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Thu Apr 10 16:58:53 CEST 2008

Technology group lobbies in favour of EU patent law
Honor Mahony in Brussels
Representatives from Irish business travelled to Brussels yesterday to lobb=
y in favour of an EU law on software patents that they say will "massively"=
 affect the industry for the better.

Meeting with Irish MEPs, the representatives from the information and commu=
nications technology (ICT) sector argued their case ahead of a crucial vote=
 in the European Parliament on July 6th.

Coming from businesses that ranged from software giant Microsoft to a six-e=
mployee firm, they told MEPs the directive will make it less expensive and =
complex to protect their inventions throughout the EU.

"We see this as perhaps one of the most important directives of recent year=
s," said Kathryn Raleigh, director, ICT.

Under the software patent directive, existing rules would be streamlined, m=
aking it easier to defend a patent invention.

Currently, applications for patents on software inventions are treated diff=
erently by separate patent offices in the EU member states, leading to inco=
nsistency and differences in quality in the patent-granting process.

If the directive is passed, it would mean companies would have more legal c=
ertainty, which in turn would make them more innovative, said Barry Moore o=
f the Irish Software Association.

The ICT sector in Ireland employs around 100,000 people, with 40 per cent o=
f all indigenous companies engaged in software research and development.

The 11-strong delegation brushed off concerns by some open-source and small=
 software developers that the directive would concentrate patents in the ha=
nds of a few large companies.

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