for innovation and competition in the field, to the ultimate benefit of society. In exploring the substantive and structural deficiencies in the European and US regulatory frameworks, this thesis develops to ultimately highlight that the best approach to the reform of the legal regulation of software patentability is two-tiered. It demonstrates that any reform to achieve international legal harmony first requires the legislature to individually clarify (Europe) or restate (US) the long-standing inadequate rules governing the scope of software “patentable subject matter”, together with the reorganisation of the unworkable structural configuration of the decision-making procedures. Informed by the critical analysis of the evolution of the “patentable subject matter” requirement for computer software in the US, this thesis particularly considers the potential of the reforms of the European patent system currently underway, to bring about certainty, predictability and uniformity in the legal treatment of computer software inventions.
Europe , United States , Software patents , Patentable subject matter requirement , Patentability , Software-related inventions
Deschamps, C. 2013. Legal regulation of the software "patentable subject matter" requirement in the US and in Europe: The need for certainty, predictability and uniformity. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.