Europe: Open Market… Open Source?

By: Heather Forrest

The recent Proposed Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions takes the European Community a step further down the road towards patents for computer software. If the goal of the Proposed Directive is to facilitate market entry for individual programmers and small and medium enterprises — as it must be within the framework of the European Treaty — then the European Commission should not be expanding intellectual property rights in technology goods, which, by their very nature, will lose value to the public long before their monopoly rights expire. Rather, the Commission should look to the open source movement and other, more temporal means of protection to spur innovation and increase Europe’s competitiveness on the worldwide market for technology goods.

Cite: 2003 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0028